Welcome, 2011!

Wow. 2011 already.

I honestly feel like this past year has flown by. We’ve had some hard times and some great, but overall, I feel like 2010 was a hard, hard year.

But I don’t want to be someone who looks back and groans, shaking their head.

I want to be someone who looks to the future with their head held high and a smile on their face.

Here’s to 2011 – let’s hope it doesn’t suck!

I’m not really one for resolutions. In fact, I don’t have a terribly good track record for sticking to them, so I won’t make any of those. However, I do have a few goals that I’d like to flesh out here, hopefully meaning that I can look at them and assess how I’m doing throughout the year.

  1. Use as few chemicals as possible – both on my body and in my house. I got turned on to spotless by a friend and I love it! In fact, this website revolutionized my no-poo project and I’m back to fully no-poo. Yay! As a token of good faith, I used the last of my dishwasher soap on December 30th and ran my first load of chemical-free dishwashing this morning – they’re already put away and are squeaky clean :) I’m planning that when I run out of cleaning products, I’ll begin making what I need and I won’t buy more. That way, it won’t be in the house.
  2. Work toward becoming the kind of parent I know my kids need – this means more listening, more partnering, and more working on myself. I’ve had an introductory appointment with a counselor and I’m hoping that will help me move forward. I’m going to purchase and read Families Where Grace is in Place (Jeff VanVonderen), going to give Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves (Naomi Aldort) another read, and Brad and I are going to take at least one course in Non-Violent Communication.
  3. Deepen my faith – in a way that is authentically following Jesus. I’m hoping to talk to some people who are interested in the simple church movement and get my family involved in Christ’s body again.
  4. Re-discover what brings me joy – this is, I think, going to be the most difficult goal. Somewhere in the past few years, I’ve lost myself. In becoming a mother twice in such a short period of time, I’ve forgotten who I am and what I find fulfilling. Add to that the loss of the outward expression of my faith, the difficult times had within our immediate families, more job responsibility on Brad, and a head-strong toddler, and most days I’m not sure what end is up!

Four goals. I think I can do it. Cheer me on, peeps!

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Jesus is an attachment parent

I haven’t been in a great space lately. My head is swimming and I’m having a hard time getting coherent thoughts out – especially into blogland. It’s a combination of all sorts of things, but mostly, I think, a lot of growing pains.

This subject, though, is one that took me by surprise. It might be shocking to some of you that it’s been over 2 years since Brad and I have been to church with any regularity. We were part of a church that we loved and moved into an intentional community with people we felt drawn to and then, well … and then we had Gwen. She turned our entire church experience upside down and that, coupled with some other stuff, has left us not attending church regularly. That’s not to say that I don’t think about faith and God much – I do. I think about that stuff a LOT. But, sharing my space with a toddler and a (very busy) baby all day means that when I do think about anything, it’s gone just as quickly as it came.

Again, this subject just keeps coming to the front of my brain … and I thought, “Hey. Maybe I should blog about it.”

So, here I am. And here’s my crazy thought process. Read the rest of this entry »

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If it feels good, do it!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and not a lot of writing these days. It seems like mostly my brain is busy: not too busy to think, but too busy to get it out of my brain.

I’ve been dealing with a bit of depression, I think, which has been really hard for me. I’m normally a pretty up-beat, energetic, happy person and lately I’ve felt anything but those things. I haven’t been a good friend, I haven’t been a loving wife, and I’ve been a rotten mother. Somewhere in the last few months, I’ve lost my happy and it’s been replaced with sad, unhappy, frustrated, angry. I’ve been trying to eat better and keep on top of taking my supplements (vitamins and fish oils) and have noticed a bit of a difference. It also helps when I spend time with people.

Well. I wasn’t meaning to write that in this post, but there it is. I’ll now move on to what I was meaning to write about!

I was thinking today while I was putting together my lunch (leftover tacos, if you must know!). I’ve subscribed to The Daily Groove, a daily parenting email whose intent is to help you enjoy parenting. The author talks a lot about our ‘authentic selves’ and our ‘inner guidance’, or intuition. And he often writes about the ‘if it feels good, do it’ concept. I’ve struggled with the ‘if it feels good, do it’ concept for a long time. It seems hedonistic. It seems wrong when held up beside the Christian ideals of self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

But then I was thinking today:

Anger doesn’t feel good – love does. Hate doesn’t feel good – love does. Conflict doesn’t feel good – love does. Frustration doesn’t feel good – love does.

So when it comes down to it, love feels good. Jesus says ‘love’! Yes, we are asked to put ourselves last and others first, but if you’re not doing it for the right reason (LOVE), then it’s not going to feel good – it’s going to feel like martyrdom.

‘If it feels good, do it,’ in the context of hedonism, says, “I’ll do whatever I want! Screw everyone else! I don’t care if it hurts you – I want to do it and it feels good to me, and that’s all that matters!”.

‘If it feels good, do it,’ in the context of Christianity, says, “It doesn’t feel good to hurt others, so if I want to do something, I need to make sure that it’s not going to hurt someone else first. And I also need to make sure that I’m thinking this through to see if it’s still going to feel good after I’ve done it – guilt sure doesn’t feel good!”

I’m glad I’ve finally reconciled these two ideas in my head. ‘If it feels good, do it’ seems so biologically normal – eating, procreation, dancing, singing – that I was having a hard time with why Christians seem so against it. After all, don’t we all want to have more joy?

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The Parenting Golden Rule

I just stumbled across this (3 minute) excerpt from Jan Hunt’s The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart audiobook: The Parenting Golden Rule. I love that it describes common ‘discipline’ techniques as occurring between two people – a husband and wife. It really puts these methods into perspective!

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