Friday, December 3, 2010

From way back here in the back...

Still here...breathing in and out. I've had an aversion to coming onto my blog, since I can't figure out why it's giving random people a trojan virus, and because I can't get anyone from Blogger to help me. Anyway - I am trying to get this sucker back up and running, because I realize as I type this...I'm having blog depression.

I need this...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Helloooooo....

Oh!

Hello!

I'm still here...coming up for air, from the depths of beautiful chaos...chaos made up of school, painting, renovation, spray paint, cooking on an element that I've unearthed from the piles of kitchen boxes, mauve and country blue wallpapers, flooded hallways, empty boxes, school books, exams, errands, umpteen trips to the Home Depot, drills, furniture, a new family dining table that I'm certain we will still be sitting down to when I'm 80 years old...and did I mention the country wall paper borders?...mothering, wife-ing, sleeping, finding my old stuff, remembering why I picked all that old stuff, wondering how some things escaped the great Journey to Real purge of Spring 2010, planning to purge them in the fall cycle, and being really, really...REALLY... grateful.

This house was a God thing. He knew just what we needed...and gave it to us, despite my insatiable need to belly ache all along the way.

There will be a post on the house very soon. For now, I just need to let you all know that I'm still here, and that I can't wait to be back every day as soon as possible!

Until then...I'll be nesting my happy socks off!

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Re-Post :: Coasting

*originally posted on May 22, 2010

Well...it happened.

I cracked up.

It turns out that half way through this trip, we can put one question to rest, already. Ready?

*Aleisha needs to live in or near a town.*

I love mountains...



I love trees...


...and I REALLY love the beach...

...a beach, by the way, that I jogged on, & had some praise and worship time with the Designer and Manufacturer of that magnificent beach & the ocean that crashed over those sands. But yesterday, when we were driving to a campsite...in some mountains and trees...let's just say they had, at that moment, lost their charm. The car started to crumple in on me, I got nauseous, and I burst into tears...demanding to be out of the woods and the car, immediately!
I'm talking full-on Veruca Salt.

I've been seeing amazing things...but, I have been showering with my sandals on, and brushing my teeth in gas stations, and my ability to be fine with not having a place to hang my hat is diminishing at a rapid pace. Not to mention, the stuffing of everything we own into the back of the XTerra, the not having a readily available washing machine, and the fact that I really need one of my own cups of coffee, sent me to the point of disintegration. I'm just tired. I'm a settler...I like to nest. This whole thing has been an enormous stretch for me. Although I'm ashamed that I yelled at my sweet husband, who incidentally settled us into a motel for the week, near Portland...I'm not mad at myself for cracking. I knew it would happen...and truth be told...I'm not sure you'd find a large percentage of women who would be willing to do this in the first place.

I want to grow food, and I want to have access to nature...but, I love culture & art & architecture...I need to know that I can go to the symphony or wander around a Barnes & Noble if I need to, and I REALLY love skylines...I love cities. It's becoming clear that this farming endeavor is going to need to be more of an urban project;)

So, in the light of yesterday, I was bound to have a day of illumination. If there is one thing I know...transformation is never easy, and just because you're near the ocean, doesn't mean you all of a sudden lose all your vapid character flaws...just ask the residents of Los Angeles:) What I do know is this...Wherever you go, there you ARE. The issues that created the life I didn't want back home are the same ones that live inside me, out here on the road. The key is...the issues are IN me...not around me. All that changes, if I don't work to change myself, is I pitch fits in more beautiful surroundings. But...my wise, God-given sister-friend, Heather reminded me today...that yes, wherever I go, there I am. But, wherever I go, there my Lord IS, also.

I don't know how people live without Him...because, there's no such thing as just coasting...


...even on the coast.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Re-Post :: Paging Jimmy Stewart....and could someone find Clarence?

*originally posted on April 1, 2010


Well, I was re-reading my post from yesterday, and I saw the line when I referred to this world as a cesspool...well, I'm sorry about that. If I really thought this world was a cesspool, I wouldn't care less about what we do to it, and I wouldn't think it was possible that we could change things. I do, however, believe that our country's hub is a cesspool, but D.C. ...well, that is home to one of my very most favorite people in the world, so it can't all be a toxic waste dump. I believe that distinction is localized to a small area of the city...like maybe the size of a mall. *cough*

See now, this is all just more evidence that I need to go cry on the shoulder of a giant redwood, take a nap with a mountain, and have coffee with the ocean. But, trust me...I love the world. It is our greatest and steadiest gift, from the most awesome Creator. I mean it...I love this place. It's easy to get all geared up and pressed down by the weight of the war going on inside. But, beauty still kicks ugly's butt in the point spread, and good just doesn't get the same press as evil. Moral of that story?...say goodbye to the press. One of my soul parachutes...Amos Lee...says it best..."Nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world." Delicious, right?

Some things, right now, are really grotesque. Totally. But...they were when the ceiling was painted in the Sistine Chapel, they were when Ansel Adams was taking his first photos of Yosemite...they were when a Man sacrificed His Life for me, and then beat death by rising again.
You know what?
Wars in Rome started and stopped...the Sistine Chapel remains.
The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression hit, and the Adams' photos still remain...not to mention that Yosemite is the crown jewel of America's National Parks system, which Adams fought to begin.
A couple thousand years later, Jesus sits at the throne of Heaven...the cross and the tomb have long since been reclaimed by the earth...but, I live sanctified and free...right now.

So, you see...beauty wins. It always has.
It really IS a wonderful life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Re-Post :: Authenticity

*this was originally posted on February 18, 2010

As of late, I have been feeling VERY stagnant. I feel blah all the time...and not just physically. I have this unprecedented (for me) feeling of apathy, but my heart wants passion and joy, and I want desperately to be one of those women that rolls with the punches, that keeps her chin up, and maintains her ability to keep going at all costs. I'm not one of those women...at least not yet. I am more the throw-me-a-curveball-I'm-gonna-shut-down-an-not-do-anything, types of women.

So, in my effort to shirk this flat-lining person that I currently am, I have been feeling the need to purge...and I mean EVERYTHING! (This is a terrifying notion to my husband, because I REALLY like to get rid of stuff. I come from a family of "stuff" hoarders, so I start to suffocate if there is something in my house that I don't need...and boy do I like to give stuff to Goodwill! It makes me giddy.) I felt it coming on a few weeks ago, so when I opened the latest issue of Natural Health magazine and saw a 20 page spread on detoxing your entire life...from your body to your pantry to whole house...well, it opened the floodgates. Visions of a garage sale & a pile of giant black trash bags on the steps of the Salvation Army, danced in my head. Oh boy...it's ON!
(*I love Natural Health magazine. I'm coo-coo about recycling, so I don't really feel bad about my magazine problem, but let's be real...I DO have one. I love them and they love me.)

So, today, I started my walk-through process, finding things that I want to sell, things I want to give away, etc. I am beginning to realize how much stuff I have that I don't actually LIKE. I began to wonder about that, and it dawned on me that I have a serious "what will they think?" issue. I've never really noticed this about myself, before, but I am highly motivated about what other people are going to think. I began to examine this yesterday, when I was in a store that I love. I picked up this throw pillow that was REALLY quirky, and I loved it...but, I immediately thought, "oh, so'n so would think that was silly." Ok, just to clarify...this "so'n so" hasn't been to my house in years. Neither have any of the other people for whom I regularly sensor myself to please. Weird, right? I have been living in such a way, that I answer to imaginary people in my head all the time, when trying to make decisions for myself. I mean...THEY don't need to be comfortable in my skin or my home...I DO.

