Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Banish the Bugs

Every night before I go to bed, I have my little nightly beauty routine. I wash my face, use my herbal toner, my organic face cream that smells like rotten maple syrup and finally, I, uh, well, you know....I drink so much water during the day that if I don't do it right before bed I'll be up all night! Anyway, it was during this last step of the process that I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I pulled back my shower curtain and beheld 13 crickets communing in the bottom of my bathtub. THIRTEEN. I turned on the shower and washed them all down the drain, satisfied that I had taken care of the situation.

In the morning, I pulled back the shower curtain to draw my bath only to find that several of the nasty little creatures still remained and together with their previously drowned counterparts had left cricket poop all over my bathtub. I washed the remaining offenders down the drain, took out my sponge and wiped their poop from my tub and proceeded with my bath. A one time freak occurrence, I thought. Perhaps we were due for some weather and they were just seeking shelter in my bathroom.

That was over three months ago. It was NOT a one time freak occurrence. Every evening, my bathtub was full of crickets. And every morning, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing my tub. And if you know me, you know that scrubbing my tub is my absolute least favorite chore. But who wants to bathe with little black cricket droppings floating around in your water? You would think this situation would be enough to spur me to investigate pest control companies but it was actually the one and only German cockroach that skittered across my living room that had me running for the computer, desperately seeking professional help.

One of the reasons I waited so long to seek a professional was the thought of all those poisonous chemicals that most companies use to rid us of unwanted pests. I have young children and a beautiful organic garden and I certainly didn't want to endanger my offspring or sully all the hard work my husband and I had put into our vegetables. Crickets aren't dangerous in and of themselves. But they are the preferred choice of food for more dangerous insects, black widows and scorpions being our biggest concern here in the desert. And cockroaches are known carries of salmonella. Ew.

I came across a local company who specializes in organic pest control. TRUE organic pest control. You could actually eat everything they use and no harm will come to you. Bugs, on the other hand, are either repelled or killed . The technicians us things like essential oils from cloves, rosemary and wintergreen, and boric acid (particularly useful in our battle against those blessed carpenter ants who killed my dill plant!) These products actually work better than traditional chemicals so service is only needed every other month instead of monthly so the prices are actually quite competitive, despite the fact that organic pest control products tend to be much more expensive than their poisonous counterparts. 

The spray used around the perimeter of my house did indeed smell of essential oils. My daughter said it smelled "nice" while my husband and I thought it smelled like Ben Gay. Either way, the smells we were smelling weren't harmful and not at all unpleasant. My technician also caulked holes, stuffed steel wool in potential insect openings and taught me how to install weather stripping which will keep bugs out and keep my air conditioning in (BONUS!) And so far, so good. There have been noticeably fewer crickets in my tub and this morning there was NO CRICKET POOP to be scrubbed away. Yeah!! Mother Nature really does know what's best!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Organizing and Preparedness

My hubby is what some people might call a "doomer." No, he does not think the world will be ending in 2012. But he is quite aware of the world around him and the direction in which our society is headed. It ain't pretty my friends. And though I consider myself to be much more optimistic about these things than he, I too am worried. Peak oil, food shortages, increasingly large and complicated government. We are teetering on a precipice and it is only a matter of time before we all take the fall. Look back throughout history and you will see how civilizations rose and fell, rose and fell. What makes us think we're immune? What makes us so special?

Though I do not believe in hiding out in a bunker clinging to my children and my loaded shotgun, I do believe in  preparedness. It never hurts to be prepared and to make sure your family could survive if say, the power went out for a week. What would you do if the power went out for a week? How would cook your meals? Would you have enough water on hand if your taps didn't work? How would you light your home? Or cool it or heat it? How would you flush your toilet? These simple everyday tasks we take for granted can turn into a major inconvenience and perhaps even a life threatening situation. A week is a long time if you aren't prepared.

As a family, we have been working on food storage. We buy in bulk whenever possible. Buying in bulk is 1) cheaper, 2) more environmentally friendly because of minimal packaging, and 3) allows for extra to be stored for later use. The only problem with buying in bulk is storing in bulk. We converted our hall coat closet into a pantry of sorts seeing as coats are not a popular item here in the desert. It worked for a while. Half used, open burlap sacks create quite a mess. Do you know hard it is to get quinoa grains out the carpet??

