The State of Things

14 10 2011

I’m completely out of coffee this morning. My loving hubby has offered to run out and grab me a cup, so I’m waiting for him to finish his workout first. Hahaha. At least I can smile about that, right? I’ve been depressed for some time, as I made the decision not to go for that expensive BS in Alternative Medicine that holds no great promise for a job to pay back 60K in student loans. Smart – I know. So I didn’t register for classes; the summer was simply not enough time to sort it out, since I didn’t take summer off last year and so have not had a break from school through a run of semesters: Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring. Whew! What was I thinking?

I’m breaking now, though, like it or not! And I didn’t like it one bit, at first. After starting on some herbal therapy, though, I’m having a different outlook. I still am not sure of the path I’ll end up taking, but I feel better, and am looking forward to finishing some unfinished projects in the weeks to come.

Those few weeks of public school at the end of the last academic year didn’t scare my daughter into staying home one more year – not that I wanted it to scare her, really – just hoped it’d be less than she’d hoped. So she’s back in this fall, and I am all alone again…without classes for myself! It’s been very hard. I’ve continued with the belly dancing, missing class a few times when I was way in the dumps. I’ve taken a quilt-as-you-go class and finished a small lap quilt with a great deal of satisfaction. I’ve loved quilts for as long as I can remember, putting them together for my babies when they were small, from the directions in books and just my own common sense – no masterpieces in the small collection, but they hold memories for me and for the kids, and they love them, despite the fact that they don’t show great skill. I’ve learned some very useful things now, and have the resources to take classes, and of course there’s the internet with its video tutorials and such to turn to – so this go at learning to quilt should prove to build real skill if I work at it. And I think I will.

We’re watching our children suffer the harms of growing up, offering advice and lots of hugs, wishing we could just make it all go away. Sometimes I really can understand why people join these eccentric communes and alternative societies, because what they are searching for is truth in people and real community. That never turns out well, so I guess I’ll keep treading water in suburbia.

I’ve always been a great patriot, but as much as I try to deny it, there’s less and less to be patriotic about. It makes me sad, what America has sunken to. History in schools is certainly not the same history I taught my kids from home. Now they focus on whether Alexander the Great was homosexual, which presidents had STDs, and label the Sons of Liberty as terrorists. It truly makes me want to vomit. Americans today are always asking what their country can do for them. Parents don’t parent any more – they send the kids to school all day and put them in activities that use up every evening so they don’t have to parent; by the time the day is done, they just plop them in bed. No wonder todays kids are angry, confused and expect everything to revolve around them and life to be easy. To make matters worse, God, who offers refuge, love, and guidance, has been shoved into a nice little box so as to not make us feel guilty for our choices or afraid of the consequences of our actions. No wonder this country is spinning out of control, and on a downward spiral at the same time. Honestly, I do feel like I don’t even belong in this time. I know that technically, I do, because God put me here, but it is impossible even to try to witness to people these days – Christians cannot tell people the truth, not just because they don’t want to hear it, which has always been the case, but because now, they are actually accused of being judgmental and closed-minded. They don’t realize that these are not Christians’ opinions – they’re God’s!

I try not to get all worked up, but when my children are bullied or hurt because they are conscientious and my husband abused because he has a good work ethic and Christians are labeled as fanatics when they speak of Godly values, it just makes me angry. What’s wrong with people?

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Still Searching

19 05 2011

With the semester ended and both my precious children on the public school treadmill, I have found myself at  home alone most days.  I’m not really sure what to think of it, yet, because it is truly a new experience.  I grew up the oldest of four – in that situation, you are never alone.  I left my parents’ home entering into marriage, and so have never lived alone.  Before we had children, I worked or went to school most of the day, so I was not alone then, either, as my husband also returned home at the end of the day.  When my children grew to be school-aged, I educated them myself.  But now, for the first time in my life, I am spending considerable amounts of time alone.

I guess I’ve made it sound like a bad thing, but that’s not my intention or my feeling about it.  The quiet is nice, and the freedom to choose what I do with my daily hours is nice, but I have not yet taken advantage of that.  For now, I tend to the housework at a slower pace than before, and sprinkle in some reading, Facebook and silent reflection over too many cups of coffee in the morning.  It’s good to think.

I nay have changed my mind about college.  Over the last year of classes, I have realized that I don’t think I’d like working in a clinical setting with patients who have been referred to a dietician.  So I looked into nutrition…thinking that I’d have a bigger impact there.  If I don’t enjoy teaching students who do not love to learn, why would I want to teach adults how to eat if they don’t really want to change?  But my work options with that degree aren’t that exciting, either.  What the heck do I want?  I really need to know in order to choose a path, but the truth is that I just don’t know.

