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???

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Sometimes the thought of a song from childhood still rings in my ears as I continue to seek a peaceful co-existence in the world. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me... To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.... Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."  Ahhhhh - kind of peaceful in itself.

Now that I'm feeling at peace, and making peace with my habit of 'finishing' projects, viewing them more in 'stages' (though not such a 'bad' habit - but it can sometimes interfere with my sense of peace!) - I'm thinking about another peace-invoking season that exists just around the corner - Chirstmas! 

For a number of years now our celebration(s) of this holiday just haven't been the 'same'. I want that sense of nastalgic wonder, true meaning, life put into perspective, sheer joy, and - of course - peace! I was always one to get into it early... hauling out the music and lights long before the arrival of the designated calendar date. Then, things just - changed. It became chaotic. It started to feel more like obligation, and follow-through, rather than joyful gathering and family-memories. There was a shift in family dynamic that was out of our control - which also had an impact on this sense of 'going through the motions' for the holidays.

Kids entered the picture, and of course that brought back a heightened level of excitement and joy! I feel joy through theirs - and I love it! But it actually makes me feel even more passionate & motivated about really making it count. Making MEMORIES. Creating our own traditions, and truly looking forward to all aspects of this beloved season and the meaning behind it. Not gifts. Not running around like crazy and giving into expectations... Joel and I began to remedy that to a degree by limiting the number of commitments per night. i.e. - we spent Christmas Eve with one side, and Christmas Day with the other. That did simplify matters - but still didn't allow things to evolve enough to giving it back that intrinsically joyful and heart-felt meaning and excited anticipation.

So - this year Joel and I are making a point to do what we feel will bring us closer together, enabling us to create real memories, fond feelings, and cozy-winter-time PEACE. We want the girls to remember the fun times even more than the gifts they receive - and really recognize what we're celebrating. 

Not entirely sure what that will mean just yet. We have a couple of ideas in mind... We just have to decide which route to take. Time will tell - but we know we want the emphasis on love, family-bond, memories, cozy-quiet, and yes - peace. "Silent Night", anyone?

TIP: Make your traditions center around what has meaning for you. Put aside unnecessary commitments if they don't come from the heart. For example - I have yet to take up sending out cards. It's a time-consuming task, and I wouldn't know where to begin (or end, really) with the 'list' of where to send! So - I just don't do it. Weight lifted. PEACE. :)
A QUOTE: "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." ~Norman Vincent Peale
WHIDFML: Making new family traditions for our household, and looking forward to Christmas again!