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,

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 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!


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.


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