So, here's the thing. My mission for this year, is to live authentically. I am going to do my best to make decisions, decorate my house, and anything else I can think of, to please my Heavenly Father, my boys, and myself. It's not that I'm going to completely disregard others...it's just that if I want to by a flour sac pillow for my living room, with a giant, aqua marlin on it, or get another tattoo...or (this is a big one) get my 32 year old nose pierced...I'm gonna.

Other people's expectations are baggage. I'm not talking about people expecting you to be nice, or the government expecting you to follow the laws, or God expecting you be a good steward of the things that He gives you...I'm talking about what other people want you to BE, in order to satiate their own need for self-justification. If you are an earthy girl at heart (which I am, and always have been), then by all means, live that way. If you are buttoned up Alex Keaton, who was spawned of two hippies...then live like that. I don't think that one needs to be an afront to society or a complete kook to live authentically, either, though.

My goal is this...not to indulge my every whim in life, but to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, temper certain things for my husband and my son (i.e. not dreading my hair, though I have always wanted to try it, because my husband loves it as it is), do the things that give me joy (regardless of the eyebrow raises I'll get from certain people), and to live as ME. I am going to set aside anything that doesn't help me achieve that goal...person, thing, habit, or mentality.

* So...if you don't feel like you can hang out with me, if I am a healthy, fit, exuberant, nose-stud wearing, traditional food-eating, family loving woman of God, whose house might just have a big green dresser or lots and lots of star paper lanterns in it...then we should probably wrap up our relationship sometime in the next year or so...'cause I'm leaving this slobby lump of self-imposed limitations on the side of this trail of tears, and I'm going to write, sing, cook, travel, run, and yoga my way to Happytown.

You comin'?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Re-Post :: You say "hippie" like it's a bad thing...

*originally posted on February 5, 2010

Here's the thing. I keep asking myself what I want out of this "whole" project. The issue with going whole in this society, is that you are at constant odds with the world around you. Those of us who believe in natural healing, whole food, getting back to basics...we live as antitheses to the relentless pressing to live conveniently, to keep up...to keep consuming all they have to give.

My husband and I had a conversation a couple of months ago about the world our son will be a part of. I was lamenting that he will most likely never be required to look something up in a page and binding dictionary or encyclopedia, or for that matter, ever read a book that has a smell...or that he would even have to turn pages on. He will never NEED to look something up in a phone book. We began to talk about all the tasks that will be obsolete to him, as everything is becoming (or has already become) a push-button situation. We began to wonder if the idea of "effortless living" was something that we wanted to pass on to him. Really? What's good about not putting any effort into anything? I was more than a little moved to see the movie Wall-E...the people in the future never moving from their seats that do everything for them, that have no more bone mass left, never eat anything not processed, and can't even walk? WHY in the name of all that's holy would we want to live without effort? And what genius called that living? Let's explore just SOME of how this is working for us, so far:

Not 2 months ago, I read an article in the news about how the U.S. military officials were going to Congress to address an unprecedented issue. They needed help finding a solution to the fact that the young adults, usually fresh out of high school, that were coming into the recruiting offices were failing their entrance requirements at a startling rate. Why? Because they are testing too low on "basic intellect" and "physical ability". Basically...they're too dumb and too fat! We've all had dorky, less-than-athletic friends from high school sign up to be in the military, and then return after six weeks as Oh-my-word-they-made-him-hot? desirables, right? Break this down with me...the kids that are graduating high school RIGHT NOW, and are going into recruiting offices are so under-educated and so physically handicapped by weight, that they are NOT ABLE TO BE RECRUITED FOR BOOTCAMP! According to the "Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve" report, put out by the Mission: Readiness group, "About 75 percent of the country's 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for military service, largely because they are poorly educated, overweight and have physical ailments that make them unfit for the armed forces, according to a report issued Thursday.

Other factors, such as drug use, criminal records and mental problems, contribute to what military leaders say is a major problem that threatens the country's ability to defend itself " Yeah...remember when flat feet was the issue? Uh, OK....I'm moving to my own island.

Seriously, though. Our country has made so many "medical advancements", and we have expert committees on everything from toothpaste to psychiatric drugs, and yet, we are placed 37th in the world (behind the Dominican Republic!) for the prevention and treatment of disease, according to the very latest stats from the World Health Organization. We have the FDA, the AMA, the OMGNHPAQ (Oh My Gosh Natural Health Practitioners Are Quacks) committee, the OMGMAM (Oh My Gosh Midwives Are Murderers) committee, the SYKFOEDWDLW (Stuff Your Kid Full Of Every Drug We Designed Last Week) committee...but, I ask you...how are we doing? Are we healthier? Are we happier? Has all of our information made life better for anyone? Seriously...I'm in tears right now. I don't even have the energy to give you all the sourced stats...just watch your news, just read any newspaper, just go to any school and watch the children who are outside of it...just hear yourself screaming inside for reasons you can't even pinpoint.

I'm not happy. I'm not healthy. I feel like crap ALL the time. I have NO energy...EVER. I don't remember the last time I woke up feeling rested. I'm scared ALL the time...and I don't know why. I have so many wonderful things, and the truth is...half of them are constant sources of frustration for me. What's the deal? The deal is, I have a self-discipline problem that is exacerbated by the constant pull of the strings on my back...the puppeteers being those who decide who lives and who dies...those who decide what will be readily available in my robotic waiter that comes up out of the side of my fancy hover-seat, once they've finally killed all life on earth, and therefore have us right where they want us...sick, disjointed, and floating like space junk in a craft that is ultimately run by a computer! Every fiber in me rails against this...because I have a little boy, who grows like bamboo, and I want him to know a mama who has joy, and I want him to know how to chop wood, and how to cook a meal from scratch, and heck...cook a meal from scratch that he grew from scratch. And, (little peek into my conspiracy theorist mind, here) if and when the crap hits the fan...I want him to know how to survive. I want him to have resources beyond button pushing, and I want him to be thankful that his parents taught him how to live off of GOD's land...from HIS bounty. Heck, he could be the first president of the United Nuked States of America.

So, if you want to know why....that's why.

Note: sorry, my Georgia ran out of ink, so I had to switch to Verdana?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Re-Post :: Self Doubt

*originally posted on January 31, 2010


I had great things planned for this, the day that was to mark the beginning of my illustrious career as a semi-pro blogger. Everything was laid out in type A, list maker fashion. I had topics for each and every day of the week, and was even going to write this morning's article last night, so that all I had to do this morning was wake up, brush my teeth, push the button on my coffee maker, and VOILA!...an article about the importance of sleep that was to change the life of some reader, like I was some messiah of the web. Enter a NASTY wave of self doubt, and an hours long case of writer's block. You know the drill..."this is dumb", "look at you...you have no business writing a blog about making your family whole...you're in mix-matched pajamas with hairy legs, dry feet, and you don't follow through on anything.", "you're definitely going to fail at this", "this is completely irrelevant...you have no idea what you're doing." Yada, yada, yada. I had a good cry, I called all the usual suspects for reassurance...husband, sister, mom. I even dragged myself to the gym, to see if a good cardio session would help to blow the cobwebs out. It helped for a little bit, but the waves of doubt kept sweeping over me. I was either having a serious case of spiritual attack, because what I want to do really is going to be worth something to people, or I was just realizing I'm not cut out to do this.
Oprah often says "doubt means don't." I think I may have to call BS on that one. (Sorry, Oprah) Truth is, that I've been told countless times that I need to write for people, that I have a gift, and that I'm robbing God by not using it. As I pondered this, it hit me that this is a chronic issue with me. I have all these things to offer, but for some reason, something keeps me from putting myself out there. So, it occurred to me that this doubt may not mean "don't" at all, but rather push through and DO IT!! Not to sound vain, but I've been given lots of gifts. What makes it sad, is that they are wasted. I believe that someone down there is pretty certain that if I were to move forward with confidence, and be free of the distraction and paralysis of self-doubt, then I might just be a force to be reckoned with for my family, my community, and my world. I don't think that we can be MADE to do things. I do, however, believe that we can be KEPT FROM doing things. Like an emotional and mental veil that's thrown up in front of us to keep us from realizing our true power. So, this is me...pressing onward...in spite of my doubts. So again, sorry, Oprah.
As a woman, a wife, a mom, and a writer, there is so much opportunity for self-doubt to rear it's ugly head...weight (I'll never actually get it done, why try?), financial freedom (there's always going to be something come up, why try?), marital strife (It's never going to change, why try?), blogging (It's completely irrelevant, why try?). Self doubt has the potential to single-handedly derail us from the path to wholeness...in all areas. So, my commitment to you is this: this week, I will write every day, no matter what I feel. My articles may not be life-changing or even poignant or funny...they may be irrelevant. But, and excuse my french...I'll be damned if I will allow self-doubt to make ME irrelevant ANY LONGER! Pick something that is holding you back, and do this WITH ME. I believe we need partners in this project! I believe we need people who know how we feel, who relate to us, who agree with us.
My life lesson today? God allowed me to experience what I did today, because He needed me to write THIS article...not the one I was planning. I'll get to the posts about sleep, exercise, eating well, etc. I just think that He needed me to go deeper...think bigger than my limited plans on the topics I wanted to address...to let this be His blog, and not mine. He's good at that...not letting me fall flat on my face BECAUSE of me, but taking me to higher ground IN SPITE of me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changes...