Hubby and I found a local preparedness store and stocked up on stackable, lockable, food grade buckets. We reorganized our entire kitchen. What started as a 30 minute project turned in to a 3 hour project, but the outcome was more than worth it. Organizing gives me the happy tingles. Any chance to break out my labeler and I'm a happy camper. I can now clearly see what we have and what we need more of. It feels good to know that if push comes to shove, I can feed my family from the contents of my pantry for a long time. And not a moment too soon. We canned about 20 pound of cucumbers yesterday and now I have a place to put them!



How prepared are you? What are some things you could do to get one step ahead?

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Moment

 A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.--Amanda Soule

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Stonecrop. The color looks like neither stones, nor a crop. It is the color of paint we have chosen to paint our master bedroom. Who makes up these names anyway? What a cool job to have. There are hundreds of thousands of paint colors and all of them have unique names. Who's the guy who gets to dub a certain light purple "Dusty Lavender" or a pale yellow "Buttermilk?" Whoever it is, it's one lucky Joe. But I digress...

The heat is oppressive here (it's 115 today) so any weekend projects that I plan will probably need to be indoor things. Number one on my indoor to-do list: Paint The Bedroom. We bought the paint weeks ago but have yet to actually get the job done.I can't wait to get started. Stonecrop is actually a bluish, greenish gray that will look fabulous with the new quilt we picked. It all feels so lavish. New bedding and new paint, just for us. I can't wait until it's finished! I picked the paint not just for it's flawless match to one of the blues in the quilt but because the paint was a zero-VOC paint. And what, you ask, is a zero-VOC paint? Read on!

According to Renee Loux, author of Easy Green Living, Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC's are a bunch of gases emitted by a variety of chemical liquids and solids, paint being one of the biggies. VOC's evaporate into the air as the paint dries and are particularly harmful to lungs and atmosphere. That icky "paint" smell you try desperately to air out of the room? Those are the VOC's. These nasty compounds are irritating to eyes, lungs and throats and can damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous systems. Some VOC's are known to cause cancer. VOC's are a major contributor to air pollution and a key component in smog. They pollute the water and the soil and can have serious effects on wildlife and plants.

Scared yet? You should be. Even scarier is that there are no standards for controlling the use of VOC's outside of industrial settings. It is up to us, as consumers to make choices that will reduce or eliminate our VOC exposure. Here are some of Loux's suggestions:
  • Houseplants! Houseplants have the ability to absorp VOCs.
  • Chose eco- and lung-friendly plant based products, espeically all purpose cleaners, stain removers, and heavy duty cleaners. Or better yet, just make your own!
  • Avoid aerosol products across the board. Period. Bu-bye hairspray.
  • Chose natural cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Chose low-VOC or zero-VOC paints and stains.
  • Opt out using particleboard and pressed wood as they contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic VOC.
  • Chose cloth or PVC plastic shower curtains.
  • Use less plastic all around.
  • Chose natural or organic mattresses, sheets and bedding.
  • Get rid of synthetic carpeting. Opt for natural fibers or sustainably harvested hardwoods.
How will you lower your exposure to VOC's?? Leave a comment and let me know. I'll post some before and after pics when the job is done.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tinkerbell and the Great Bobbin Conundrum

My Momma has been visiting for the past couple of days and I seized the opportunity to hold her captive and demand she share any and all sewing knowledge with me. My Momma is a wonderful seamstress but doesn't really like to sew. She sewed for competitions in her younger years and the forced perfection and the push to win made her despise her machine. But she so graciously pushed her dislike aside to help me learn to love it!

After another long and meandering trip to the fabric store (I'm going to have to set up a budget for that place) we managed to select a pattern that required no zippers, buttonholes, pleats, ruffles or other embellishment that might confuse and frustrate me. She showed me how to lay out the pattern and how to cut it. I now have the pieces of a bright new summer dress for my daughter waiting to be sewn together. It would be done, but we got distracted by another project.....

Smocked dresses. Have you seen this fabric?? It's the best thing since sliced bread. Its smocked on top so all you have to do it measure, sew a seam, hem it, and add straps and your done! I'm all about instant gratification and when I saw they had Tinkerbell fabric (K's favorite) I knew I had to try. It really was easy. I sewed one seam down the back, hemmed it, and used Tinkerbell green ribbon for her straps. The straps were a source of vexation for me. I had to hand sew them. Hand sew? No thanks. I'd never done it before and it showed. It was an ugly job but it's on the inside of the dress and hopefully, no one will look too closely. It sure turned out cute though! And K was proud to wear it.