Some days, I dream of running a little shop that offers some food…I love to cook, and offers nutritional counseling…I’d love to make it easier to decipher the whole nutritional realm for clueless Americans who’ve been confused by fads and commercials for too long, and offers some classes…in maybe cooking, nutrition, belly dancing, different kinds of art….  Isn’t that funny?  I’ve never heard of such a place, but all the things I love to do under one roof for others to discover, enjoy, and pay me to do them just sounds great!  Hahaha.  We all have a dream, right?

I’m looking also at a degree in Alternative Medicine.  It’s new, and so I’m not really grasping the work possibilities with such a degree, but the course list is the most interesting one I have ever seen.  Herbology, Nutrition and Aging, Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Chiropractic, Stress Reduction, Dietary Influences on Disease, Naturopathy, Antioxidants, Detoxification…the list goes on.  What I am not sure about is what exactly I could do with it.  I am told that I’d have many options – that I could work at wellness centers, alternative medicine practices, spas and health centers, or continue my education to specialize in any of the disciplines and work for myself.  But I guess I’m afraid that those places are limited in number, and certainly not sure I want to obligate myself to continue beyond a Bachelor’s Degree.  Besides, I don’t know how much interest I really have in these things, and there’s really no way to know until you get to a point with it where you are either engrossed and desiring to know more, or getting glazed over with the feeling that you know enough to feel sure that you don’t want to know more.  What to do?

There are those days when I wonder why I am going to school at all.  I believe we should always try to better ourselves.  I am not convinced that formal education is the best way to do that – but what are my alternatives?  I guess I don’t know.

Several months ago, a friend invited me to try a belly dancing class.  I reluctantly agreed, and I have to say that it has been one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.  It is the new-found acceptance of myself and a renewed unapologetic declaration of  my views within myself that is making me spend so much time thinking.  I know what I think; I just don’t know what to do with it, yet.  It seems to me that I have always been unconventional – whether I was comfortable being so or not.  I am more in tune to that now than I have ever been, and for now, at least, I feel that I am completely over being uncomfortable with it.

I am very interested in natural approaches to wellness and healing, and a better way of living than the state of hurried, frazzled, stressed, non-stop lifestyle that most Americans find themselves in.  I have lived and experienced enough to know that we should slow down, foster relationships with those around us, as well as with our Creator, listen to our bodies, pace ourselves and prioritize.  But do I feel passionately about helping others learn to do that?  I’m just at the edge of discovering how to do so for myself.  Is the fact that it’s all new what makes it so interesting?  I just don’t know.

I took an extensive spiritual gifts survey through our church, and it indicated that my natural God-given gifts were for teaching and serving.  No big surprise to me or to those closest to me – but what I can do with those encompasses the world, it seems.  I can certainly narrow that down into the things that God would want people to learn, though – and a lot fits into that as well.  I believe that if we pray for our desires to become His, which I have done for years, that He will give us passions that line up with His plans for us.  And so, I shouldn’t feel so mixed up, I guess.  Then why do I?

Fear.  I am afraid of the debt I will acquire to educate myself.  I am afraid of being in a position in which I have to work to pay the debt, when as of now, work is a choice (that most people around me tell me they wish they had).  I am afraid I will not find work in the field, that I will not enjoy the work once I find it, or that I will get partially through the education and lose interest.  I don’t know exactly how many times in the Bible that God tells us not to fear, but it is many.  I just don’t trust myself.  And so I waver constantly.





A New Phase of Life

18 04 2011

I suppose I must consider it growth that I started a blog and did not allow myself to feel burdened by obligation to post regularly.  Although these things are always self-imposed, it is strangely difficult to release myself from them once I start something.  Hobbies become chores, because I apply some sort of weird notion of responsibility toward them rendering them less enjoyable.  I don’t wish to delve into why I have developed in such a way – I just want to change.

And so I am.  Gradually, and not in all areas, but I am beginning to enjoy things just for the enjoyment of them, without attaching strings.  Progress.  I think it all started when I took on more than I could juggle, mentally, and balls began to drop.  When the initial fear and disappointment dissipated, I felt tremendous relief, and then I began to simply throw them.  It was hard, in moments of calm, as guilt about letting someone down tried to creep in, but the truth is that I was so overwhelmed that for the first time, the need to simplify my life was greater than any reasoning that supported continued juggling.  But what to put on the now nearly empty proverbial plate?  That was the question – and it remains not fully answered.

