Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Not Without Me

   Today is National Women's Day. When is National Men's Day? If what we truly want is to be equal, why do we not also celebrate the magnificence of men? When is the #DayWithoutMen ? If what we want is to be equal, then we should also acknowledge what this world would be like for a day without men. Feminism, by definition, is, "The advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes." What's equal about these arbitrary acknowledgements?
    In our home, girls are outnumbered by boys. In our home, we teach conservative Christian values and Biblical principles. In our home, all humans are created equal, regardless of sex, ability, skin color, religion, or any other variation. We all have inherent value that is to be respected, not diminished. In our home, we value the Constitution and our rights as citizens, including the right to assemble and peacefully protest. In our home, Daddy cherishes Mama, praises her hard work even when it's "just being a stay-at-home-mom," and puts her on a pedestal for his children, friends, co-workers, and anyone who will listen. Especially  when he comes home from his long day of corporate servitude and sees a frazzled Mama, wild kids, demolished house, and just general chaos, Daddy knows I worked extra hard that day and is quick to take over and shoo me to a hot shower, a nap, a cup of coffee with a book locked away in my bedroom. In our home, there's no "just a mom," there's respect for the incredible value for me as a person, me as a woman, me as a mom, me as a skilled laborer. In our home, my husband is "boss" because I gave him that position. We are equals and he is the leader. In our home, my children are learning to value fellow humans not demean them with hateful speech, bullying, and manipulation or cheating, or to take a life when it inconveniences them. They're learning to love, how to treat people right. In my home, girls can be ballerinas, doctors, firefighters, chefs, presidents, and stay-at-home moms. In my house, boys can be ballerinas, doctors, firefighters, chefs, presidents, and stay-at-home dads. In my home, people hold doors, give up their seat, or the shirt off their back for anyone. In our home, Daddy is leading by example, showing his sons how to be courteous, respectful gentlemen, and showing his daughters how they should expect to be treated by men. In our home, I am leading by example, showing my children the value of being home with your children, the hard work of being a good steward of what you have, the importance of self-reliance, and that the Proverbs 31 woman is still some one worth being and having.
   In our home, there will be no "Day Without Women." Women are an integral part of the human race and no one can deny that. Women and men are all valuable, esteemed, needed, and equal, but we are not the same. When we stop demanding to be treated as better than men, perhaps we will give chivalry a chance to return, and we can make some real progress. In the mean time, I won't be marching, abstaining, wearing a hat or waving a sign that says, "I'm a woman and that's okay!"Because I know I'm okay, I require others to treat me as such in every day life, and I am making a very real, tangible, long-term difference right here, every moment of the day with the army I've created not by myself, but with my husband- an equal but different and imperative part. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

VLOG- Clean Eating on a Budget Tips

   If you're on my Facebook or Instagram, you know I'm sick. Like, body throbbing and aching from head to toe, 102+ fever, and throat so sore and swollen that my neck hurts to touch and I can barely swallow. Dr. Google says I have every single symptom of Influenza. YAAAAYYYY! Haven't had it since 2007, and the extra sleepiness, mild runny noses and one evening of low grade fevers the kids had over the weekend never would have told me it was such a doozy. Hooray for keeping my babes strong enough to fight the big bugs, too!  It has taken me down for the count. Hard. Ouch.
   But I digress. While I'm sitting here at my computer trying to keep myself awake until my husband gets home, I figured I'd post a new blog. I had such an overwhelmingly positive response to my Vlog earlier this week, I decided to make a second one that day and answer one of the questions I get asked constantly here at my blog: How do you feed your family so cheap?! Here's a little bit(2 minutes worth?) of how. ☺

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

VLOG- Homeschool Mom Tag- 12 Most Common Questions

   Giving it a go. What would normally take me an hour or more of typing, editing, re-typing, took less than ten minutes while the kids munched on apple slices in the dining room. Maybe I'll "blog" more if I ramble more often. ☺

