Thursday, November 7, 2013

Starting Over

I like fresh starts. I like the beginning of a school semester, opening a new notebook and the start of a new calendar year. I like moving into a new house, introducing myself to new kindred spirits and exploring new shops or towns.

Truth is, I tend to muddle things up and having a blank slate to start over helps me to reframe how to begin anew. "Failure" penned Henry Ford, "is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." I like that last part: more intelligently. It seems to acknowledge that the failure wasn't in vain -- something was learned. Something was experienced and through that, our vantage is differed and we're bettered.

I like to write. To pen my ideas and help clarify my mind. I think publishing on a public blog is a very interesting place to do that, but I often get caught in my changing voice. I look at previous posts and think, "did I really write that?!" My response to this, of course, is to begin again. Snag a new website, make a new background and launch again (I've certainly done this a number of times). The nature of maturation though, is that my thoughts and voice will change with time. If I didn't, I'm not learning. Perhaps that was the normative response in my twenties, but I'm realizing there is a permanence of my decisions now in my thirties: my husband, my children, my home. My home doesn't have a lease on it. It's mine. My signature was penned to the page that said I have 30 years to pay back the purchase price. A thirty year mortgage: that's my entire life all over again. In this house.

All that to say, I'm folding all my previous blogs into this site One place. One site where I can grow and mature as a writer and continue to improve my voice and learn from the world around me and the decisions I make and become increasingly better at being me, and loving myself in my own skin.

So, here's to continuing. To renewing a journey I've begun and paused many a time. To forging through my old voices and my old faces and embracing a new season where I can continue to learn and flourish. If I was waiting for perfect images to grace my page, a beautiful space or a schedule in which to write them or even something fantastically original in which to entertain you, I might be waiting awhile. Truth is, I write for me. And I look forward to sharing my life with you. Thanks for coming by.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hail Mary Cooking

I got the loveliest compliment the other day. Someone kindly commented that they thought my cooking was 'creative'. I thought this was especially nice since I have the same cooking ruts as anyone else and when I wake up in the morning before I think about organic gluten-free blueberry cornmeal pancakes or steamy hot muffins from the oven, I'm usually already munching on a very benign bowl of cereal with milk.

What I thought was most funny was that only five years ago when I first got married, I couldn't locate a can opener or figure out how to microwave pre-made rice. So, being labeled as creative was quite the improvement. I came from good stock though, my mom is an incredible cook (as most girls think of their moms) but I still laugh at my mom's horror stories about serving raw chicken or a whole artichoke when she first got married. It was always good consolation for me to know that if she improved that much that there was hope for me too.

I think one of the secrets of being a good cook/baker is knowing where to find a good recipe and the other would be using premium ingredients: fair-trade sugar, fresh-ground flour, farm fresh-picked organic produce and raw milk (and so forth).

But I'm a substitution cook. I rarely have all the ingredients I need, so I'm always swapping out things and putting my own little twist on things. For the most part, this usually works and I usually find great recipes that highlight wonderfully fabulous seasonal foods.

But I've had my flops: like homemade bread that came out without rising and was so dense it was only good for cutting up and making croutons or a chocolate cake I made with quinoa that my husband was too embarrassed to take out of the car to bring into the office.

So, one of my final big secrets is that I'm a hail-Mary cook. If dinner/dessert is just for me, I usually don't bother, but if I'm making something for someone else, in the middle of my mess in the kitchen I throw up a quick prayer:

"Lord, I'm trying to bless (so-and-so) and I would really like this (such-and-such) dish to turn out well so it won't be a distraction to our evening. Please let this come together beautifully. Amen."

And it usually does.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Lunch

If I ever went out with my family on a Sunday afternoon for lunch, I don't remember it.

For years, Dad was the pastor of a little church and he was nearly always the person who came in early to start up the boiler for heat in the winter and nearly always the person who locked the door after the last group of people walked out the door... and I was usually the child who elected to travel with Dad to church, which meant Sundays were long days. We'd take the lake route home and I'd tell him what I thought of the sermon and Mom would have lunch ready by the time we got home and got out of our church clothes. By this time, it was usually early afternoon and exhaustion had set in.

I grew up and I married the worship pastor of our church, we moved away and the cycle continued: we'd get to church early for set-up and practice and then we'd stay until the end of the second service for tear-down after people had all gone on their merry way. We'd head home together with our daughter: hungry and emotionally/physically/spiritually exhausted, with some lingering comment about the need to polish off homework in the afternoon.

