Headed Somewhere

I love the title of this blog, mostly because it’s sort of a “one size fits all” for my life.  Much a good pair of stretch pants in basic black for a pregnant body, this title continues to fit my ever-changing moods and life stages.  On days like these, when I cross my fingers in hopes my Chrome still remembers my WordPress username & password — because I sure as hell don’t, I know that whatever thoughts are bumping around in my head will “go” here.

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For the past three months or so, I’ve been travelling down a road that looks a little like this:

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I’ve written here before about my personal goals to clean up and green up my family.  This year, my most recent leg of this journey began as I started looking into natural, food-based solutions to unwanted physical symptoms.  I found Dr. Mark Hyman’s wealth of nutrition-based resources and decided to cut out flour, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol for 7 weeks.

I was a few weeks down that road when I watched Forks Over Knives, Engine 2 Dietand began reading The China Study.  For days and weeks afterward, every time I looked at a piece of meat I thought, CANCER….HEART DISEASE….This is going to kill me.  Needless to say, my consumption of all animal products fell away like the shoulder of the road on a winding mountain road.

Right about this time, my husband started complaining of new-to-him physical symptoms he associated with our dietary changes.  While my body was finally purring like a well-oiled machine, his body was stalling out, rejecting his new ways.  That’s when a like-minded acquaintance introduced me to Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type, something I almost immediately dismissed as bogus.  But, I couldn’t pass judgement without first knowing more, and I couldn’t help wondering if this might possibly explain why my Type O husband wasn’t thriving on this plant-based diet, while my Type A body seemed to be reveling in it?

Yes.  Yes, it did.  In fact, the details that clicked and fit like missing pieces were ample.  But, I hesitated.  How can I just dismiss all the dangers of eating animal proteins I’d just learned and soothe my worried mind while my husband proceeds with a carnivorous lifestyle?  I couldn’t just accept it as true without understanding more about the foundational studies on which this book & practice is based.  (Mind you, he took that book as a green light to dive back into The Land of Beef & Bacon.)

While my research continues, I’m idling in an exploratory, self-reflective stage.  My physical and virtual bookshelves are filling up with vegan and vegetarian cookbooks and my Evernote & Pinterest accounts are filling up with vegan recipes & substitutions.  My refrigerator is stocked with coconut and almond milks, my (decaf) lattes and herbal teas are made with soy, and it’s tempeh and tofu all the way.

I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t eat a Milky Way Midnight Bar from the checkout at Target the other day, or that I didn’t eat one of the best pieces of cheesy, NY style pizza I’ve had in a long time while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, or that I haven’t had a bowl or two of organic froyo this summer.  But I will say that I’ve been conflicted and aware, each and every time, and not ONCE have I thought, “Oh, to hell with it…I’m just going back to my old ways.”

Once again, I find that I’m taking baby steps, or maybe medium steps now, towards the person I want to be.**  Whether that person will belong to the religion-like “Vegetarian” or “Vegan” clubs, or take a more nondenominational stance as a “Flexitarian” or “Pescatarian” is yet to be determined.  More than likely, she’ll be some perfectly-imperfect blend of them all, not unlike my religion — Astrobuddhistian.

** More on this soon.

Softly-ing

Slice of LifeI know I’ve written about sleeplessness before, but that was my own.  You know a mother’s work is never done.  Like most mommies and daddies, I’ve helped my daughters through their own dark nights many times.

When you were little, I would rock you.  We would rock and rock and rock in the dark until your breath was slow and calm.  I would hold my breath and press you into my body, leaning deep into your crib to cushion your little self from the release.

Somehow, you grew too big to rock.  At bedtime each night, I lay beside you on the floor and “softly you” till you slept.  My fingers, barely touching your skin, traced invisible lines on your arms, your back, your forehead.  Once again, I listened for the signal in your breath before I stole one more kiss and slowly tiptoed away.

At times, bad dreams waited outside your door for their turn to visit.  You were afraid to sleep and needed me.  Side by side, we planned a better dream together.  “Where shall we go tonight?”

“Hawaii,” we agreed.

In the dark, we sat in our beach cabana, watching the dolphins jump and play in the ocean.  We’d walk down to the water’s edge and feel the sand soften beneath our toes as the waves rolled past us.  The birds talked to us as they loitered on the sand.  Shielding our eyes from the warm sun, we jealously watched the people on horseback in the distance.  “Let’s do that tomorrow,” we planned.

