Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I choose growth. What will you choose?

 "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."   
~John C. Maxwell 

5 Life Lessons from Dr. Seuss

When Joel and I set goals for ourselves and our family - we in no way intend for these goals to hurt other people. However, we can't spend our lives worrying about who might take our priorities personally. Numbers 3 and 4 above really speak to this. Often times, people are so fearful of change, that they get stuck in a rut. I refuse to allow myself to be stuck in a rut... Especially if it's because other people react strangely or negatively when I am motivated to pursue the necessary change!
Here is my FB post - which has received 15 "likes" thus far, among other positive commentary: 
"Starting a new family tradition for Christmas Eve - Just the 4 of us... Fireside, Christmas music playing, games, books (The Night Before Christmas, anyone?), candles, twinkling lights, Wine, hot cocoa for the girls, and just being together. And I make no apologies nor do I feel guilty about it! Haven't been this excited for Jesus' birthday in a number of years. Merry Christmas!"

In describing our new traditions for Christmas to the extended family (and some close friends) - and creating some new traditions with said family in that process - here are the responses I received:
#1) "Yes. You have your own family now, and you need to enjoy this time with your little girls."  ~Friend
#2) "I guess we won't see you or your brother on Christmas Eve this year.... New traditions and all..." ~Family member
#3) "AH! We did that exact kind of thing every year growing up... I absolutely loved it. Some of my favorite memories of Christmas..." ~ Friend - (whose mother passed away while my friend was quite young; These are fond memories with her mother! We are not promised tomorrow!)
#4) "Good for you, D... You gotta follow your heart!" ~Friend
#5) (After suggesting, twice, that we meet with this group for gifts for the little girls prior to other plans in order to prevent it from getting too late for our very young children who require a scheduled sleeping pattern to function properly and avoid manic melt-downs and further illnesses...) "Or why don't we just send them [gifts] home with you and you can have them under the tree for Christmas eve....I guess we've seen them open gifts on Christmas before.  We sure wouldn't want them to be too tired for Christmas. I guess what ever you feel is better and I can always send cheesecake home with you to enjoy later..." ~Family member
#6) Lastly, My FAVE! "Sounds like a lovely new tradition. I'm just glad I'll get to have all of you here together on Christmas day then!" ~Family member!! (Yay! 1 for 3 on the fam-spectrum)

And hence, the struggles that accompany change AND growth. Attempted manipulation, guilt-trips, and other jabs... But alas, Joel and I had decided that something needed to change - and we really wanted to make sure Christmas had meaning for us and the girls. Rather than being bound by outdated 'traditions' that capitalized on the commercialism of it all, we want to create real, cozy, family-oriented, real-meaning-of-it-all, truly happy with no awkward anomosity, expectations or other negative influences, down-home memories!  Sure, the fams got together - but then we were also running around from place to place, trying to please everyone, enduring some unpleasant things in amongst the enjoyment of family - ultimately exhausted & unfulfilled ourselves. And so - we are growing, as we make changes that have been prompted in our hearts. Here's hoping some of the folks on my list can also learn how to grow as they accept the changes that other grown adults in their lives will inevitably make, based on their priorities and what holds meaning for them in life. Our families - the people who make up our family, that is - do hold meaning in our hearts; We are, in fact, gathering with all of them (and then some) for the holiday festivities!! Now, we simply spread things out, and enjoy Christmas the way we desire in there as well. To me, seems like a win-win-win! Christmas is spent with one side on an afternoon of the weekend prior or following - with a new restaurant to try out each year! For the other side, a Christmas Day dinner - where each smaller family-unit will be able to be present at the same time! In between - we visit a place of worship, and then enjoy the warmth that only home can provide, while reveling in the joy of this occasion! AMEN!

TIP: A tiny little thing called compromise, or meeting in the middle, can often breed happiness for all involved. If only we could all think like this more often!! 
A QUOTE: "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." ~Roy L. Smith
WHIDFML: BEGAN to instate my FAVORITE-EVER New Year's Resolutions! A) I will no longer allow moments to pass me by/ potentially regret a decision over the possibility of another's negative reaction to my choices/ or their weirdness/ being stuck in their own habbits. B) I will no longer allow the negativity of others to influence ME negatively. There is a difference between caring about loved ones, and no longer caring about what they THINK of me/ how they may judge me (particularly since they should be the last ones to judge their own family), based on my personal priorities in life. Refer to #4 under Dr. Seuss! C) Even when life gets frustrating - remember it's all going to be just fine, and remain calm, and stay POSITIVE. D) Last but not least - BE KIND. ALWAYS. Let in the people trying to move over into my lane. Allow the person behind me in line with 2 little items go ahead. Think more about WWJD... Just represent the change I want to see in the world; (No more of this "Me, me, me... gotta get ahead. I don't care who I 'run over'! More kindness, more realizing we're all just people... and we all are struggling with something.) 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High on a Mountain Top...