I like her smocked dress so much I thought I might try to make one for myself. I got the seam pinned and started to sew but something was wonky. The stitches were wrong and were puckering and pulling. Being the drama queen that I am I was sure it was inexperience biting me in the butt. My Mom assured it me it was no fault of my own, that the machine was the one torturing me and forcing me to use my faithful seam ripper, Ruby. We played with the tension, the feed....I could see my Momma getting more and more annoyed. I turned to the manual. And guess what? I figured it out. ME! Little miss inexperienced! We were using the wrong sized bobbin. We threaded a new one and all was well.

I'd like to say I made myself a gorgeous smocked dress but I can't. My Momma had grown impatient with my turtle paced sewing (Hey! I'm still new at this!) and pretty much took over, leaving me to pin and press, and fetch things when she needed them. Oh well. It's pretty, it's comfortable and it's mine. I made a dress for my daughter, and she made one for hers. And I got to spend an entire uninterrupted afternoon with Momma. What could be better than that??

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Month Without Nuggets

I hate to admit it but I love me some chicken nuggets. Yes, I know what they're made of. There is no "nugget" on a chicken but paired with some salty french fries and an ice cold Coke and I'm happy as a clam. My kids love them too. Yet despite my initial happiness at pulling up to the window and retrieving my grease stained bags, I ingest my nuggets with guilt and later, I regret having ever fed them to my family in the first place.

My bank has new handy dandy tool where you can categorize each purchase you make and it will keep a running total of how much you spend in any particular area you wish to track. It even generates a pie chart so you can visually see where your money is being spent. I played around with the tool a little bit the other day and I categorized all my spending for the month of June so far. Besides noticing that Target, despite my best efforts, still seems to suck all my money out of my pocket, I was shocked at the amount of money we have spent on fast food.

We all know fast food shouldn't really even be classified as food. As Michael Pollen likes to say, most fast food is a "food like substance" consisting mainly of fillers, preservatives, sweeteners, colorings and questionable meat parts. But did you know that fast food is bad for the earth too? According to a website called, if you stopped eating fast food for just two weeks, you would:
  • Save 3,222 gallons of water that would be used for livestock
  • Save 9.4 pounds of grain used for livestock feed
  • Protect 285.4 square feet of rain forest from being cut down to graze cattle
  • Prevent 15.4pounds of manure from being created
And those are just the meat related effects. What about the paper waste? I took my kids to Chick-Fil-A for lunch about a week ago and the amount of trash we produced for ONE meal was incredible. I wrote it all down, to the best of my recollection: For the three of us to have lunch at Chick-Fil-A, we threw away:
  • Two cardboard juice boxes
  • Three paper sacks
  • Two cardboard nugget boxes
  • Two paper french fry pockets
  • One aluminum foil pouch
  • One large cardboard french fry pocket
  • One large Styrofoam cup 
  • Nine paper napkins
  • Three plastic straws with wrappers
  • Four plastic dipping sauce containers
Feeling guilty? I sure am. So I'm quitting. Cold turkey. Well, for at least a month. I'm challenging myself to not eat any fast food for a month. This includes my children. That means Momma will have to be much more prepared with packed lunches and snacks and be ready to stand firm when the "I want McDonald's!" sings out from the backseat. I may have picked a bad time to start this as we are road tripping next week over the 4th of July. I already have our stops planned and know just where the perfect picnic spots will be along the way. It will be challenging but I'm determined. It's better for my wallet, better for my waistline and better for my planet. A win win.  

We had one last hurrah with the nuggets today for lunch. I explained that we wouldn't be eating them for a while to help heal the earth.  My daughter asked if we could just give the earth a band aid. *Sigh*....if only it was that easy. Farewell thee nuggets! Until we meet again...


Friday, June 18, 2010

This Moment

 A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.--Amanda Soule

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

10 Things

I've had an especially stressful morning and as I sat around stewing on the negative, fellow blogger SouleMama posted 10 things that she is joyful about.  To brighten my own mood and lower my stress level, I though it might do me some good to dwell on the little things that are making me happy, right now. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. My daughter's new found affection for fabrics.