Other nights, we would picnic in the park.  The blanket was soft beneath us as we napped on full bellies.  I taught you how to make a chain from the clover blossoms; we wore them till they fell apart.

One time, we went to the zoo.  You were the luckiest girl there – you rode the giraffe.  You were so tall sitting atop that beautiful creature, hugging his neck.

Some nights, I just quietly held your hand.

In the morning, you come to me, smiling through your sleep-filled eyes.  You tell me about your night of dreamland adventures, familiar in such a good way.

“Good morning, my beautiful baby.  How did you sleep?”

“Mommy,” you say each day as you curl up with your blankie in my lap, stealing just a moment more.  “I got good sleep.”

Are blogs on their way out?

As yet another symptom of my silent revolution, I’ve noticed myself pulling away from the blogosphere.  (Rather ironic to announce in a blog post, I know.)  As with most changes I observe within myself, I tend to sit back and watch it happen for a while before starting investigating and delving deeper (a strategy I do not recommend with weight related changes).

Why do I seem to be so disinterested in something that previously had me so enamored?  It seems to be going nowhere.

Perhaps I need to take a look at what I’m reading.

I approached my Google Reader with a machete in place of pruning sheers and began hacking away at my ridiculously overstuffed pile of posts.  As I shredded my feed of over a thousand unread posts down to zero, I started to notice a few things:

1.  Blogs written by (and focused on the lives of) stay-at-home mothers were the first to go.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate or respect these ladies – or their choice in life – but I just don’t seem to relate very well.  And, I really don’t need to read all about their kids’ lunchboxes….I have my own kids’ lunchboxes to fuss over, right?

2.  If a blog’s primary purpose was to entertain (a.k.a. I can’t take anything from your writing to help me cook meals, create something, decorate my home, find a book to read, or improve my teaching or photography skills) and it includes whining in any form, I nixed it.  I’m over whiners.  And yes, that means me, too.

3.  Blogs I was most likely to keep around a little longer were  people I know personally, include pictures that could appear in a magazine on my coffee table in every post, or pertains to my profession/hobbies AND offers ideas and solutions for my real world today.

Additionally, I found it really interesting that I’m (seemingly) not the only one drifting farther and farther away from the digital drain on day-to-day duties.  I didn’t count, but suffice it to say that a few handfuls of blogs to which I previously subscribed have dissolved in my absence.  Some bid formal farewell to their readers and web-friends, while others just simply…..stopped…..(The latter is more in line with my personal style.)

So, I’m wondering.  Is it just me?  Does anyone else out there feel as though the herd is thinning?  And, if so, where are all the bloggers going?  Are they retreating back to their “real worlds”, or just morphing their digital presence into a terser version of their online persona — tweets, status updates, and Facebook fan pages.  Or, am I completely out of the loop and there’s some new-fangled dimension out there in cyberspace where all the cool kids are hanging out?

As more and more of us are connecting online via increasingly mobile devices, will the majority of us still be sitting down to write or read lengthy posts for much longer?  Are blogs on their way out?  If so, what’s next?  Where do we go from here?

going green & clean

  Have you ever taken a moment to look at your own life from the outside in?  Have you ever had a day when, as you sit on the end of the rope, looking back on the beginning, you realize that you haven’t had a single drop of water — or perhaps even just anything noncaffeinated?  Or perhaps you ate every single meal from a drive-thru window or delivered to you by a person wearing a nametag?

When my nephew was little, like most little people, his idea of fine cuisine came in a bag that looked like the funny pages.  Dinners out with him included the standard moan and whine as we pulled up to a restaurant.  “I wanted FAST food, not SLOW food,” he’d protest.  We’d all chuckle at his literal thinking and chalk another saying up to the character of a child with Asperger’s, as this was long before the Slow Food movement had reached our corner of world.

Over the past months, I’ve decided to take a stroll down the Slow Food lane, pushing my babies — and pulling my husband — along with me.  It has not been an overnight transition, especially since I wouldn’t consider us “there yet”, but we’re making headway.

Surely, if it were only me, this would be a far smoother road to travel.  But with school-aged children and a husband who eats 80% of his meals away from the home, it’s taking some strategery.  (Because I can never resist that old joke.)  

I started with baby steps, like trading my girls’ morning Pop-Tarts for whole wheat waffles or homemade breakfast smoothies or banana bread.  That was fairly easy, once past the initial whining from Baby Girl.