...but, good ones!!! You wanna know the biggest one? Really?;)

Well, we FINALLY FOUND A HOUSE!!!!

I have been absolutely slammed with stuff going on in the past week or so, and it's clearly not going to be slowing down this week, either! No worries...you won't hear me complaining about this one!

I have decided to repost some of my favorite blogs from the past 100+ that I have posted. Albeit, I don't think that a greatest hits series does a measly 100 posts warrant...but, I need to post this week, and I have a whole bunch of people who haven't been reading since the beginning. So...I'm scheduling some old turned new posts. Hope you enjoy!

Next week...I'll be blogging from my new house:) Pictures to follow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Soul Tugging

There is something moving about in my soul. It's not something I can identify. It's like a something fighting under a blanket...I know it's there, and it's awake...but, I can't see it.

I feel like I need to unplug. I need room to breathe. I need poetry...not information. I need expression, not conversation. I need to poke an air hole in this box I'm in, right now.

There's this part of me that doesn't get out much any more...I usually call her my inner beatnik.

Whatever it is...she needs out,

in a Thoreau-esque,
get quiet,
fall to my knees,
existentialist,

bathe in tears,

come home to the music,
scream at trains,

get lost in guitar strings,

get a tattoo,
dance in the moonlight,


pray until sweating,

worship with abandon,

get stuck in the rain,


breathe in the beauty, drink the morning,

dissolve. into. being.,


let it all come down on me............



kind of way.

I'll be back. Don't worry.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!

Well, since I only had three entries, I decided to forgo the random.org thing, and just put all the names in a hat. I folded them all up very tightly, and put them in my hat....fished around for a few seconds, and then pulled out......

SUSAN REASOR!!!

Susan went to high school with all involved, so this is a fun and personal win;) (Albeit not a long stretch...tehee!)

Congratulations on your free copy of KEEP DREAMING, Susan...I know your kids will love it! Jaxen is already asking me to read him the dream book. (and, of course, his favorite picture is the one with the car on the earth:)

I'll send you a message, and get it sent out to you, asap!

Thanks for entering, and I hope to do another one very soon!

KEEP DREAMING!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Like finding a road sign in the middle of nowhere...

I just found this post in my email, from a site that I frequent. I have to tell you...it feels like someone just found me, and I didn't even know I was lost.

I keep asking myself..."How did we get here, again?" "How are we back here, in Concrete Consumerville, and worse off than when we left?

Since we got home from the trip, we have been proverbially bumping up against everything we ever wanted to get away from, like we're living with a bad roommate in an efficiency apartment. (OK...I have a flair for the analogy.) But seriously!!

I didn't even really understand that I was going through anything...much less what I was going through.

And then....THIS.

This is where I am.

Where are you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

KEEP DREAMING: More than a Review (with a bonus GIVEAWAY!)

A few weeks ago, I found out that a couple of guys I know had written a children's book. So, of course...I shamelessly asked if I could review it!

We went to high school together, and today, we're all parents...inspired to give our children more than this world will readily offer...driven to give them the gift of understanding their full potential...walking through this world with the weight of how to guide them to that understanding. So, we search, and we express our journeys...each in different ways.

It was really important to me that I do this review, not as someone who knows the creators, but as a mother, who is passionate about her kid. So, I read, and now review it, through that lens...out of that heart.


I have the great honor of introducing you all to Keep Dreaming, a collaborative effort, written by Jake Brittain and illustrated by Scott Dykema, centered around encouraging kids to dream...and dream BIG. It is a beautifully crafted poem, that pays homage to the dreamers that have made our world what it is, today. It's a delicious reminder, even to adults, that making dreams a reality is a tangible endeavor. The message goes even deeper with the CD included, that features the words set to different music, all written by Jake.

That message is brought to life by Scott's unique and visionary art. I'm not overstating when I say that! I was immediately transported by his use of deep colors and dreamy scenes. It was like going on a journey. Add to that, Scott's wife, Anna designed the layout of the book! (Talented family, no?)

This book is so RICH...the message, the colors, the pictures, and the motivation.


Let me tell you why it moved me to tears:
First of all, my son turned 4 on Sunday. He has reached that age, where he dreams like crazy. He's constantly regaling me with wild tales of how there was a monster on the roof, and how he turned on the jets in his shoes to fly up and punch him in the eye...and how he wasn't scared at all! My heart jumps for these stories...because, I know the imagination behind them is world-changing! I know that, if he lives his life with the kind of drive that moves him around right now...he will be a force to be reckoned with. It's my job to foster and cultivate that spirit in him...and paramount to that is...protecting and encouraging his dreams! What better gift could I give him?

Secondly, I am all too aware of the fact that there are countless children out there who do not have the opportunity to hold on to their dreams...much less receive encouragement to bring those dreams into the world. I am heart-sick for the children whose life circumstances squelch their dreams all too early. So, when I read Keep Dreaming, I also read it from the heart of an adoptive mother. My heart aches for children who don't have the same chances, and so I prayed the message would reach as many kids as possible.

Well, prayer answered! I found out that this book is to be marketed under the One for One model...you know...like TOMS Shoes?
(*Scott, Jake, and I went to jr. high and high school with Blake Mycoskie, the founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS.)
Keep Dreaming sells for $15, and for every book that they sell, a book will be given to a child in need! Not only did they bring the world a gift...they're making sure it gets to the kids that need it most!

So, now I want to offer you...A GIVEAWAY! I bought a copy of the book, solely for the purpose of giving it away to one of my readers. However, I wanted the book that was given away to have contributed to the One for One thing, so you could know it's fulfilling it's purpose. This will be a great gift for any parent or child!

There are several ways you can enter for this giveaway!
  • go to www.newdreamstudio.com, look around and then come leave a comment back here, on whole family project, telling me what you think:)
  • leave a comment, on this blog, telling me your biggest dream for your child
  • follow the whole family project blog
  • follow whole family project on twitter
  • "like" whole family project on Facebook
Leave a separate comment for each entry, and then on Saturday, October 23, 2010, I will do a drawing on random.org for the winner! Good luck!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lighthouses: My 100th POST!

Today I celebrate 100 posts! Blogging is actually one of my "lighthouses", because it allows me an outlet for creativity, it keeps me connected to like-minded people, inspiring people, and passionate people, aaaaand...it keeps my mind working.