"High on a mountain top, we live, we love, we laugh a lot. Folks up here know what they've got, high on a mountain top... I ain't comin' down, no never, I'm not... High on a mountain top..."
Loretta Lynn - High on a Mountain Top

This has meaning for me figuratively, since I don't actually live on a mountain top... 
Living for love... Living for joy.... Living for each other... Living for what really matters! And that keeps me 'up' - happy... and I ain't comin' down no, never I'm not!
Started to (unwittingly) allow some external 'forces' affect me & my sense of what matters... Caught myself slipping - figured it out & made amends with myself & remembered I don't have to justify what I prioritize in my life... But I'm back on top of my mountain again!

In line with that, and my own Christmas ideals (Our Christmas this year, per a previous post)
- a SPECTACULAR write-up from my fave mommy-blogger, Glennon Melton:

I'd move to the mountains any day :) 

A quote: "It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute... that gives meaning to our lives. " ~Tony Robbins
WHIDFML: Limited the shopping this year, and completed it here at the computer desk, wine in hand, Christmas music playing, candles glowing, and children all nestled snug in their beds....  


I was moved today - and I put into motion my emotion as I recognized how God is moving in my life. I was at the counter preparing my 'wing-it-night' meal, while the girls were seated at the small kitchen table for 2, having just finished theirs. They were playing so sweetly across the table with a toy or two - giggling away, and just being their sweet selves - (you know, the versions-of-self that emerge when there is no 'wanting', no 'but what ifs' and no overtired crabbiness taking over....) It was another moment of Kairos. Little giggles, amid the festive Christmas music, and a day of zen - and I got caught up in an emotional moment - holding back tears so the girls wouldn't think something was WRONG during this in-the-now wrinkle in time.
Without much more thought, I swooped little Addie up and sat her upon the table saying, "Don't ever sit on the table, it'll fall over and you'll get hurt." As I pulled her close to Myla seated at the other side, and wrapped them both in my arms, Addie gave me her "Um - MOM!" look, as she informed me, "Uh... I AM sitting on the table...." (complete with a knowing head-tilt bearing some "I just though YOU outta know" flair.) "I know - but I'm holding you. Don't ever do it again though." (Teehee.) I squeezed them both as I told them how much I love them and daddy, and how happy I am to have them in my life, and thrilled that God gave them to me. They snuzzled-in, rubbing those soft cheeks & little noses against my own, as we all just stopped what we were doing, and held each other. LOVE. As much as I like to believe it's a moment I'll never forget - realistically - it'll become buried deeper beneath the continual ebb & flow of life's commitments, goals, and other business, and the details might become foggy. Hence - e-diary to the rescue :)
I want them to KNOW... REALLY know - what they mean to me. I hope I show it on a regular basis - but at least I took an opp to put it into words as well. I hope THEY will always remember~

TIP: Training my brain (STILL) to be more in the here & now, and less in the "what do I have to remember to do?" mode of thinking... Keep training. It'll never be perfect - but it'll keep getting better. :)
A Quote: “There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” ~ Jill Churchill 
WHIDFML: Let go of some things... Found a greater sense of inner peace again, and have taken that and am RUNNING! ;)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ages & Stages

I had a light-bulb moment recently - when I realized how AWESOME this stage in our lives is right NOW. Wheeeeeee! Okay - life with kids - is just that. There are always things going on... Always unexpected 'emergencies' that come out of nowhere... And of course, let's not forget that they still eat up a lot of room in the old noggin - which I still blame for my brain's lacking ability to retain information and have it at-the-ready on a still-far-too-regular basis. 