2. The fact that I finally picked a paint color for the master bedroom.

3. More eggplants growing=more eggplant parmesan.

4. My son's perpetually dirty toes.

5. Corndogs for lunch. They remind me of the circus.

6. The satisfaction of a new hobby.

7. My new Martha Stewart sewing encyclopedia, a gift from my mother in law.

8. My new old china hutch. My Grandma's dishes look beautiful and I'm glad to see them out.

9. Calendula Salve. It heals everything.

10. A handful of weeds in a mason jar. Perfect.

What's making you happy today?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Story of the Skirt

Once upon a time, there was made a pair of denim jeans. They were good jeans, strong and sturdy, and they belonged to a little girl. The little girl wore the jeans nearly every day. The jeans protected the little girl's knees from scrapes and scratches, kept her legs warm on chilly afternoons in the park, and were the perfect towel on which to wipe muddy hands. The jeans went everywhere with the little girl. They swung on swings, dug in the garden, rode bikes...yes the jeans and the little girl were fast friends.

But, as sometimes happens, the little girl began to grow. The jeans got a little tighter and a little shorter but still they played. The jeans began to fray at the cuff. The knees wore thinner and thinner until holes appeared and the little girl's knees stuck out each time she wore them. But she wore them still. Momma warned the little girl that the jeans were destined for the rag bin but the little girl objected. "I love these jeans Momma!" she said. Momma agreed to let her keep the jeans in her drawer, just for bit, hoping she would soon forget about them. But each time Momma tried to sneak them out, the little girl loudly objected and would yank her frayed, torn, highwater jeans from the rag pile and lay them loving back in her drawer.

What to do? The little girl still wanted to wear the jeans no matter how bad they looked. How could Momma let her keep them and wear them without cringing every time she pulled them out of the dresser? Momma was learning to sew. She checked out a book from the library meant for children but it proved very helpful. In the book was a project in which you took an old pair of jeans, much like the little girl's, and re-purposed them into a skirt. Brilliant! 

And so Momma began. She cut off the worn and torn legs and used her faithful seam ripper to rip apart the factory seams. Momma took her little girl to the fabric store and let her pick from the thousands of bolts which one would be perfect for her new skirt. After much deliberation, the little girl picked a cute pink cotton with silver hearts. Better yet, the little girl picked up clearance fabric and Momma got two yards for 65 cents! 

As soon as they got home, the little girl was eager to start. Momma gave her some scissors so she could practice cutting fabric while Momma pinned and sewed. It was slow going but Momma stayed the course. She even got to experiment with some of the fancier stitches on the hem of the skirt since the little girl said she missed the "strings" from the frayed cuffs and decided a frayed hem would be better than a straight one. 

A few pin pokes and a tangled bobbin later and Momma  had used those faithful old jeans to make a brand new skirt. The little girl slid into her old/new jeans and declared "Momma! I LOVE these jeans!"

Monday, June 14, 2010


I love salsa. The dance and the condiment. It's yummy, it's spicy....I could eat it with a spoon. I grew up in the desert southwest where chili is a food group and spicy goes with everything. So what else would we have done with our first large tomato harvest than make six jars of salsa? 

Most of the ingredients came right from our garden. The tomatoes, the onions, the garlic and some of the jalapenos. We only have one jalapeno bush so we had to use some store bought. We also bought our tomatillos at the local market as our plants have yet to flower. Some salt, some cumin and a bit of cilantro....perfecto! We had a HUGE POT of yummy, homemade salsa just begging for a taco.

My hubby's momma is in town and she helped. Not only was it nice to have an extra set of hands for blanching and coring all those tomatoes, she helped us learn to use our pressure canner. She threw us helpful hints like "don't take the lid off mid-can or you're blow yourself up" and "keep an eye on your pressure gauge so you don't blow yourself up." I guess there are lots of ways to blow yourself up while pressure canning! It was lovely to have her as always and with her assistance we now have six yummy jars of homemade, homegrown (almost) salsa tucked into the pantry. It is immensely satisfying to stand back and know that we grew it, we canned it, and now we will eat it. I doubt they'll last long!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Project 8

We are on day 52 of the oil spill. FIFTY TWO. Yes, there's a cap and yes, it funneling some of the oil but the point is that is STILL going and there is STILL no end in sight. Pardon my french but this scares the shit out of me. It really does. And it bothers me that the media seems to focus more on the whodunit than on the real and catastrophic impact that this will have. At this point, does it matter who's responsible? Shouldn't we be worried about how we're going to stop it? People in the Gulf states are losing their livelihoods, wildlife is suffering but this can and will get much much worse. You think it's sad to see businesses go under and seabirds slicked in oil? What until you see what happens when they can't stop it. The oceans control this planet. If we ruin it, if we poison it, we are damning ourselves. 