I love having a way to reflect on what I'm passionate about. If you are writing for other people's information...it requires you to articulate your thoughts and feelings on things. I have a way to tell people about what I know...a way make my voice heard about Real Food, swimming against the current, and keeping families whole, in this world that seeks to rip them apart. While sometimes creating an "information overload" situation, blogging has been one of the best things to happen to me...because, while it celebrates my role as wife and mother...it more accentuates my role as a woman who is passionate about something, who is taking the time to educate herself, who is muscling her way out of the hum-drum and trying to make a difference.

Blogging has lit my way to shore...given me direction and safe haven when I feel like quitting. It was my connection to home for 9 weeks on the road, and now it's my memory book for the adventure that we had. It is a constant source of inspiration as we embark on this life...and I love the gifts it's given me. I'm going to leave you with a poem that had me crying on my keyboard a couple of days ago. I found it on another blog...so, inspiration in action. Have you found YOUR inspiration, yet?

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Whole Marriage: It's Not About Hope

*I wrote about a marriage conference that Brandon and I attended a few weeks ago. At the end of the conference, our pastor, David Daniels told a story. That story stuck with me, because it illustrates the greatest truth there is, when it comes to having a whole marriage. This is the story...

A man went to pick up a friend from the airport. (This was back in the day, when you could go through to the gate, to receive your loved ones from the tunnel). As he sat waiting, he watched a man come out of the tunnel. With tears in his eyes, he approached a woman and 3 children. He walked straight to the first child, picked them up, and told them how much he loved and had missed them. He closed his eyes and gave a sigh as he gave them each a long, engulfing hug.

When he got to the woman, he looked at her, in her eyes, and said "I saved the best for last". He kissed her, and swept her up in a long embrace, telling her over and over how happy he was to be back home with her.

The onlooker was very moved, and surprised himself by saying..."Wow! You must have been gone a long time!" The family turned around, and the returning father smiled at him and said..."Yes. 3 days is such a long time to be away from those I love the most!" The man stared in wonderment and said, "Three days? I thought it would have been longer than that!.....I hope I have a marriage and a family like that, someday". The father, with his arms around his family, looked intently into the man's eyes and said...

"Don't hope, friend. Decide."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sustainable Beauty: Homemade Deodorant

*Let me begin, by addressing the issue of antiperspirant. Think for a moment, if you will, about the term antiperspirant. Literally...it is to stop. sweat. That's all fine and well, if you think of things in terms of our over-marketed society. However, if you think of the implications of how our bodies are created to operate...that's a very dangerous thing. Sweating is our most valuable detoxification tool, and to block that process is to keep those toxins swimming around in your body. If you are a woman (or, increasingly, just a human being), then not allowing the natural detoxification process to occur, especially in the underarm region, then you are keeping those toxins in and around your breast tissue. Bad. idea.

So...now that we have that taken care of...
...about 5 or 6 years ago, I stopped using antiperspirant, for the specific reasons I just addressed. However, I TOTALLY get the whole B.O. issue. Don't get me wrong...I may be a hippie at heart, but I certainly don't want to smell like one. Soooo...I began using deodorants that I found at Whole Foods and other stores like that, and they worked fine for years. I always made sure that I was purchasing "aluminum-free" deodorants, that didn't contain parabens and other harmful ingredients.

There were a couple of problems, though. First and foremost...those deodorants aren't cheap! I mean, they are certainly worth paying for, if your only other option is an antiperspirant...but, if you're on a family budget, it can be painful to pass that thing over the scanner.

Second problem...one day toward the end of our trip...
my deodorant stopped working!

...dun, dun, duuuuun...

I kid you not! This was no ordinary problem...ladies and gentlemen...I STANK. I literally couldn't stand myself on some days.

I was fairly annoyed, because I really liked what I'd been using, and I was NOT going to go back to that stuff that begins with an S and ends in a CRET...because, for pete's sake...I don't need to give my body any more reason than it already has. Little did I know...it would be the best thing that has ever happened to my armpits:)

Enter: homemade deodorant!!!

What you need:
1/3 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup baking soda
5-6 tablespoons coconut oil
few drops of lavender or tea tree oil (optional)
container of your choice (you can even re-use an empty deodorant stick)



First, measure your baking soda and cornstarch/arrowroot powder into your bowl.
Add the coconut oil one tablespoon at a time, until your mixture is the desired consistency.
I placed a few drops of a lavender/tea tree oil in the mixture.
(It should be very similar to store-bought)
Place in your old stick dispenser, or put into a small jar.
Voila!! Deodorant:)

I use a round cosmetics sponge for application. However, it still gets on my fingers somewhat, so you could easily skip that step and save yourself some time:)

The Consumer Report:
I've been using this deodorant for about a month, now. There is absolutely no smell...nada, zip, zilch, nyet...we're talking completely neutralized odor zone under those arms! I absolutely love everything about it...it's easy, it's cheap, it's quick, I know EXACTLY what's in it, it absolutely works, and I used the lavender/tea tree oil, and it smells wonderful!

Bonus: My underarms are softer, because of the coconut oil:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lighthouses: Joie de Vivre

Over the weekend, I watched this special with Giada de Laurentiis in Capri. I may have never mentioned this, but Giada de Laurentiis is...well...I idolize her. I would like to downplay that little factoid, but alas...that's the truth. There isn't a show she does that I don't watch religiously, and I not only love her cooking...but, her heritage has me in ethno-envy like no one's business. Ok...so, now that I'm verging on creepy...let me get back to my original point...ahem.

So, we're watching this show on Saturday, where Giada roams around the Isle of Capri, showing off all the most wonderful parts, and taking us to restaurants, shops where Jackie O used to shop, etc. She arrived on the island, and immediately went to a place that roughly translated into "people rejoice". I immediately started crying. I. want. that. Are you kidding me?...a place called "people rejoice?!" I'm jealous.

I find it very difficult to be just happy, here. Going back to school has brought back a cynicism that I wasn't fully prepared for. People that are in the school I go to are bankrupt. Forget joy...decency is a delicacy. Joy is something that doesn't even register in that atmosphere. I know that, for now, this is where I'm supposed to be. Believe me...I've tried to talk my way out of on more than a bunch of occasions. However, my heart longs and aches for something else. I don't even know what it is...except for I know it's what I saw in that show. Can you imagine, in our culture, to have an entire aspect of our defining traits to be "joyful people?"

You want to know the truth...I'm kinda mad that I'm not Italian or Greek. I really feel that I should have been. I think it's the rich enjoyment of life. For heaven's sake...they have dinner for hours. They talk, laugh...heck, there's even a patio that's famous, because people sit there quietly, and people watch...as in don't do anything, or look at their phones, or anything like that...they sit around and soak in the atmosphere, and reflect on how interesting and beautiful people are. Can you imagine?

It seemed pretty silly to be crying over that show...but, it speaks to something deeper. I want that! The joie de vivre...the rich culture of enjoyment...the marinated feeling of gratefulness...I want that. I feel that...but, I want to share it with other people. I want it to be celebrated in my culture.

Do you think I need to defect?

{my tour guide through my fantasy food world}


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sustainable Beauty: My New Love

Well, since it's Saturday, why don't you have breakfast, drink your morning cup of coffee, and then take the grounds you just used to brew that coffee...

...and make a face scrub!!!