Among all of the chaos of an utterly busy (yet fun) whirlwind of a summer, I'd finally had a moment to contemplate a couple of poignant occurrences that took place during said season. Two things stand out: #1) Our longest road-trip with the girls so far - and - - - NO crying en route! We explored more than we could have dreamed!! #2) Undeniably huge MN State Fair success! We literally got in EVERY item to see/ do/ explore/ experience that was on our list (and then some, including a bit of time left to just me and the beau the preceding day!) Not only that - but we managed to accomplish this feat on a SATURDAY - - - WOW! Not too shabby if I do say so myself :) 

This is fab! These girls are learning & growing by the minute... They are still little and sweet and oh so innocent. (Read: Fun!) And yet - they are more independent, and are beginning to really grasp a greater range of conceptual information - leading to much more mellow and enjoyable experiences overall. Woot! I can't complain. I see other fams in the earlier stages that we've waded our way through over time ourselves; I know it's just 'their time'... their place of transition for the moment... But I'm so glad I'm into this next realm. I love my girls - and have adored them during all stages (yes, even the frustrating ones.) But there is something to be said for this age & stage, and I'm going to soak it up!! (Before they are teenagers.)

TIP: Revel a little. :)
A Quote: “The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.”
~ Madeleine L'Engle
WHIDFML: Laughed with a good friend - at a comedy club - in the middle of the week! :) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kids - Helping to Maintain that PERSPECTIVE

So - - all this Christmas talk, and I was feeling weighed-down a bit by the need to 'make a decision'. Not sure why the urgency. I mean, it's September. Perhaps this was due to the fact that we were considering a stay somewhere that would require advanced reservations... Yep. Pretty sure that was it. While this may very well be something to continue contemplating for future years,  I had an overwhelming desire to just be HOME for that peaceful celebration this season. So - we're in the vehicle and I'm describing my ideal scenario to Joel - with little ears listening intently from the back seat... 
"Okay - when I think about the perfect, mellow Christmas Eve, I envision a glowing fire in the fireplace, lights twinkling on the Christmas tree(s) (we have 3!), candles flickering and filling the room with a calming aroma, Christmas music playing, some games played with the girls, and reading some Christmas stories - including "The Night Before Christmas"... and just BEING. You know - laughing, having fun, a little dancing & singing if so inspired, and reveling in some family bonding time." At this time I looked over at Joel and asked, "What do you think?!" 
Before he could answer, Myla spoke up from the back seat - clapping excitedly, with grinning eyes, "That sounds just PERFECT, mommy!" God, I love that kid! I peeked around my seat to Addie, and when our eyes met, I knew that she, too, concurred with this serene concept of a Christmas Eve that will be remembered fondly for years to come. Super-love that kid too! :)
Joel finally got his say in this (after all of the estrogen beat him to the punch) - and he smiled with enthusiasm too. "Sounds great to me!" 

That settles it! 
We'll be planning some gatherings with the ext-fams the weekend prior, for sure. Regardless of when - it isn't about avoiding family - but creating new traditions with our immediate family that are embedded in our values and our desires for embracing greater meaning during the celebration that gives greater meaning to this very time of year. We have to continue to live according to what has inherent meaning for us - regardless of past traditions. No more feeling like Clark Griswold as he revs up his chainsaw with crazy-eyes to cut down the pine tree in the front yard, determined to make his Christmas COUNT! - CHEERS!

TIP: Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year! That means - the weekend prior is wide-open for other gatherings. Make it work to your benefit! This so fits in line with my 'movement to mellow'. 
A QUOTE: "Well I'm gonna park the cars and check the luggage, and well, I'll be outside for the season." ~Clark Griswold, in "Christmas Vacation" 
WHIDFML: Took a much-needed mommy break. I'm not that into "Opener". I like to hunt, with my beau, and in a mellow-fashion... (Our lives don't depend on acquiring this meat!) I also happen to love the evenings & sunset... Not much of a morning-person. AT. ALL. The boys hunted, the girls played with Grandma & Grandpa, and mommy - stayed in her jammies ALL DAY :) Monumental. 

Life Lessons~

So - - - sometimes life's lessons aren't readily understood - at which point they are forced onto us via, typically, unpleasant circumstances. I'm not going into detail about my recent lesson's manifestation. However, I'm realizing that I had many lessons in one - related to one (largely-small?) incident. 