As I sit and helplessly watch the situation unfold from my living room, I feel scared and overwhelmed. I want to do something. Not just donate money either. I want to get in there, use my hands and make a difference. I looked up volunteer opportunities but most I found were limited to those with oil cleanup experience and training or those with veterinary experience. Granted, oil is a hazardous chemical but really, is now the time to be picky about who's there to help? And veterinary experience? Anyone can later up a bird with dish soap. Also, they all required travel which isn't impossible for me, but difficult. Helpless. Incapable. Powerless.

Enter Project 8. Craft Hope is "spreading the seeds of hope one stitch at a time." Craft Hope is designed to combine a love for crafting with the desire to help others. Project 8 is calling for those who can sew, knit or crochet to make hand towels and washcloths to clean the oil out of all the nooks and crannies of a variety of sea life. They are partnering with The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and the Audubon Nature Society.

Being new to sewing, I am intimidated but excited that I can use my new skills to physically help with the situation. The towels needn't be fancy. They will probably be used a couple times and then, being too saturated with oil, will have to be disposed of.  I'm pretty sure an oil covered turtle will not care if my hem is crooked. And so, I will. I have already them cut out and they're ready to be stitched. It's not much, but it's something. The world is so big, and sometimes I just don't know where to start. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference. Find a way to help. Do something. Do anything. Help save us all.

For more information on Project 8, visit:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get Down with the Sickness

For the past two weeks, someone in my house has been throwing up. It hasn't been pretty. And since I was one of those people afflicted, many of my house chores fell to the wayside and I am way behind on everything, including this blog. Today is finally a pretty good day. No one feels too bad and I have been able to assess the damage that staying home sick for about two weeks has done to my home. I sat down this morning and made a list of all the things that need to be done around this place. Some are sickness induced chores, others are just things I want to get done and actually had the chance to notice while I was holding my daughter's hair back or gazing up at the ceiling from my own sick bed.

  1. Sanitize the bathrooms. Whatever this bug was it was awful and I want it gone. Add tea tree oil to my baking soda scrub for more antibacterial power.
  2. Pretreat bedding stains and wash with oxygenated bleach. Hang in the sun to bake dry and let the goodness of solar work on said stains.
  3. Call around for carpet cleaning estimates. Must use environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. Suggestions welcome.
  4. Call for pest control. Whilst laying with my head on the floor of my bathroom after a not so nice episode of sickness, I noticed cricket poops in every corner. Gross. Again, must find environmentally friendly company.
  5. Paint the master bedroom and buy solar blocking curtains to cool it down.
  6. Peruse Craigslist to find a hutch so I can display the gorgeous antique china my Grandmother gave me. I hate seeing it hidden in my cupboard and I refuse to pay retail. There are such cool pieces of furniture out there waiting for good homes!
  7. Mount the TV. We bought the bracket ages ago and I'm tired of wiping fingerprints off it.
  8. We are about to be overrun by tomatoes. Check canning supplies for a salsa making party this weekend.
  9. Bake bread and take a loaf to the neighbors down the street. They just had a baby. Take some blackberry jam too!
  10. Finish the skirt I started for my daughter. She keeps asking about it.
It's a long list but I've already made progress. The bedding is being worked load by load into the washer and I've been braving the heat (it's 107 here today) to hang them out. I found and called a pest control company that uses organic methods and they are stopping by this weekend for our first assessment. I think I even found the perfect china hutch. It was made in 1941, solid mahogany and such a steal! We pick it up this weekend barring any other bouts of illness. Cross your fingers!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Have a Seat

Still trying to shake off the bitterness of my first failed sewing project, I figured the least I could do was give my leftover fabric a chance to shine since I failed it so miserably on my first attempt. I decided to use my gorgeous cotton twill to recover my barstools. The barstools were a housewarming present from my parents and are only a year old. But they came covered with a tan pseudo-suede fabric that was pretty for all of about five minutes. Sticky hands and garden muddy toes stained them beyond repair and annoyed me on a daily basis. 

I certainly didn't want to buy new stools. These are in great shape despite the nastiness of the seat covers. That, and I've sort of challenged myself to decorate with found, thrifted or homemade items. Whatever happened to fixing up and making do? As a society we are so conditioned to throw out perfectly good items in favor of new, shiny ones. The old me would have tossed the barstools to the curb. The new me used a screwdriver to remove the six screws that held the seat in place, staple gunned my leftover fabric over the top of the old scummy suede and produced some awesome new-to-me barstools that I can't wait to show off!