I have to tell you...I giggled with delight when I read about this on Crunchy Betty. This chick rocks my world:)

In all seriousness, I am at extremely high risks for breast cancer. If there is a risk factor, I have it to an extreme degree. Regardless, I want to end the industrial wasting away of my body. So, to that end, I am doing everything I can to rid my life of anything I can't make myself. This is actually a tough one for me...because I'm a cosmetics junkie. It's weird, because I don't wear makeup every day, and I don't put much effort into getting ready...but, I could wander around Ulta for days. It's getting easier to envision, but I hold onto the hope that I'll most likely never give up my Bare Minerals, i.e. have a reason to go to Ulta, occasionally:)

So, coffee on your face. What a concept. I'm pretty much tired all the time, so this was extra intriguing to me. The wet grounds, when mixed with a tablespoon of honey, and a teaspoon of cocoa powder...and, you have an amazing facial scrub! I applied it to my face, and between the smell and the exfoliation properties of the coffee, and the moisturizing affects of the honey...even though I looked like this, for a few minutes...


...my face felt amazing afterward. A bonus?...I used the leftovers in the shower, as a "perk you up" body scrub!

I'll let you in on a little secret...I loved it so much that I have done it twice since. One more thing...it didn't cost me a thing!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Whole Marriage: Afternoon Getaway

I'm having a wonderful afternoon:) My husband and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a study date at the bookstore, today. We have such a blast with our son, and we're frankly a little gooey about being with him. However, just having a ton of homework to do, and needing to get out and get it done before the weekend, provided a momentary reminder of how important it is to spend time with each other...one on one.

Even though we're just giving each other eyes over our prospective laptop screens at Borders, it's nice to be able to reflect without interruption from a rambunctious little goof ball that:


Boy Oh Boy... Am I in love with his dad!:)


{disclaimer: I realize that we need to get a new picture of us, since this one is 8 years old...but, we're not quite this cute, anymore:) Oh well...we're happy as all get out!

****By the way! I have something extremely exciting coming up on the blog next Tuesday!! You'll want to stay tuned:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Real Food Wednesday: Roll Up Your Sleeves, Kids

Well, I have decided to stop apologizing for my inconsistency, here. I feel the pull to be in this space, second only to that of laying in bed snuggling with my boys, so trust me when I say...it's nothing personal. I realize that my anxiety over not getting here every day, is just a frustration that comes from not getting to do what I want to do, but having to spend time doing things I "have to do", instead...like school and all the work that comes with that. So here it is...Thursday. Oh well. Just know I miss you more than you miss me.

So, I'm doing Real Food Wednesday, because, well....I want to. We had the most fun this past weekend, while my aunt and her two girls were in town. We spent the weekend laughing a bunch, making good food, and getting the kids involved. The best part was...one of the kids favorite things about the weekend was getting to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the preparation for our real food dinner on Saturday night. We had a wonderful dinner of grilled chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and sauteed spinach.

It was very yummy...but, the most delicious part was the sounds of the children having the most fun shucking corn.


I think I could listen to that sound all day long:) They just sat on the back porch, exclaiming over and over "I did it! Look at mine!!"

{jaxen felt very strong and accomplished:)}

To top it off, after we cooked it, they were so excited to be eating the corn they had worked so hard to prepare for us!

{jaxen and his cousins hard at work}

What a fun weekend we had! We had good food, good games, good laughs...only drawback was...it made me ache all the more to be on a piece of land, with a big huge table outside under a huge tree, with beautiful lanterns hung from the branches, and tiki torches lining the al fresco dining area, where we will feast on real food and real life with people we love...all the time!

Waiting...it's the thing I'm the least good at.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lighthouse: A Quick One

I'm trying to keep lots of commitments right now...the most important of them being to get to bed at a decent time. So, to that end...this is going to be a quick one.

I did pretty well at getting up early last week, but this week, I'm actually going to DO something with that time, instead of sitting on the couch, willing myself not to go back to bed.

I'm starting a whole body cleanse tomorrow (Garden of Life), because I feel like my feet are made of lead, and that's generally a good indication that I need to do a liver detox. In a couple of days, I'm going to feel like crap...but, the day after that...I'll be ROCKIN'! If you've never done one, I highly recommend it...it's easy, necessary, and you'll feel amazing.

I had a great workout this morning, and a few of them last week! In trying to be more faithful to the things I need to do for myself...that one's a doozie! Good new is...my knees are holding up remarkably well...no pain, no weakness! Thank GOD! The runs are every other day, right now, and Heather and I have scheduled a 5k for October 24 in Houston. Wish me luck!

Well, that's just a few updates. I have more profound posts up my sleeve, but for today, since I'm short on time, I need to go to bed, and I'm putting several things into practice before I write about them...I decided it would be fun to just post about small victories, for once.

Sometimes, you just have to pat yourself on the back a little:)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Soaking in the Moment

Rain was falling outside, the room was very quiet.

An acoustic guitar played softly in the background, while I melted into my husband's side...tears streaming down my face.

What a beautiful moment we had at the end of the marriage conference this afternoon. It was just a quiet moment to marinate in each other, and feel roots winding ever deeper into our life together.

As I listened to the soft rain and Brandon's heartbeat, I was overwhelmed by the gratitude...that I am in a marriage that is rich, that I am in love with the man that I partnered with for this lifetime...



...that God cares enough about me to give me this space to reach my full potential, to be protected and holy; a man willing to be the chisel to the sculpture that is me, and the security to let go and have fun with him, while we walk this world together.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Whole Marriage: Cultivation


Marriage is like a garden. It needs to be cultivated...tended, protected, watered, and fed.

It's not enough to just get married. That marriage needs to be grown.


So often, people's marriages fall apart, and it's not hard to understand why. More effort is putting into what to wear in the morning, or cleaning out the car, than is put into the care of relationship...especially a marriage relationship. I've seen this over and over...people feeling like their marriages are over, because they don't understand this very simple fact. It cannot be overstated that continuing to live in the same set of behaviors, the same mentalities, is in no way "trying". Trying implies action. Do something!

B
randon and I have a pretty solid marriage...but, that's as a result of some regular maintenance. We continue those efforts tonight...we're going to a marriage conference at our church called "loveFORlife." We like to feed our relationship in this way...we go to about 2 of these types of conferences a year. It's such a refreshing experience...and one that is about re-centering your relationship...nothing else. Division of labor, parenting, financial partnership, careers...these things mean nothing if your marriage is falling apart...and synergystically, all those things tend to flourish if your relationship is solid. It's so unbelievably important to give your relationship some undivided attention...

Resources we use:
Marriage Today - we've been to 3 of these conferences, and they are worth every single minute!
Pantego Bible Church - this is our church, and the marriage conference is tonight and tomorrow morning:) I can't wait!
Power of a Praying Wife/Husband by Stormie O'Martian
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
Marriage Missions



...so, I'll be spending my weekend tending my marriage.

What will you be doing?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Food for Thought



I keep getting asked the question "Why whole food?" That question is so loaded...and the answer is even heavier. So, I've decided that I'm going to begin with presenting everyone with the same thing that got me interested...information from outside sources...people who have been doing this a long time, and are more adept at bringing the information down to a concise and efficient form. I will be exploring my answer further...but, until then, I will be posting as much educational material as I can, so that all of you can have access to what I'm seeing.

One Last Thing!...

I am now a full-fledged member of Slow Food USA. This is the best organization in the world for the Real Food Effort...heck! They STARTED it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stepping to the Edge of the Nest

Some time ago, we realized that our little boy was in desperate need of some group interaction. Part of me just wants to keep him with me, every day, for the rest of my life. The other part...the part that began training him to leave me, from the very first day I got him...knows full well that this outgoing, adventurous, precocious little spirit needs community. He needs to begin grasping what it is to be under someone else's instruction, to grow socially, to have interaction, to cultivate friendships...to lift his wings, and prepare for flight. I know it's just the first step, but it's still profound. He's been fighting for independence since he was an infant. He is tenacious about his own self-sufficiency, and about his own abilities. So, in that spirit, we signed him up for soccer...and, Mother's Day Out a couple of days a week. All of this happened at once, so our week was full of firsts...