Joshua is now on sabbatical from worship ministry as we wait for Baby Davis, and I'm loving it. Last week a couple of our neighbors invited us to a Tex-Mex restaurant and since we only spent 90 minutes at church, we had the energy and the ability to go to lunch. We had a blast: there was a kids table and an adults table and conversation was fun and free-flowing. It was nice.

This week we got to go again, this time: Chinese. Of course, there's little to eat at an American-Chinese restaurant when you eat a biblical diet, but it was so refreshing to have lunch with friends, to not have to make lunch or clean up and to feel like my only agenda is making my way back home and into bed for an afternoon siesta.

Is this what everyone else has been doing all these years on Sunday afternoon? What have I been missing?!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Honesty of a Pregnant Woman

In case you were wondering, it gets lonely.

As I get closer to meeting my second baby I'm realizing the amount of distance I put myself through in my drive to being "au naturel", "crunchy", or just plain different. I get tired so often being alone in my principles, alone in my viewpoints and alone listening to mainstream objections that I've long since decided to be ill-founded and wrongfully followed.

Sometimes I just want to let my hair down and say, "look, we're both two mamas, trying to do what's best..." or "hey, we both love life, let's just sit down and have a good time." But I feel like I always have to have my guard up, like people are constantly measuring my lifestyle, my conversation or my children against an invisible standard that's been set.

My daughter changed my life. Being pregnant with her opened me up to a whole new approach to life and thought. I went from "I'm so happy I'm like everyone else" to writing out our birthing philosophy which included home-birthing my 10 lb. girl who was 8 days past her due date. My pregnancy with Aoife challenged nearly everything I 'knew' and made me reconsider all the things I didn't. My life was radically changed by that pregnancy and by my incredibly wonderful birthing experience.

I remember the day I firmly but decidedly wrote out a public 'vow' that detailed out my end to being silent on the life choices I'd made for my family. That post led me down the pathway to eventually creating a whole separate website just on my lifestyle choices: home-birthing, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, non-vaccinating, baby wearing, organic eating, drinking raw goat's milk, and so forth. I wanted to address all those wonderful questions I was being fielded.

However, I feel myself being backed into a corner again... being set apart and turned aside for having different viewpoints, for standing on my own two feet, for researching something against the flow of mainstream society and deciding for myself a different path to take.

Truth is, I'd love to take another stance, make another vow and say, "I'm done. I'm different than you and I can handle it. I know my child is healthier and stronger and smarter for it and my lifestyle is creating a home environment that is positive and nurturing."

But the truth is, I'm tired. I'm more likely to nod my head in the presence of additional ludicrous challenges and to walk away when I'm too exhausted to listen anymore. I'm 37 weeks pregnant and I want rest. I want friendly conversation with people who will encourage me and befriend me, not hasten to hurt and challenge because they feel threatened by my choices.

I'm ready to meet my sweet baby and have you bring over dinner and hold him too. Want to hear about my waterbirth? I'm all for it. Want to just listen to my baby coo? That's even better. We'll listen to him coo while we eat something chocolate and delicious, since I do eat that stuff too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the simple woman's daybook

Outside my window... there is a thunderstorm, complete with lightning and sheets of rain, washing my Subaru that faithfully toted me in icy A/C to the farm today when it reached 108.

I am thinking... that all the thoughts that are presented to me when I'm driving out to my farm in nice little blogs are always forgotten when I sit down to type them out.

I am thankful for... a little foot feeling for the boundaries of his temporary home underneath my ribs.

From the kitchen... I walked into my dark kitchen, found a juicy plum drying on a kitchen linen and sunk my teeth in. No prep necessary.

I am wearing... non-maternity pajamas in a size I've never considered buying before. Cute orange and green gingham shorts with crocheted trim and a green tank.

I am creating... something handmade for my parent's anniversary gift.

I am going... to one day face my fears and blog about all the things I stand for but feel opposed on.

I am reading... Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read

I am praying... that God's sovereign timing reigns supreme with my delivery and my parents are en-route, my daughter is asleep or at the neighbors and my husband is at home.

I am hearing... the gentle whir of the filtration system on my birthing spa that is set up in (what used to be) my dining room.

Around the house... Aoife is asleep in her bed (on the floor next to my bed), Joshua is at the university library studying, my lists lay in a nice pile next to the computer and my water bottle lays in my lap.

One of my favorite things... is a clean kitchen at night with a long taper candle lit on the stove.

A few plans for the rest of the week... lunch with a girlfriend tomorrow, baking lemon poppy seed muffins for my new neighbors, a "stretching movie" (as Aoife calls yoga videos), a morning at the beach, and another opportunity for me to sing my "A-B-C-D-G"s with my daughter.