Homeschooling one child was the only thing I was still doing.  And homeschooling a middle-school aged child is not exactly time-absorbing.  She worked independently for the most part, which is the goal by that age.  I was able to keep the house clean and the laundry done, read for pleasure, and piddle with other interests.  And I began to feel restless.  I thought volunteer interests could be the answer, but when my daughter became less interested in Girl Scouts than I, we had a problem.  Another problem was that what I really wanted was to be a girl scout myself, not do all the planning and paperwork.  I taught a small group at children’s church – but that was not the answer, either.  Studying the lesson took longer than the short time I got with the kids – and my nature just put me in the position to take other leaders’ kids into my fold whenever one didn’t show up…which, unfortunately was often.  It’s not that I minded the extra kids, but the idea of these small groups was to foster close relationships -which was near impossible when the group so often changed.

Extra time on my hands allowed me to take better care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally.  It was a good time, really, beneath the surface stress of not knowing what I would commit myself to.  I lost weight, I enjoyed the pleasure of cooking healthy, consistent meals for my family, I had time to read (the only hobby I have ever not turned into a chore).  I got interested in what it means to be healthy – no doubt because I felt better physically than I had in years.  This found me trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do to control my blood pressure without the meds that make me tired.  And when my potassium plummeted a few times, what other than a potassium supplement could be done.  And so nutrition naturally became a real interest.

What did I do with the revelation that I was really interested in something beyond the interest that others around me had?  I enrolled in school full-time to become a Registered Dietician.  I had found my post-mommy calling.  <smiling at myself and shaking head>   Once again, I made an interest into work.  Will I ever learn?





Chasing the Bandwagon

13 02 2010

Eight years ago, I was 35 pounds lighter.  I gained it back gradually and then again, a couple of years ago, I lost 30 pounds.  As if it had a mission, it has literally hunted me down and attached itself to unsuspecting body parts that I suppose are just too darn familiar!  I have got to get it back off for good.  No more diets.  I have made enough healthy changes in our family’s lifestyle in the last several years, that it is very doable if I can just prioritize that treadmill.

During the week, it is hard, because there’s homeschool, college, and just household duties and errands.  On the weekends, there’s no homeschool, but there’s volunteer work, meal planning and grocery shopping and playing catch up with laundry and  housework, along with the fact that college can’t be ignored on the weekends because there’s too much of it, and sometimes we have houseguests.  But I have got to make it a priority – that’s really just my problem.  I have done it before, and I can do it again.  I was running daily at one point, for months, while homeschooling two children and volunteering much more than I am now, so the time has to be in there somewhere…it’s probably in that cup of coffee I drink as soon as my feet can carry me from bed to coffee pot.  When I was running, I gave it up in exchange for exercise and enjoyed coffee in the late morning or early afternoon when I was feeling a bit tired.  That worked (but it was hard to do at first).

So I’m going to  have to try to re-prioritize exercise nearer the top of the list.  I have made my declaration.





Life and Jelly

9 09 2009

Why is it that there can be so much going on in my head, but when I place my fingers on the keyboard they sit motionless while I struggle?  I suppose it’s just hard to know where to start sometimes…

“What have I been up to?” you ask.  Ok, so you haven’t ask, but for posterity’s sake, let’s pretend.  I need someone to ask today, and since there’s no one around, I shall indulge myself in imaginings 🙂

I’ve been up to lots of things.  I’ve been trying to be a full-time teacher to my sixth-grade daughter, for one.  I have found it easy, as a home educator, to leave my children on auto-pilot for a few hours each day, while I keep other responsibilities under control, but I’ve discovered that this approach doesn’t work quite so well with this child as it did with the first.  Siblings can be so different!  That’s another conversation entirely, and I’ll stay on the current one.  Staying near my daughter as she works, being available to answer questions (she won’t search the house for me like her brother did), asking about her progress regularly (to inhibit daydreaming – or whatever it is her mind turns to), and moving her from one task to another (to eliminate the time wasted when she fails to come to me when she has completed what I have given her) is sooooooo difficult some days!  In case you haven’t concluded so yet, today was one of those days.  By the time we finished the school day, it was 4:50, and I truly thought I would implode before dinner was cooked.  Some momma-chosen tunes and self-control, along with the cooking assistance and companionship offered by my love helped put out the fuse!

I’ve really slowed down in the hobby area, simply because of the lack of time.  I’ve set up and made only a handful of postcard trades since school began a month ago, and letterboxing was completely ignored  through the entire summer (although I did think about it many times).  Hiking is not happening, either, but I have probably spent more time dreaming/planning about where and when I can hike than any other single pleasurable think I have been able to allow my brain to escape to these last few weeks.