{first soccer practice}

{first team warm up}

{first soccer game}

{first day of "school"}

I felt a little silly shedding tears over Mother's Day Out, but it was more than that. It was just the first in a long line of experiences that draw me closer to the day when I'll be waving goodbye to him, as he goes off to college, gets married, becomes a father...is a man. 14 years isn't very long...it's already been almost 4. I have to savor every moment.

Know the feeling?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lighthouses?...and a Challenge!

Ugh! Well, as you can easily see, I am finding it very difficult to get this blog done during the week. I'm trying...I really am. It's hard to write about working toward a whole life, when your life seems to be getting only further away from whole! It's OK...we'll get there. Even when we do, it's always going to be a practice in maintaining it. Family is fine...however, the no house issue is exploding like a volcano. I'm praying that the problem will be resolved this week...please pray with me, if you do!? I need a place to put away my stuff!

Every time I do one of these Monday posts, I write the title "Me Mondays", and I cringe a little. I really don't like that title. As I was weighing the issue of what I'm trying to accomplish with these posts, dedicated to our mother-hearts, and how to better be the barometer for our family's environments, I wanted to find a different name for them. For me, needing to keep my own emotions and mental state on my radar, is personified in my mind by fog...needing to see through it, break through it, and stay connected to land. So often, these days, I feel lost at sea...tossed this way and that, and not having a place to land...not having a harbor to pull into. So, in that spirit, I think of these Monday posts as reminders to keep my eyes on the horizon...where there might be a lighthouse to guide my way. So, the new Monday post moniker is going to be Lighthouses. Anyone care to weigh in?

One of the major complaints about motherhood, and all-round womanhood, is that we don't have time to take care of ourselves. I don't know a single woman who faithfully attends to her own spirit, body, and mind, before she attends to that of her family, or others in her life. The best way to do that, is to do it first thing in the morning...to begin your day by centering yourself around the practices that help you achieve optimal wellness...spiritually, mentally, and physically. Since I am clearly not adept at this behavior, I am taking a challenge this week, as outlined by a fellow mom blogger...though she is evermore helpful, relevant, and experienced! It's something I feel really strongly about, in our journey to wholeness, so I want all of you to do it with me, if you have issues in this area, as well. I dare say, most of us deal with it! So, do yourself a favor, and go read all the details, HERE. Inspired to Action is one of my favorite blogs! I know you'll love reading her practical advice on how to live life on purpose!

This week, I'll be finding a house, moving another step closer to being a whole mom, whole wife, whole sister, whole friend, whole me. I invite you all to practice being more deliberate with me. So...go to bed at a decent hour tonight, and join me this week, as we maximize our mornings! I want to hear how it goes:)

God Bless all of you! Thanks for continuing to read my stuff...it means a lot to me:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Me Mondays: Is Tom Cruise My Brother?

I think maybe I'll call these sessions the Me Mondays: After Dark posts. I mean...technically it's Tuesday morning, but I haven't been to sleep, yet, so in my mind, it's still Monday. I think it's high time I did a post about going to bed at a decent hour...since clearly, these days, I do not.

That actually brings me to my topic, today.

Have you ever had one of those days, when you catch a glimpse of yourself, in the mirror, and you ask the reflection..."where have you been?" I am having one of those long stretches where I get out of the shower, run a brush through my wet hair, put moisturizer on my face, and don't look at myself again, until the next morning. Even then, it's only to check that I'm actually brushing my teeth, and not shoving a toothbrush in my ear, and then it's disheveled ponytail, dusting of baking soda under the arms, and clothing...that I may or may not wear once a week. I don't really have an excuse for this, either. I wish I could tell you that I have mountains of children to get dressed every day...but, the truth is, lately...I'm doing good to get my ONE kid dressed. I'm pretty sure there was a day last week that he never got out of his pajamas. School isn't really kicking my hiney, yet...although, I do anticipate it getting more difficult as the semester progresses. Honestly, I think it's the lack of a house thing.

I am a creature of habit. Scratch that...I'm a creature of system. I have an order and a "way" to almost everything. I am hard pressed to believe that if done in any other way than the way I do things...they just won't be done as well. My husband will tell you, I have thought through every single detail...and there is a method to all of my madness...which actually means that everyone else's haphazard way of living is the actual madness...I'm just, well... right. *Getting the picture? I know...it's a personality thing. However...here's the kicker: When drawn out of my system...I'm lost. I like to think of it as my "Rain Man-ism". Sounds funny...but, I seriously don't know what to do sometimes...so, I just don't do anything. Before I know it...I haven't gone to bed at a purposeful time...haven't planned meals, haven't been intentional with training my son, spending time with my husband, spending quality time in prayer...in short, I a oily, frumpy mess running around begging God to just get me through this ONE DAY! And, there's not really anything going on, that's any big deal! Sheesh! I get tired of myself, sometimes.

Our way of life has been very strange for the past 5 1/2 months. However, I am realizing that I have just surrendered to the circumstances...instead of leaning on my Father to guide me out. It's a strange and ridiculous phenomenon when we get so lost inside our own lives that one of the first good habits to go is looking to the One who holds our futures in His hands, on a daily basis. That's like being so hungry that you forget to eat your daily bread. Brilliant.

Does anyone else get weary of having to learn the same lesson time and again? I'm starting to feel like my (almost) 4 year old...just not nearly as cute.

I'm so glad He loves me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Spotlight on Adoption: Guest Post

I am breaking my own rules, again, and I have decided to go ahead and post about adoption this week...even though it's the first Tuesday, instead of the last.

Adoption is a scary and unsure thing. It is something that not everyone can relate to. For me, it was a time in my life, where, if I asked someone for some reassurance, I could tell that they couldn't give me any that was genuine...because they had never been there...they actually didn't KNOW if everything was going to be OK. I treasure the time, now...because, it taught me my first and greatest lesson in trusting God. I had to learn that one for real! However, at the time, it was terrifying, and there were few I could turn to. There was one person, however, who knew exactly how I felt... and she came to be a mentor and God-given comfort for me. Her son and daughter-in-law are 2 of our most treasured friends in this life...more like family, really. A while back, I asked her to share her feelings and thoughts on our particular journey to motherhood, to be published on this blog. Her name is Kay...and at long last...these are her thoughts:

When Aleisha asked me to share something on adoption and gave me complete freedom, I really couldn’t decide where to start. As the adoptive mother of two, who are both now adults, I have had plenty of thoughts on adoption over the years.

First of all, to me adoption is a miracle of the most special kind. No, there is no physical labor. But is there labor?-- yes there is. When you are having a baby the natural way, you have a pretty good idea you’ll be a mother in approximately nine months. When you are having a baby by adoption, you may know nine months ahead of time, or you may wait for several years. Then when you finally get “the call”, you are in what I call emotional labor, which believe me can be pretty intense, and just a step away from insanity at times.

And the moment each of my children were placed in my arms, I can honestly say they were mine. Bonding doesn’t happen instantly with everyone, there are no rules about it.

I just know when I have been asked by well-meaning friends and sometimes by well-meaning strangers, “ Are you going to let them meet their real mother?” I want to remind them of the children’s story about the Velveteen Rabbit and what it means to be real. For the rabbit, it meant that his fur got rubbed off and he looked pretty ratty looking. His eyes might have been rubbed off (I don’t remember all the story), and he got awfully tattered. It’s kind of the same way with an adoptive mother. I got made real by getting thrown up on, spit up on, staying up 24 hours at a time to be the comforter to my sick child, etc. etc. –you get the idea. So I always tell whoever asks me, “ I am the real mother.” Being an adoptive mom is not being some kind of very special baby sitter, until the real mother comes back. Being an adoptive mother is being GIVEN the privilege of being a real mom. So what does that leave for the birth mother? For me, it meant an incredible sense of gratefulness and thankfulness to each of two young ladies who made what had to be an almost unbearably painful, yet exquisitely loving decision to give the gift of motherhood to someone like me. The story in the Bible ( King Solomon) of how the real mother was willing to give up her child so he could live tells it so much better than I can. I have had the opportunity to meet my son’s birth mother and to do what I longed to do for years--- say “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Those words seem so inadequate, but they were all I had. And as we hugged and cried, she honored me by saying those same words back to me—“Thank you for being my son’s mother.” I hope one day to get to meet my daughter’s birth mother and tell her thank you too. I always think of her on my daughter’s birthday and know she is wondering how the tiny little girl she gave birth to twenty-eight years ago is doing. And I long to tell her, “ She is doing great, she is an incredible person, and I am so, so blessed to be her mother. Thank you.” Maybe one day, I will get that chance.