A) SLOW down. It was that nagging reminder (um, neon sign, which I DID - in fact - request in recent prayers). Since I wasn't listening to other smaller promptings, I guess this was the neon I was looking for (Not exactly what I had in mind??)...  I want to spend more time actually enjoying and LIVING life - and a little less time letting it be all-consuming in a too-busy kind of way... Less energy spent on giving-in to society's expectations, and more time spent upholding my own expectations.

B) Stay positive. Er... focus on the good, seek the lesson or other value in the 'bad', and recognize that it's all temporary anyway! All things = a reason.

C) Listen to my gut. Just quiet the mind, and LISTEN, damn it.

D) KEEP the FAITH. TRUST! (I've written about this 'trusting' thing once before.) Sometimes it's easy to get caught-up in what life throws atcha - and I'm reminded not to allow it to bring me down... but rather - to slow me down, and leave the rest up to G.O.D. He happened to literally whisk me out of a potentially very difficult situation - just like that! {Kudos, Big Guy}

E) Humanity isn't as bad as it seems! There are still understanding, compassionate, live-and-let-live, community-driven, genuinely considerate & caring people out there. "Love is PATIENT"... (Which brings us back to letter A, above; What do ya know? It all ties together.)

 F) View the world with compassion, love, and understanding, and you can avoid unnecessary stress right there. 

WOWZA! Amen.

TIP: See A through F above...
A QUOTE: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ~Plato
WHIDFML: Beautiful Fall-evening river-walk with the whole fam in tow! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SPEAKING of Peace...

I got to SPEAK mine recently - though by speak, I mean write! Gah - I wish I'd have more nerve to speak up in crowds to get the PROPER words across when it comes to topics I'm so impassioned about... In this case - it was regarding the food industry, and the conventional farmers' ploys to convince the public that there are "misconceptions" about our food sources. Yes. Sadly - there are many misconceptions. Once something gets 'leaked to the public' it creates consumer awareness, uproar, and demand - for change/ betterment/ choice. Then undoubtedly - the at-fault parties and their dollar-protecting organizations begin to negate any negative impacts on humans. (Think cigarettes, rBST, BPA, etc, etc!) Finally - enough knowledge circulates, and enough demand for what's RIGHT overcomes the demand for the damaged goods - and the companies are forced to produce what consumers actually WANT, if they wish to avoid going under. All this - only after their attempts to confuse the public and convince them that they've done no 'harm'.
Let me just say - that while I get all nervous, tense, and shaky with public speaking - I'm an avid writer... and I've done a lot since this interaction to help spread the RIGHT word about where our food is coming from - to all of my social networking 'buds'! Maybe this is why these things come my way?? I feel called into this more and more~

First - the organization invited me to a free dinner. Red flag #1. Their vague invite included some wording to the effect of 'open conversations about how our food gets to our forks, between women who farm, and women who purchase the produce..." Hmmmm. I'm definitely into REAL food and all things related... I'm thinking - this could be another learning opp! Once I did my research (which I've gotten pretty darn good at over the years. We have to be vigilant about digging deeper into these confusing subjects, to weed out the facts from the pre-paid-propaganda) -I realized this was a sorry attempt by an organization designed to protect the profitability of the conventional farmhands to mislead consumers - touting conventionally farmed and GMO produce as "safe" and "no different from" organic and sustainably produced goods. Hmmmmm once again.... only with a different tone. Funny how these things come out in waves just prior to our country's attempt at finally signing into law a GMO labeling standard to keep consumers AWARE, and give them a CHOICE!