My mom and niece came for a visit over the weekend, and it so happens that I had been planning to make apple jelly on Labor Day for two weeks.  My daughter expressed a desire to know how jelly was made, and see the process, so the homeschooler in me delighted at the chance to indulge her curiosity and delight in her eagerness to learn something new, and I forged ahead with it!  Although my mom had made jelly many times when I was growing up, I don’t remember ever helping past the point of helping gather the fruit,  so I had no experience making jelly from fruit.  In college, I made jelly from canned fruit juice once, but that was the extent of my experience with jelly-making.  So, I became excited easily about the prospect of going through the entire process using fresh apples from a local orchard.  That my mom just happened to be here to see the process along and share in the fun, was just perfect.  The jelly turned out great, it is delicious, and though not a requirement, it is  absolutely gorgeous!   But out of the whole experience, I was most excited to learn that you don’t have to have whole apples to make apple jelly.  It may not be a surprise to you, but I was elated to learn that all you need to make apple jelly are the apple scraps!!  The cores and peelings alone result in wonderfully tasting, beautifully colored jelly!  The first batch we made was made from whole apples,  We left on the peels, but tossed the cores and the result was a very flavorful, light peachy-pink jelly, perfect in sweetness.  When I looked at the huge bowl of apples remaining and began to discuss making another batch with my mom, she suggested that I freeze or dry some of the apples for other uses, since there were really enough apples left for two more batches.  It was during this discussion that she revealed that all we needed were the scraps from the apples we  would freeze or dry to make another batch of jelly.  I couldn’t believe it at first, and then it sunk in as we discussed the ‘old way’ and how it would never have allowed for the ‘waste’ of good fruit just for jelly.  True.  And I couldn’t wait to try it.  I am still ecstatic with the result 🙂  And I still think it’s so cool that you can make lovely, sweet, scrumptious jelly from the parts I usually throw away!!!  And to make my new knowledge even more amazing, the ‘scrap’ jelly is much deeper in color – never again will I think of peelings and cores as garbage!

Check out the difference in the color…(the taste is pretty much the same, I think, but my tastes of each weren’t within moments of one another, so there could be a slight difference).

Apple Jelly  Apple Jelly

This jelly still needs a name.  I just haven’t been able to come up with something creative enough – it’s one of those “I’ll know it when I hear it” sort of things…suggestions are very welcome!!

In case it helps, the apples used were Empire, Jonathon, and Cortland.  “Think, think, think.” says Pooh.  😉

We also canned two whole pints (hee-hee) of the jalapenos growing so well in the garden.  I promised you pictures when it was all in full green…sorry about that; I never took photos and now it’s in that not-so-lovely stage, where the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes and bell peppers, some scallions and herbs are still green and producing, but mostly just the jalapenos are thriving!!  Maybe I’ll get pictures during it’s peak next year. 

I’m also getting ready to start back volunteering in the children’s ministry at church.  Not writing for them as I had hoped, but God has other plans for my writing 🙂  I’ll be teaching Kindergarten boys – such cute little bottles of energy and curiosity, and I am very excited about it and implementing the changes that have been made in the progression of the hour we have them.  I am working on a postcard-sized newsletter to send home weekly to update the parents on what their boys are learning and encouraging them to help reinforce it at home.  I need a few creative group activities to use with them in a whole-family group setting, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, they are welcome!

Even though the preceding barely touches the surface in attempt to tell you what I’ve been up to, I’ve sat still long enough and have to move on to something else.





Global Warming? Yeah, right!

16 06 2009

We could use some of that “Global Warming” the crazies are talking about 🙂  This is the lousiest excuse for June in Kentucky that I have ever experienced!  It is NOT even hot…what’s up with that?  Pool parties are being rescheduled because it isn’t warm enough to swim…IN JUNE!!!

It’s very frustrating to one who has been pining for summer to get here!  We’re going to have to move south if this is any indication of what a “warming planet” does!  Frankly, I don’t think those guys have a clue about what the planet is doing. 

Subject change.