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Both Feet

   We do a great disservice to ourselves, our families, and society as a whole when we ignore the roles we play in every day life. Each action has a ripple effect, whether we ever see the waves or not. Believe it or not, I spend very little time on social media. I post to my Instagram because it's a way to take quick snaps, whether it be photos or videos, of the precious goings-on with my family throughout the day, and often(though not always) it's shared to my Facebook. When I am "stuck" in one spot underneath a nursing baby who is now too large for me to support with one arm and move about 'doing' with the other and my phone is handy(instead of my book), I find myself scrolling through Facebook. That is the entire extent of my social media time. It is so infrequently intentional, sitting and spending time doing nothing else. But lately even that 'passing the time while otherwise disposed of' social media exposure has just been too much. There's so much friction. So much meanness. So much double-talk. So much confusion. I just don't need it. It's overwhelming. I'm at a loss as to how to respond to people(when a response is required) in a way that both speaks my truth, but is loving AND articulate when so many are hell-bent on bickering or believing that, "I disagree," means the same as, "I hate you and want you oppressed!"
   I don't have the mental strength nor do I have the desire to witness or partake in this fruitless sparring. My precious angel boy Asher's birthday is next Sunday, the 29th. There's much to be felt, to be grateful for, to be present with. For the next week we're going off the grid. Jumping off the bridge of distraction into Intentionality full bore this week. No social media of any kind for me(but if you know my number you can text, call or email!) save for necessity with my businesses(KumfyKozies™ and Blessed Journey Birth Services), no devices or gaming systems for the kids. We will be present, in the moment, and being purposeful. Living fully, intentionally, not stuck in a rut as consumers of distraction. I'm sure my children are dreading a week without Minecraft, I may or may not blog out some processing, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of pure intentionality and taking responsibility for the ripples my every moment makes.

My photo of a back porch sunrise marking the start of a new day matched with the profound words of a wise woman

Friday, January 20, 2017

Are You Not Entertained?

   There are so many memes cycling around regarding the difference between my generation born in the 80's and the Millennials, the summary of it all is this: Technology has made us expect to be entertained. No longer are we responsible for our own fun. Children's toys are specific, automated sets meant to play a certain thing, shown a certain way, and one must have the entire set to fulfill this pageantry. Television is no longer a couple hours of cartoons Saturday mornings, but rather a plethora of all day, every day children's programming and advertising. Children's television has become its own industry.
   Speaking of industry, the IT world has positively exploded in the last 20 years. It was a really big deal when my family got a computer and dial-up AOL when I was in eighth grade. Now it's seen as a right the government must provide if a family cannot afford such luxury. Enter the world of tablets, smart phones, and more hand-held technologies, and most children are rarely required to go a day without spending a significant amount of time gazing into the glow of a distraction device. Mine included!!! Truly, my children are no better. Granted, we have no cable. No unmonitored screen time, but when my kids complete a task they expect that they're then entitled to time on a device, whether it be the laptop(educational games or not, they're games), the Kindle, Minecraft, or Netflix. They automatically consider it a punishment when they're not allowed what amounts to cumulative hours spent between these various ways each day.
   Why are we as a species so engrossed in being entertained? We spend trillions of dollars in this country alone on things with no value but entertainment. We have televisions and computer screens in every room to distract us from our true purpose there, and we cannot even go to the bathroom without taking our smart phones with us to keep us busy. Why do we as a culture insist on being entertained, constantly distracted from our purpose every waking moment? We ignore those around us in favor of screens, trading relationships and human interaction for constant entertainment, faceless communication, and distraction.
   This is another facet of life in which I am aiming to be more intentional. Leaving my phone on the charger but within earshot. Taking a book to the bathroom- OR NOTHING- instead of my phone. Letting there be silence in the air instead of some appliance playing Netflix or another form of entertainment that I am hearing but not really listening to. Why must we always be entertained? How have we fallen so far from personal responsibility that we cannot even entertain ourselves? We as a culture- with little exemption but the likes of farmers, extreme conservatives, and off-grid homesteaders- feel so entitled to this constant stream of distracted existence. For me and my family, I'm try to break out of our rut. Take responsibility for every moment of our time, even when that is rest and rejuvenation.  Finding the purpose in every day.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Living Intentionally