There MAY just be a bit of uncertainty surrounding the subject of determining whether there are any scientifically evidenced, profound differences in nutritional values between organic and conventional goods. However, this is the one and ONLY possible aspect anyone can doubt when it comes to our foods. The rest is purely common sense - and it also happens to be backed up by facts put out by numerous independent parties - whose primary goals include the protection of people and the planet (rather than the profits of businesses.) All of this information remains consistent across the board as well. This makes it difficult, at best, to deny such facts - but those who succumb to the convoluted & manipulative promotion of GMO sourced produce, are simply bowing down to the bottom-dollar they hope to uphold. There are many facts that can be found via many various resources now - holding strong to the truth behind the subject at hand. Here are the "bottom lines" for the PEOPLE - ALL of us who reside on the planet and intend to continue eating to survive. We have a right as a people to KNOW and CHOOSE what we put into our bodies and into the mouths of our children & grandchildren:
A) Soil quality is a direct link to the quality/ nutrient-values of the crops grown within those soils. If the land is mis-treated, poisoned by chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, sludge/ contaminated waste, injections of ammonias to try to re-gain nutrient-loss), and stripped of its nutrient content - the plants grown there will harbor these same traits and toxins. [Helloooo common sense!]
B) Regardless of nutrient content - we know that there aren't any fewer nutrients in organics. The argument stems from the conventional farmers (who receive subsidies from our tax dollars to uphold certain practices - such as fertilizer and pesticide use, as well as GMO produce) who wish to attempt to 'prove' that there are supposedly "no differences" between conventional and organically produced vegetation. (Refer to point A, above!) 
C) Again, regardless of nutrient content, I want to know that my food is free of any unnecessary (did I mention this is UNNECESSARY!?) chemicals and other contaminants, as well as anything created by a man in a science lab who knows nothing about immediate OR long-term effects of utilizing such man-made foods! (GMOs - or GE foods, that is.) 
D) If there is ANY question at all about even the slightest possibility of GMO/ GE foods causing any ill-effects on people or the planet/ soil - - shouldn't we simply be saying NO?!? Yes!!! AND, in the case that the farmers receive the right to GROW this variety of vegetation, then we certainly have a right to KNOW that's where our food has been derived so that we can make educated & informed choices when we shop for food for our families. *Please make your voice heard by signing the petition for GMO labeling standards Here!
E) Yes - organically grown goods generally cost a bit more. When you make comparisons of these foods in their own retail settings (i.e. - co-ops, larger stores with their own brands of organic goods such as Trader Joe's, and farmers' markets) - the price increase is not much of a difference at all. (If you go to the natural foods section at large-chain-stores, such as Cub, you're going to pay much higher prices because it's being offered to you as a convenience. SAD! Maybe one day we can do away with all of this nonsense, get the big-box stores on board with REAL food as their staples - as will we - and therefore, availability will increase, and prices will decrease further!) HERE's THE THING: I'm willing, and wish more Americans were, to simply pay a little bit more up-front to KNOW exactly what is being introduced into our bodies for our overall HEALTH and QUALITY OF LIFE. You'll pay more for that television with the better screen quality... So why not the foods that we fuel our very bodies with?? Plus - why not pay more for REAL food, and less in costly medical bills later in life??
F) Our health and the health of our planet should never be secondary to business and monetary concerns over an outdated and unhealthy means of producing our food! All of these farmers have a CHOICE. Why shouldn't WE?? [This is where the labeling comes in.] They can simply join the movement to propel our country FORWARD in ways that sustain our bodies, our health, our planet, the animals, our air quality, waterways, and soils - for us, and our future generations. Those farmers who follow such strict regulatory guidelines and pay a fee to be certified organic - deserve our recognition, or thanks, and a pat on the back! You can thank them directly - by purchasing REAL, organically grown, non-gmo FOOD! They can sleep well at night - and so can you - when you really consider what you choose every day to keep you and your family going strong!

Knowledge is power! Please - share with those you love and wish a happy, healthy life for... Remind them to use caution when they select their resources. Is the organization whose publications they are reading from, there to protect business & profits? Do they accept paid advertisements or request a paid subscription to their publication?? OR - are they people who genuinely wish to protect other PEOPLE, quality-of-life, and our planet? THESE are the resources you want to help you in your discovery of what's really going on behind the scenes with the foods we eat every day. WE have the power to choose... by what we buy. The corporations will be forced to change if they want to remain in business. THANK YOU for taking the time to read all of this and pass it on! Below are some very interesting links that I've found in my own research that can be listed for you here - at your fingertips, to get you started. Cuddle up with your sweetie and watch a documentary or two. This info would never be publicized otherwise. Very eye-opening and informative! Here's to a better life and means of sustaining it for all Americans and the world-over! Cheers~

First-hand experience leads to change in approach by farmers who care about more than just profits:

Reality Check… Honest info requires extensive research:

GMO Debate (Er – third-party-information vs. information put out by paid reps):
More about their independent verification procedures:

Independent publication on GMO/ GE foods:

Specific to Sweet Corn – not enough study to determine safety!

About the USDA resources:

Please pay special attention to the 1st lengthy and well thought-out response below the info:

It took them paying farmers a premium to prevent them from using the hormone???http://www.stonyfield.com/healthy-people/our-yogurt/why-we-oppose-rbst