Friday, August 31, 2012

In which I am fascinated by my own navel...

You know the message board posts that get the (bloggy) disclaimer in the title?  Yeah, this is just going to be a bunch of self-absorbed musings, so read at your own risk. :)

The first (and pretty much only) time I ever thought of myself as a writer, I was five.  I wrote a little story about a rabbit called, "Where's my PJs?".  I never said PJs, always pajamas.  But I knew that this little rabbit would say PJs.  He just would.  It was exciting to have this character in my head that did and said things because he was, not because I was consciously creating it.

I was always making up stories in my mind, but they didn't make it to paper.  I actually disliked the physical writing.  And if it was a requirement?  Well, obligation can destroy the joy in just about anything.  School just about strangled any pleasure in writing permanently.  By sixth grade, I would skip over any written exercises and pencil in D.L. (for Do Later), and just go over the exam sections.  I never did go back and do them later.  When I got to college, my distaste for writing was so cemented in that I only took the two required Freshman Comp classes, and chose electives and instructors based in part on the probability of not having to write papers for their classes.

I have never, ever, ever been able to write from an outline.  My mind simply won't work that way.  It doesn't go from A to B to C.  It loops from A to Q to F to J to B to X.  In classes where I was required to provide an outline, I would write the paper first and then go back and create an outline.  I also found that I stink at editing.  I very quickly reach a point where I can't see it anymore.  I am just done.  Even when it doesn't feel right and I know it is messy, I simply can't force myself to clean it up once I have spent a certain amount of time on it.

So, I have never considered myself a writer.  Even blogging has always just been for fun to me, a way to mount soapboxes and process things that I was wary of boring my real life friends with.  Whenever someone would compliment me on a post, I would inwardly laugh one of those awkward, embarrassed laughs because I couldn't quite imagine that anything I wrote would matter to anyone else. 

When I started this blog, I fully expected to write a few posts with weeks in between them, and drop it altogether within a few months.  Somehow, that didn't happen.  I began to write more and more. And I found a whole world of amazing friends.  Now to my complete shock, I am finding other people who are interested in what I have to say, and it is scary and wonderful and surprising and exciting.  

I have had the honor or working with some amazing authors whom I admire with all my heart, and their encouragement can literally bring me to tears.  Today I asked myself for the first time, "What if this is really more than just playing?  What if I should take it seriously?"  Not seriously as in turn it into a burden and strip the fun out of it.  Been there, done that.  But seriously as in, maybe this is really something important.  What if this is a part of who I am created to be?

It makes me tremble.

I keep shying away from that idea, but when I think of all the times that you and I have connected somehow, my gratitude just spills over.  I know that your comments have, without exaggeration, changed my life.

It is only 8:00 PM, but this is the kind of stuff that is really my 3:00 AM ponderings--all emotional and dramatic and stuff.  ;)  Sometimes it was just too many tacos for dinner, I think.  But sometimes there is truth there, too. I am starting to believe that maybe it deserves more than an indulgent pat on the head.

Thank you for listening.  I think the fact that you are here and that we can encourage each others' souls deep down is my answer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gentle Discipline and the Strong Willed Child

the boy
Image credit: slightly everything on Flickr
I am posting over at Natural Parents Network today on Gentle Discipline and the Strong Willed Child.

"The truth is that if you enter into battle with a strong willed child, your entire life will turn into a war zone. We will not back down, will not give in, will not surrender. If it truly becomes a fight, chances are good that one will have to defeat the other, in spirit if not physically. And that is to destroy not only part of your child's God-given personality, but also your relationship. Either your child will be deeply imbued with shame and believe that she deserves to be treated that way, or she will continue the fight once she is older and has greater resources."

The conflict for many parents is that they have been told that Godly obedience means that children will comply first and understand later.  That is *not* the Hebrew understanding of obedience.  From a Hebraic view, it is a process of hearing, understanding and then obeying from the heart. 

Another common objection is that parents don't have time to argue over every detail of an instruction before the child complies.  Here is the thing: you don't have to.  True emergency situations will have a number of differences, including how your child responds to your emotional stress.  It is also likely that physically helping a child will be a part of an emergency situation.  Furthermore, a history of good reasons for your instructions and connection between you are *more likely* to result in trust when it really counts.

I have come to celebrate my strong willed children, and cannot wait to see how they will change the world.  Head over to NPN for the full article!  :)

Christian Women Should Not Eat Chocolate

Before you rise up in righteous indignation and decided to unfollow this blog, allow me to say that I do eat chocolate and support others who do.  I also support women who choose to wear two piece swimsuits.  That isn't quite the non sequitur it seems.