   I've been mulling for weeks now over this term. I had been sitting on the couch one night, exhausted, a ton of to-do's calling my name, but there I slumped, watching Netflix and eating Tootsie Rolls from the candy jar. Because naturally, exhaustion needs to be fed rancid vegetable oils and processed sugar. Suddenly the word "intentional" came to my mind. The concept isn't new. "Intentional living" has been a catch phrase for quite some time. In that moment I have no idea where the notion came from, but something inside me yelled at it. Since then, I have been making small changes. Working toward it. It's something we really strive for, but fall away from easily, especially when we get in an exhausted rut. Sometimes it's just plain easier- and necessary!- to just get by. But eventually we need to move out of the survival mode, out of the 'just getting by' phase, and start being intentional. Purposeful.
   Intentional living isn't a new aim for me. We knew from the start that our first son had some struggles that were outside the realm of "normal" childhood development. In his toddler years we learned that a predictable routine down to the finest details meant the most peace for him. So we were intentional in every thing we did, because it meant peace for our family. Then our third child came, and she fell into that rhythm. Likewise with our fourth, and so-on. As our family grew, we learned that almost everything had to multi-task. My baby carriers are blankets when a kid is cold, a nursing cover when we're in a crowded space, picnic blanket when we forget one, and of course the intended purpose of wearing a baby. My jewelry is made of purposeful materials and shapes so they attract nursing babies' hands into play and away from slapping, pinching, and nose-picking, in addition to being my accessories. A trip to the grocery store was never a one-stop-and-done occasion, but instead became the one day I did every single errand on my to-do list, because good knows I don't have time to pack up these kids and do this more than once a week.  My knitting is a way to keep my hands busy so my brain feels satisfied with the productivity and allows my body to rest while I watch a movie with my husband, listen to a sermon at church, or enjoy conversation at a small group meeting. It also seems to serve as amusement for the people around me who are astonished that I can read a book or carry on a full conversation all while never missing a stitch nor looking at my work. Multi-tasking. It's what I do. I don't know how not to.
   But living intentionally is far more than just multi-tasking. Anyone can multi-task. What I'm talking about, what my brain was confronting me about is more about using every moment, every decision for good than simply productivity. So that is my aim for 2017. To be more intentional. Not just multi-purpose, but actively pursuing more life, not just more busyness. Using every moment we're given as an irreplaceable gift instead of something to be endured or muddled through. Taking care of myself, my family, my home intentionally. Not waiting for tomorrow, next week, or 'When we have the room to do this.' We'll do it, whatever it is, now, to the best of our abilities, showing our children life and relationship with intention to the very best we can.
   As I've begun to make small changes and contemplate more, I've found some bloggers and vloggers who've inspired me. Three ladies, Jamerrill Stewart, Nicci Lynn of A Farmhouse Full, and Ashleigh of Joyful Chaos, have been especially inspiring on the homeschooling, large family, Christian parenting front. On the topics of mini-homestead, self-sufficiency, DIY projects, John Suscovich, Nick Fouch, and Esther Emery(also the wife of Nick Fouch) have been incredible sources of inspiration and untold springs of knowledge and wisdom. During most of my hours in the kitchen prepping meals you'll find my laptop playing a video from any of those channels while I listen and cook simultaneously. Esther Emery in particular just started a "Skill of the Month" series that I am really enjoying, and so glad I found it in the first week!
   No matter what your goals, aspirations, and beliefs are, I truly believe we can all shed some true time-wasters in our lives, and replace things with more intention, grabbing this gift of life- these gifts of today's that NO ONE is guaranteed and many don't receive- and being a little more intentional. Purposeful. Make it count. It's the only one. You're the only you.