The other question that well-meaning friends and sometimes well-meaning strangers would ask me was the most puzzling of all. When my children were small they would say( in whispered tones), “ Are you going to TELL them they are ADOPTED?” My answer always was, “ I never thought there was anything so terrible or dark about the truth. Yes, they will be told.” And they were. When they were each about two years old, I made each of them a little story book about how much Mommy and Daddy wanted a baby, how we prayed, and how God chose the very baby we were supposed to have through adoption.” Is that just a children’s story? Not to me, it’s not, it is God’s truth. Each one of my children was chosen for me as surely as if they had grown inside me.

Hope that my random thoughts have encouraged or blessed someone today.

Kay

Thank you, Kay...for everything...this beautiful post, your amazing heart...for raising an amazing man, so that he would marry an amazing woman; for being an ear and a comfort during our adoption; for making us one of those sweet books, so that we would also be able to share our experience with our son...and for being a vessel of God's love...what a wonderful legacy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Me Monday: Prodigal

Well...I have a ton of catching up to do.

First of all...Happy Labor Day!
Labor Day is always pretty cool for me, because it always comes around my birthday. Actually, every few years, my birthday is ON Labor Day. If you want to get technical...the actual day of my birth was ON Labor Day. Yeah...so, if someone saw my mom on Labor Day 1977, and said "Happy Labor Day, to you, madame!" She'd be like...."seriously! You have no idea. Labor? Yes, as a matter of fact! Happy?...I don't know...check with me in a few hours!"

This brings me to my next point. This year, my birthday was on the day BEFORE Labor Day. You won't find me complaining, though...I love having a birthday smack dab in the middle of a long weekend! Ah, the birthday. I've never been one who's too hung up on the getting older thing, or worried about another birthday. I like them...and, this year was no exception. I turned 33, yesterday, and I have to say...I feel just fine about it. There are, however, some irksome things happening...such as the insatiable gray hair issue that I adopted during my 33rd trip around the sun. Seriously...couldn't we have an Aging Counsel meeting, and ban the start of gray hairs until 37 or 38? I don't take kindly to facing the music about my vow to grow old gracefully, this early in the game. I think I may have to reconsider my position on hair color. Especially since the chick who cuts my son's hair told me I looked old and drab the other day...Yowza!! She's hilarious...and right...so, I suppose I have highlights on the horizon:) Oh well...NO BOTOX, though! Good grief...if I have a post in 5 years that states a new position on that...well, you have my full permission to come and give me a good slap upside the head! So...thirty-three...

It's when I started school, again. There are good things and bad things about that one. I realize that my fears about being old in school are really no big deal. However, I find it infinitely more difficult to stomach attitudes and ridiculous fashion trends. I just see everything from another perspective, now. I realize how much cooler it is to buck trends than it is to just swim in a sea of sameness...especially when that "sameness" is ghastly!
*Let it be said that "skinny jeans" should only be worn by "skinny" people. If you happen to be a size 18-20, and you are wearing jeans that are extremely tight around your ankles...the only fashion statement you are making is a clear cut understanding about the width of your rear-end. It might even be more flattering to paint all your measurements on a sandwich board and wear that around the school. Please. STOP!! YOU LOOK LIKE AN ICE CREAM CONE!!!

I beg your pardons.

Anyway - I have completely messed up my illustrious and regular running streak...but, have not given up. I realize that this is the point at which I've always stopped...when I have "too much" going on in my life. There is never going to be a point when I say..."yep. Looks like this is about when everything will magically start falling right in line with my schedule and my energy level...guess I'll start doing what I need to do to make myself healthy." Heather and I talked about the fact that this is the actual training...the actual lesson to be learned, here. We will be masters at time stewardship and follow through by the time this is all said and done...I just know it:)

Speaking of...now that I know what to expect from my school work load...I am hoping to be more regular with my posts. As I've stated before...this is what I actually WANT to do...so, I will do my very best to do it every day. However, if I don't...well, I forgive myself ahead of time:)

I hope you do, too!

Happy Labor Day....can't you feel the fall coming?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just Shake it Off

...the marriage blues, that is.

Try something totally out of the blue, and way out of character with your spouse, today. Try to break the monotony. Find a way to connect on a level that you may not have connected on in years. Ideas:

  • start a pillow fight
  • big kiss in the kitchen for no reason
  • splash fight at the sink
  • climb in the shower with them
  • have a staring contest
  • write them a note on the bathroom mirror
  • scavenger hunt
Something. Do Something. Even if you don't feel like it...even if you're hurt. Make something happen that doesn't normally happen. Stop thinking about the list of things to do. Stop wondering whether or not you should have planted the tree, and get to the business of growing roots...cultivate it. Water it. Take care of it. The tough stuff will always be there...work in the simplicity. Stop trying to figure everything out...just BE with them, today. Thank them for giving you children...or being by your side when you adopted. Say the words..."you're important to me, and I'm on your team." Leave it at that. Nothing else. Do whatever it takes to have a laughing moment with them. Without fun...marriage is just a list of things to do. The choice is YOURS. Don't agree that this will always be the way it is...change it.

Brandon, thank you that when I need to find myself, I never picture doing that without you. Thank you for encouraging and challenging me to do that, every day. Thank you for giving me the room and the support. Thank you for being by my side when we adopted, and while we raise our son. You're important to me...and, I'm on your side. I love you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Incredible Edible Egg?


{photo credit: mother earth news}


OK...so, I'm sure, by now, you've all heard about the recall of 228 million eggs! Well, if you needed another reason to begin to buy locally, from people you meet in person, whose farm you can go and visit...you've got it. When you have a large scale salmonella outbreak like this, it's easy to speculate that a) they've known about it for a while, and are just now getting around to the recall, and b) they are finding more efficient ways of getting the salmonella into our livestock. In order for there to be salmonella in eggs...it's not an environmental issue in the egg factory...it is the CHICKEN! The chicken is, in fact, contaminated with salmonella, and then passing it out through the egg. Awesome. Does that make you feel any better about buying some pretty boneless, skinless chicken breasts from your nearest grocer? Never mind that they can't stand up under the weight of the greed...now, they are dying as a result of it, as well. We caught on to the cows...I guess they figured they should start on the chickens. Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if the government is actually subsidizing salmonella and E. Coli...like corn and soy are just code for "death and disease." But, what do I know? I'm no scientist...I'm no Big Food Industry bureaucrat...I haven't passed my opinions across the desk of anyone at the FDA. I suppose that means I don't know what I'm talking about....

If you'd like to form your own opinion...you should read here.

Update: As I stated above...they DID know. There were several cases back in June and July. Oh! and by the way...the count is now up to 380 million! I think I'll be heading to my nearest farm, today:)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Real Food Wednesday: A Heart Song

Real Food Wednesday has taken a hit. It's very disappointing, really. In order to do these posts, successfully, I have to actually DO something during the week, that will allow me to write a post. It's hard to write a weekly post on real food, when I'm just throwing a sandwich together and brewing coffee every day. While I am actually spending my day moving us toward our goals, that doesn't mean I am spending much time on food. I hate that.