I believe that there is an important topic that many in the body of Christ have neglected to address. It has to do with the whole issue of women eating chocolate. Now I know that our society seems to believe that we can eat whatever we want and flaunt it. The thing is, though, that we as believers are called to a different standard, and while it may seem to be a matter of personal freedom to you, you are causing others to stumble.
What you may not understand is that it is just a part of the way that God designed us. When we see chocolate, we are provoked to gluttony. That may or may not be your intent, but the truth is that when we see our sisters in Christ with chocolate, we are just wired to respond to it. We want it. So I am asking, as a godly woman, that you refrain from tempting us by eating chocolate. Will you, as a humble and sincere sister in the Lord, make a commitment to give up the chocolate that is causing us to stumble?
Can I get an “amen”? No?
I suspect that some of you would respond, gently and with love, that the issue really is not about condemning those who eat chocolate, but perhaps more about dealing with my own self-control. Some might even go as far as to point out that simply liking chocolate and wanting to eat it is not necessarily gluttony unless I refuse to control myself. Others would remind me that as a Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit, I can resist the temptation. And a few might be slightly confused why I am only addressing my sisters in Christ and wonder about whether men should be held to the same standards. These are good points.
Yet I have read many appeals to Christian women on the issue of modesty and swimwear, particularly if you get into the debate on one-piece versus two-piece, that sound just like the condemnation against chocolate.
I hope that you will go read the rest of this article at the Home Educating Family Magazine's blog.  :)

And for those of you who are curious, here are a few pics of my kidlets at the beach this summer in their favorite swimwear.  They were happy, comfortable and, in my opinion, perfectly appropriate and modest.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ditched my Diva, Glad I bought my Rags

Disclaimer:  This post is about period products, not about parenting.  It will contain graphic discussion of menstruation, etc.  You have been warned.

When I think of the benefits of breastfeeding, it isn't just the nutrition or bonding that comes to mind.  No, I rejoice that it kept my cycles at bay for exactly 14 months every single time.  It isn't that I believe periods are a Curse on anything.  In fact, I really, really want to love my body and honor my moontime.  The problem is that my periods always involved very heavy flow, cramps and leaking.  It is hard to be a flowers-and-rainbows-hippie-mama when all you really want to do is devour chocolate like a rabid beast.

Between pregnancies and breastfeeding, I only had six cycles over nine years.  (Thank you, lactational amenorrhea!)  But once they were back for good (well, at least for another decade or so), I decided I wanted to stop using disposables.  For one thing, they are expensive.  For another, I really disliked the idea of all those chemicals next to my yoni.  I have had allergic reactions in the past, and besides, my hooha deserves better than paper.

So I read up on all the cool reusable products that are out there.  Several of my friends were happy with the Diva Cup, it wasn't too expensive, and it sounded like a great idea.  Like a tampon, only better (and never moldy :shudder).  I know some people get squicked out by the idea of emptying it, but really?  If the idea of eating placenta doesn't gross me out, I knew I'd be fine with the contents of the cup.  (Another disclaimer:  I didn't actually eat my placenta, but everything that I have read about it makes it sound like it could be a great thing for many women).

I ordered the size for women who have already given birth.  Maybe there should be a different size for women who have given birth four times?  (Cheap cracks about Kegels are Not Appreciated, thankyouverymuch).  I folded it into the requisite shapes, but after a few minutes it always became uncomfortable.  I cut off the stem that seemed to be poking me to no avail.  I read about turning it inside out and other contortions, how to twist and turn for proper suction (and um, yeah, that is a little squicky to me, even though I recognize the necessity and all), but nothing seemed to help.  With regret, I decided to ditch my Diva.

I had initially steered away from the idea of cloth pads for several reasons.  The biggest one is that I am a cloth diaper drop out.  I loved my Fuzzi Bunz for the two middle kidlets and they pretty much never used 'sposies, but by the time our fourth was here, I had no energy for extra laundry.  I felt horribly guilty, but she is potty trained now, so that is all peepee under the bridge.  Er, well, whatever the appropriate metaphor is.  Anyway, I really wasn't sure that I wanted to use cloth.

I looked into them rather skeptically, and saw a huge variety of designs and colors.  I admit it, I decided to buy some because they were pretty.  What?  Yes, I know what they are going to be used for!   I dare you to look through enough of them and not feel a few material-girl stirrings yourself.  For some reason, the idea of the PUL backing on some of them didn't feel right to me.  I have a lot of confidence in the Natural Parent Network reviews, so when I saw that they were a sponsor, I went ahead and ordered some Glad Rags.

Because I didn't have a lot of money to invest, I ordered the cheapest ones I could find on Amazon, which didn't allow me to select the pattern.  Even so, the ones I got were pretty!  They were also incredibly soft and comfortable.  I could adjust the number of inserts for lighter or heavier flow, and wonder of wonders, I made it through the night with their night time rags without leaking!  Also, TMI (you know, since none of the rest of this post is?), but towards the end of my period I always had a couple of light days where disposable liners seemed to not absorb at the correct rate and would leave me slightly chapped.  The cloth was perfect and I never felt the slightest bit sore.

The inserts
Laundry wasn't a problem.  I just dumped them in with our regular laundry and washed in hot water.  (Cough.  I didn't see a need to mention that to my husband, and he doesn't read my blog, so we can keep that just between us, mmkay?  He gets grossed out much more easily than I do).  To my shock, they didn't even stain!  See?  (Yeah, I know that showing pics of used menstrual products isn't generally a good idea.  I think you deserve to know what they look like in real life.  And of course they are a bit wrinkled.  I don't iron anything, least of all my period products!).
The pads themselves.  The bigger ones are the nighttime pads.

I am a convert. I am so, so happy with the Glad Rags. I've been using them for a few months and no longer have conflict with my red tent convictions now that my period doesn't mean leaking and uncomfortable paper products. Also, my flow and cramps seem to be easing up. It could be pure coincidence, but I have heard so many similar stories that I suspect it is related to having less irritation. It is almost enough to make me want to twirl around a meadow in my hippie skirt! But I still want chocolate.