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Plans, paths and the people along the way…

January12

How do we reconcile what we actually want with what we should want? What I mean by that is, when I think of the type of life I want to live, from a strictly materialistic standpoint, it looks a lot different than the life I’m currently leading. And I don’t even mean things, as much as location and lifestyle. I have always wanted to live in the mountains, but not too remote a place. If the ocean is nearby, even better. To be able to ride my bike from here to there with ease in a place where the weather is mild year round and the air is clean enough for breathing, and to shop at a co-op grocer, or attend a weekly farmer’s market. In this ideal existence, it’s as if I’m a different person altogether, which I know is a ridiculous notion, because if I truly desired those things, I could be doing some of them now.

But I have always been an idealist. In many ways it has been my un-doing, while in other ways, my creative spark. In examining my life, I realize I don’t have certain things, because I am lazy, undisciplined–I haven’t planned for them or worked toward them. I have theorized about them, sure, but theories, not put into practice, are just words on paper.

And I think the other conflict I have always had is my love for my family and friends and the community that those entail. In my truly ideal existence, all of them are there with me. But realistically, were I to set off for these ideal destinations, it would be without them. And so in most cases, family and friends have always trumped a better locale and organic vegetables. Which makes sense–because I do believe that people are the most important thing in life, above all else.

But still, I am wandering along, wondering if I’m on the ‘right’ path or my chosen path, and ultimately trying to find contentment in external things, which is always setting oneself up for disappointment.

Lately I’ve just been praying that God would give me wisdom and clarity. That He would make my path straight, like it says He will in Proverbs 3:5, if we trust Him. That trusting thing still eludes me, even after all these years as a follower. My friend Shannon once told me something she’d heard or read and it comes back to me from time to time when I am struggling with a decision or just what direction I’m supposed to be headed in. ‘Trust and do the next thing.’ It’s pretty simple. We cannot chart our futures, and even if we try, there is nothing to say that something won’t happen to derail us from our ‘plan.’

Besides, I have always been a fly-by-the-seat-of my-pants kind of girl. Eating and spending and being merry, until it’s time to pay the piper. In theory, I want to be one of those people who own a home, a nice car, take vacations and have a savings–but I don’t want to work hard to have those things, or more than that, give up my stay at home mom status, because as I said before, the most important thing in our lives are people. How we love them and how much time we invest in them, that’s the only lasting currency, in this life or the next….

Dreaming of a GREEN Christmas; Re-duce, Re-gift, Re-Assess….

November23

This year, in an effort to be environmental and economical, my extended family has decided to have a “Green” Christmas. Actually, it’s not too much of a departure for me since I’ve always been into thrifting and crafting, due to lack of funds, and a genuine love of creating. But it’s also an effort to take some of the pressure off others, as well as save them some money, and get back to the real meaning of the season.

According to Advent Conspiracy (www.adventconspiracy.org), Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas EVERY year, yet it would only take 10 billion to ensure that every person in our world had clean drinking water. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

The other day, I got a different kind of Christmas catalogue in the mail. This one allows you to buy a goat, a chicken or other animal to help provide for a family’s immediate needs. You can also make a contribution to help build a well, or toward a child’s education, which provides for their future.

https://donate.worldconcern.org/

Of course I’m as guilty as anyone of focusing on the wrong aspects of the season. But this year, when money is tight, it seems as good a time as any to really instil in my children the true meaning of Christmas. To teach them to be ambassadors of good will, and not just consumers caught up in the getting. I want to teach them to not only be creative with their giving, but to be generous, and to give from their hearts. After all, that kind of love was behind the ultimate gift that was given to us–and it’s also the very reason we celebrate this season~

Single Mom in the Woods

December13

Written: June 3, 2008

My girls and I just returned from our first camping trip of the summer. It was a nice way to kick off our first weekend out of school (or at least their’s, I still have a final and a paper to write) Anyway, there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that love camping and those that hate it. I am the former.

Some may think I’m crazy, because not only do I camp, I go solo with two kids. I take my girls camping at least once every summer and this year we already have one trip under our belt and one planned for July.  Why do I do it? Because I decided a long time ago that we weren’t going to miss out on the fun stuff just because their Dad isn’t around.

I took my first solo camping trip when my oldest daughter was a year old. I wanted to take her to the trees she was named after, so I drove up, put her in the pack and play, set up our tent, and that was that. Okay, well, to be fair, my friend was working as a ranger up there at the time, so he came and stayed the night with us. I am mostly fearless, but not completely. But two years ago, when my girls were 1 1/2 and 6, I did do it entirely alone. Luckily we ended up in a site next to a large, loud group. This was preferrable to being next to some scary loner sharpening his pocket knife. I figured worse case scenario, we get in the car and leave. But we managed to spend two nights by ourselves, and even cooked over the campfire I built.

I get more savvy as time goes by. I’m not afraid to light the camp stove and lantern any more, so we have expanded our camping menu from hotdogs and marshmallows to things you can’t cook over a fire. Ultimately, the point is, if there’s something you want to do, do it. Don’t let circumstances stand in your way. I have taken more trips alone than I have with a co-pilot, and we have been fine. Of course, I stick to places I know, I carry a cell phone, and I always tell someone where I’m going and when I’ll be back, just in case.  The way I see it, life is short and I am creating memories for my girls that will last a lifetime.  And we are having a lot of fun along the way.