We’ve been FINALLY “officially” finished with school for four days now, and it still just doesn’t feel like summer break.  I’m not just referring to the weather (that isn’t helping, of course), but to my state of mind.  I guess I’ve been in fast-forward for so long…and there are just still lots of things that I have to do that feel like work, I guess.  The Girl Scout troop that is disbanding will be running through the summer, and I’ve been busy tying up those loose ends.  We’ve got four girls working on their Bronze Award Project, and a big trip planned for the end of next month, and a pool party to try to squeeze in (if we have a warm enough day without rain).  I’ve also been cleaning out closets, cabinets, drawers and bookshelves for a long overdue yard sale.  We spent most of last Saturday cleaning out the garage for that, too.  I’ll be glad when that is over and the big piles of stuff that are all over the house and in the garage are gone, and a bit of cash in hand takes its place.  I’m just having trouble mustering up that last measure of motivation needed to prepare for the sale this weekend…cleaning out some more spaces, making the kids clean out their spaces, picking up some boxes to display things like books in, organizing the sale stuff, putting an ad in the paper, picking up some signs…

<sigh>  Some sunshine would help.  I know it would.  I could use sitting in it on the patio as a reward for myself after getting some of this done.  (I know, I could use the lack of sunshine as good time to do these things while not having to feel like I’m missing out on the sunshine while I work – but that’s just not the way my brain works!)

I also acquired a new computer last week, and I’ve got all the file moving to complete, iTunes to organize, and upgraded software to get used to.  Where did that ability to “go up a folder” by clicking that little up arrow disappear to??  I have to use the back arrow!  Either they are wrong in thinking that’s an improvement, or I’m missing the better way they expect me to do it somehow…





Country Girl Making Due in the ‘Burbs

23 03 2009

Project garden has been underway around here…Obama’s stimulus showed up on dh’s paycheck, and alas…it won’t be enough to allow us to buy some acreage.  It did pay for a can of stain for the cedar planters I lucked up on last week.  Next week’s will cover the second can I had to buy when one wasn’t enough to do the job. LOL  Ok – that’s enough, I know …”Nobody likes a smartass.”

My neat little home for veggies and herbs (’cause my dh didn’t want “to have to weed-eat around anything else!”:

102_3535

As-purchased, without the roof

I found two of these covered sandboxes at the local garden center.  I just happened to walk up and show interest in using one as a planter (hadn’t looked at the price tag yet), when one of the employees said his job today was to break them down to be sold as planters, because the pulley system to raise and lower the roofs were broken and they weren’t drumming up any interest as clearanced sandboxes as-is.  After speaking with the owner, he offered me a very good deal if I bought two, because they really needed them out of the way for new spring stuff.  I ran home and measured my space, because I wasn’t sure if they’d take up the whole back yard…and I needed to have a phone conference with my honey over the deal.  They fit, and hubby approved, so I headed back to the garden center to pay for them and arrange to pick them up when my honey got home from work with the truck.  As I was excitedly paying for the two veggie homes, the guy who made me the deal walked up and said he’d found a third in the back and that I could have the three for even less each.  My mind was reeling with whether or not they’d even fit in the yard, whether the money was even in the checking account, and thinking quickly, I asked if I could have the same deal if I paid for two now and came back for the third before they closed that day.  He hesitated, then agreed.  He then offered to follow me home to deliver them – for free – because he really needed them out of the way.  Of course, I didn’t argue with that!  And after measuring and consulting with my dh when he got home, we went back and bought the third for less than a nice dinner out 🙂
After staining and placement

After staining and placement

I’ll post more pics later.  I’ve already planted some herbs and seeds, and still have a few places to touch up with stain, plastic corners to put back on (after having spray-painted them tan – they were primary colors).  They look very nice and will provide some growing fun and of course, the satisfaction of plucking something I’ve grown for my family to eat.  The roofs have a green tarp over a cedar frame, and will eventually be stained and have clear plastic instead of green tarp – but I want to do some research first to see if it’s worth it.  I don’t know much about coldframes and hotbeds and such…and don’t even know which is which.  I only know that right now the roofs will serve to protect from frost on nights when it is still possible.

In letterboxing news, a most frustrating situation has materialized.  I’ve been working on a set of 9 themed boxes for months.  Seven are planted, one is waiting to be planted (because the building on the plant site is undergoing renovations and I simply can’t plant until that is done), and the last one is nearly complete.  I recently got an “attempted” message on one of the plants – which could usually mean that the box may be lost…but this one was inside a building, inside a case that only employees can access, and was enthusiastically placed there by the owner.  So, of course, I had to go there and see what is going on!  An employee informed me that it was removed because “it didn’t receive enough traffic” – which I didn’t promise loads of!  Since the owner was not there, I left a message and am hoping with all my heart that they didn’t just throw the box away.  Surely not!  But it is difficult to think of much else until I hear from him.

<Deep sigh>  It was one of my favorite boxes.

The dryer is beeping at me.  And it is time to get the potato salad fixed so it’ll have time to chill before dinner.

Hasta luego.