(P.S. Everyone should own a staple gun. They are awesome!) 

 Nasty, scummy pseudo-suede

My little helper

 Awesome new stool!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Just wanted to share how we spent our Saturday morning...

Like this Dad?

I found one!

My little worker bees.

Five gallon bucket full!

We love dirt!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sun Scorched

The Phoenix Metro area forecasters have issued a heat warning for the next five days. The temperatures are expected to hover around 110 degrees. It's not unusual for us to hit temps that high, but it is a little early. I'm going on my third summer here and I still cringe at the thought of all that time me and my kids will be forced to stay indoors the next few months. Desert living is great November through April. May through September....let's just say my husband is a lucky duck as he does the majority of his business travel during those months.

The kids and I beat the heat with the pool, the library, and play dates with other mom's whose kids are trapped inside. We'll be okay. But this summer brings a whole new pile of worries for me. The garden especially. When most of the country is planting and watching things grow, my plants will be scorching and struggling. I admit I'm being a bit selfish. We get to plant in October and again in February when others couldn't grow a head of lettuce if they wanted to. But I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. Our tomatoes are doing so well and are so tasty. Our eggplants are numerous, our watermelons just flowering. The heat won't flat out kill everything but I'm thinking it will slow it down and limit production quite a bit. 

We need shade. Hubby was planning to construct some short of shading apparatus consisting of four PVC pipes in each corner of the bed with a shade cloth attached to the top.  We drew up plans but got distracted with finishing up our automatic irrigation system. We figured that water was more important than shade and the ability to do it automatically is a plus in case I want to escape up to the mountains to visit my parents and retreat from this baking desert. Hubby has worked very hard digging trenches in our concrete like soil and has set up our watering system in zones so that our fruit trees can be watered separately from the garden. It goes off like clockwork, twice a day. We still need to spot water but it will be a great help this summer.

 Irrigation pipe going both East and West. Notice sheets on the line :)

The shade will have to wait. Hubby will soon be away more than he is home and the garden will be entirely my responsibility. What a challenge. Do you think he'll be mad if the sun kills everything while he's away? Lots of water and a little luck and we might just be okay. Pray for my plants!

 Grape Tomatoes

Asian Eggplants....longer and skinner than the traditional version.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Friends Along the Way

I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
--Maya Angelou 

A comment from one of my readers a few posts back inspired this post. Em said she was amazed that we were on the same journey a world away from each other. I found that to be quite inspiring. This getting "back to nature" is tough, especially when our consumer culture is fighting me every step of the way. I've been called a hippie more times than I can count. People roll their eyes at me when I express interest in having milk goats in my backyard. One concerned mother actually asked me how I could dress my kids in thrift shop and hand me down clothes because they were "dirty" and "not new." It's defeating at times. You just want to give in, run to the nearest mall and buy everything you need to be accepted into the mainstream.

But even  when I had all the stuff, I wasn't as happy as I was "supposed" be. I had the house, the car, the clothes...and they were nice perks, yes, but the happiness derived from them was fleeting and the debt, smothering. There was something lacking. So I took a step toward something different. Something simpler, something better.

Voluntary simplicity is a growing movement. I have found fellow explorers not just in my own country but from all over the world. Em lives in Tasmania, Rhonda also somewhere in Australia, Dani in South Africa, Sarah in Vermont....we are all on the same journey, we're just on different paths. We all have different ways of getting there, but we are headed in the same direction. We're moving toward a non-consumer way of doing things and a more traditional way of life. The art of homemaking is making a big comeback. We are learning to cook, to sew, to mend, to reuse and make do. We trying to heal the planet. We are caring for our families with our hands and our hearts, not our credit cards.

So despite the eye rolling and the name calling they may have been subject to, these other families are going green and getting simple and frankly, they are happier than most mainstream families I know. They get dirty, they get going and they get stuff done. Together. They are making a sustainable and simple lifestyle seem attainable. I am privileged to share the journey with these wonderful women. I learn so much from their experiences and I hope they are learning from mine too. Across the oceans, we all have the same goal in mind. A better world, a happier heart and true sense of light and peace. It is so wonderful to know I'm keeping good company. 

If you are interested in reading about the ladies mentioned above, click on their names and you will be redirected to their blogs.