School starts on the 30th...about 13 days from now. All my classes are cooking related...save the online English Comp class I have to take. I'm sure I won't be hitting the kitchen right off the bat...but, I'm thrilled to be moving forward on it. I was trying to explain to someone the other day what my love of food...especially real food...is about. It's hard to explain. While I do love to eat...the thing that brings tears to my eyes isn't about eating. It's about people. It's about history. It's about a common thread. It's about an art. It's about culture. It's about communing with our Earth. It's about painting with God's brushes. It's about nourishing more than just bodies...it's about nourishing souls.

I love that God gave us the practical means to create beauty. He gave us all the nutrients, the vitamins, the minerals, the proteins, etc. But, just for our pleasure...He packaged it in the most vibrant colors, textures, flavors, smells...sounds, even. That's why I scoff every time someone says "food is just fuel." If that were true, why wouldn't we just have a pile of goo on our plate, like they eat on The Matrix? While I agree with the allegory of The Matrix, I take exception to the idea that to be enlightened to the tricks played on your life every day, means that one would live in the land of industrial gray and a pile of uninspiring gruel. It's so puzzling. Food is a multi-sensory experience...a concert of God's bounty.

I think that's why I see processed food as such an abomination. To feed your family and yourself solely on the pre-packaged notion of food that's readily available is like putting Ansel Adams to work at Olan Mills, Martin Scorsese in charge of pushing the slide button, putting Monet to applying stickers all over poster board...or Frank Lloyd Wright to setting up a tent. It is to short change the very essence of what makes us, and keeps us, human.

It's no doubt that there is a movement swelling, here. It's no doubt that I am determined to be a part of it. I feel a strong sense of duty to bring as many of you with me, as I can. However, more than anything, I can't wait to have a kitchen full of friends, a big harvest weekend celebration, a warm gathering to feast on the fruits of our labors. I can't wait to help a hurting loved one heal, and create a place where a connection to those who went before, is as palpable as the modern music playing on the iPod. I want to be in a proverbial montage of women standing over a pot of food, and adding flavor until their heart says..."they'll love that." I want to weave the backdrop for the moments when my grandchildren walk into cafe, somewhere in the world, on their travels, and are automatically transported to a moment...when they remember just how I looked when I helped them embrace a beautiful aspect of themselves, or realize something about life and understanding. I want to create the kind of reference that connects life today, to a point in the past...the kind of reference that helps bring about the realization of purpose...even years after the fact. I want the generations that come from me, to hear my voice speaking of their immense worth, as they sit over a bowl of soup, or pass by a beautiful vegetable garden. I want to create a place where people know they can go...and get fed...body and soul....I want to feed people.





Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seeing Him

I had a very profound experience with Jax, today. We were sitting on the couch, watching a program about how to prevent and survive different life-threatening scenarios. At that moment, there was a particular story about a man who ignited into flame, at a gas station, when he was filling up a gas can, and didn't follow the proper protocol to avoid static electricity. I don't shield my son from things that are ugly (as long as they aren't inappropriate), I just make sure to give him the truth about it, explaining to him how things can happen, and if I know how...how to avoid them. Well, during this segment, he was very quiet. I was telling Brandon about my very specific behaviors at the gas station, to avoid such situations, as most of the people who become fatalities of gas station static/vapor fires are women...because they reenter their cars more often during fueling.

{as women, we keep our credit cards in our purse, so we usually reenter the vehicle to put it back. DON'T DO THAT! Always just keep your card in your pocket, or if you aren't comfortable, make sure that you touch the metal part of your car, before heading back to the gas nozzle.}

A few minutes passed, and heard a little sniffle. I look down at Jaxen, sitting in the crook of my arm, and he says, in a teary voice, "Mom, I don't want you to do that." {chin quivering} I assured him that I am very safe when I pump gas, and that I always make sure and do the things I need to do, to make sure a fire doesn't happen. A couple of tears fell down his cheeks, as he says to me..."I want you AYIVE, mom!" (We're still working on the "L" sound:) He buried his face in my side, and I realized that there are some anxieties that he carries that he doesn't always share. In the past few months, he has experienced the passing of his grandpa, and his baby cousin, Evan. While he never knew either of them very intimately, he was still affected. It created questions in him.

He is at the age, that several details of his personality are beginning to emerge. When he is a little hurt...he'll make a little show of it, publicly. But, if he is really in pain, or really feeling badly, he hides from me. A couple of times, it's only been because I am like a hawk that I have even realized that he had been injured, because he just doesn't want to advertise it. I'll find him quietly suffering in another room, because for some reason, he doesn't want to say anything to me. I find it very strange, because we have never had a situation where he wasn't allowed to express anything...except for disrespect.

I'm taking all of these little instances to heart...because, I'm starting to realize that where he is very much an extrovert, there are specific things that he doesn't readily share...and, I will need to keep an eye out for his moments of reflection...always ready to read between his lines. I guess it shouldn't surprise me all that much...because, for a child that doesn't house his father's biology...he's a chip off the old block, sometimes. I certainly have never been covert with my emotions.

I am often taken aback by his beautiful depths. I am awed by his perceptions, by his understanding. I can't wait to hear the things he has to tell me. I can't wait to see the things he has to show me...often times about myself. What do we do, we parents, to be honored in the ways that we are with these excruciatingly amazing little people? Is anyone else as awed by their existence as I am? It blows my mind that this little person was just learning to roll over 3 1/2 years ago, and today, he's telling me, in his own words, of my value to him, and regaling me with tales of his conquering dinosaurs and showing me the royalty that lives deep in his spirit. I can't explain how grateful I am that I get to witness his life....

...it kind of makes me feel Ayive.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Me Mondays: Setting My Jaw

Okay...I have a new strategy for getting my blog done. My hope is to be able to write a post for every day...because for the past week and a half, I have been very sad. I've been neglecting what has become a huge part of my life, and I'm just not willing to let it go. I'm very, very happy doing this...I've put an enormous amount of energy into getting it to the small level that it is, and I simply refuse to stop, just because I'm working full time right now. Anyway - hopefully, this new strategy will work, and I will be able to fit blogging into the grind...or rather, as a respite from the grind. I know there will be a day, when I can make money doing this...I just know it.

That brings me to an interesting point. I think I may have turned a corner. I have started and stopped, tried and failed at several different things in my life...all my life. I actually think I lack the thought that I can do anything I set my mind to...so, I never actually set my mind to anything challenging. Well, when I started running 3 weeks ago...I got invested very quickly. I also got injured very quickly. It's very upsetting....I was on such a roll...being very faithful to do it every time I was scheduled, making great headway in a short time, and loving how efficiently my cardiovascular system was dominating my breathing...instead of the other way around. But, now.... My. leg. HURTS!! I tried over and again this past week to get back into the swing of things...however, I wasn't able. The pain is traveling from the outside of my knee to the inside...from back to front. Today, I was walking around Target, and the pain shot down the front of my shin. Here's the thing, though...I'm STILL not willing to give this up! That's weird for me. Usually, I'm secretly lying in wait for a reason to quit something that is hard for me. But, this time, I'm REALLY trying to find a reason to get back to the run. I am doing the elipse machine, and I'm going to do water this week...but, I keep looking at the treadmill, and feeling like something is beating me. The new twist is...I have this...BRING. IT. ON. feeling. I will find a way to get this thing back in order, and still find a way to do the things that I want to do. I'll get this knee healed up, because I am not going to let anything stand in my way, this time. I'm ready to fight...

This is my Goliath...my Everest. I, in no way, feel like I've got this in the bag...but, I DO feel like if I don't face the giant now...it may be the last time I back down. That pisses me off. I'm NOT going down this easy. Quitting can just bite me...


...because this time....I'll just bite back.

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