Cooking dinner nightly isn’t so bad, but takes some careful planning when you work full time and have a family schedule where the routine is the absence of routine.  This called for a new personal ritual:  the weekend planning session.

Each weekend, I spend an hour or so creating my weekly plan.  I start with FireDaddy’s schedule, then the girls’ schedules and my own – Monday through Sunday.  Then, I call in the cookbooks.  Culinarily-speaking, I bore easily, so this part takes the most time.  On average, each week consists of one or two brand new recipes, with at least one night of a family favorite (comfort food) for my girls, and one “fix it yourself” (a.k.a. leftovers) night for the inevitable slack attack.  Next up is the grocery list.  I tweaked a Microsoft template I found online to reflect what I’m planning for and buying, as well as a place for my weekly menus.  After this is prepared and checked, it’s off to the stores, usually with two little ladies in tow.  Finally, upon returning home, I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen cleaning and preparing produce to be stored and served easily throughout the week.

It was somewhere within this leg of our journey that I realized how much money I was spending on produce, and what a burden these big grocery trips were to my weekends.  That’s when I discovered Palmetto Organics.   After working with them to create a delivery option that best suited my family’s needs, we’ve added Tuesday produce delivery into our regimen — and have loved every minute of it!  Quite frankly, I still buy some produce on my weekend grocery trips, but the primary focus of my shopping is dairy, meat, breads, etc.  An unexpected perk to choosing produce delivery is the excitement that accompanies each Tuesday!  I am still surprised at how the whole family is oohing and aahing over the week’s goodies as I haul in the cooler from the front porch.

That said, with relinquishing the duty of primary produce purchaser, I also acquired the job of primary produce researcher.  As our diets have truly moved to the “plant-based” category now, and are far more diverse than I could achieve at the local grocer, I’ve had to learn a lot.  As I lift the lid of the cooler and reveal these new dietary treasures, my next thought is, “What am I going to do with this?”  Thank goodness for the internet.  I Google that produce to pieces.  Searches begin with “flavor of ___” and “how to clean ___”, then move towards “____ recipes”.  I click and read and click and read, until I find “the one”.  I also consult my hero, Alice Waters, at least on a weekly basis.  Her book The Art of Simple Food is elegant, resourceful, and a valuable asset to any cook.

The next phase of my personal Slow Food journey addressed the sweet teeth in my household.  Oh my…..can you say HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP?  Baby step #1:  Stop buying Oreos.  Instead, I bake a batch of something homemade on the weekend — brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, etc.  This batch has to last the week (moderation), and replaces any desserts packed in lunches or after dinner.  My theory is — if I made it, I know what’s in it.  I know I made those cookies with whole wheat flour and real butter.  I know that’s real cane sugar, not HFCS.  I know there aren’t any stabilizers or preservatives added to achieve the maximum shelf life known to mankind.

This weekend, we broke ground on the biggest undertaking on our family journey as we constructed the frame and prepped the site for our raised bed vegetable garden.  We practiced restraint as we decided to start with only one raised bed versus the two we’d planned, considering the cost of the dirt and manure alone we will need.  My porch is populated by my own little potted herb garden, something I’ve wanted for a long, long time.  And, we spied our very first baby tomato on our patio tomato plant.  This, to my children and husband, is finally the fun part.  We share visions of bountiful crops sprouting in our own backyard and sound like kids in a candy store when we daydream together, listing all our own favorites, one by one.

So, where do we go from here?  There is so much yet to do.  My mind is filled with plans for alternative natural sweeteners, warm dreams of baking bread, visions of environmentally responsible lunchboxes (my #1 goal for next year — banish the plastic bag), and thoughts of turning compost piles out back.  To some, these might sound like burdens and punishments.  I can honestly say, however, it has been more fun than I ever thought possible.  And as I listen to medical tales from friends and family, experience changes in my own body, and watch my daughters grow each day — I am reassured that this is more than just a fun project.  This is imperative for the health and well-being of my husband, my daughters, and myself.

Baby steps.  Start with baby steps.

The Original

On the evening of Easter Monday, I sat down and composed this letter to the editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union.  They “trimmed” it down and published a much shortened version today, May 16, 2011.  I’ve been asked to share the original.  

What a lovely holiday weekend we all have enjoyed.  I almost – for a moment – forgot all about the dread that I’ve grown accustomed to carrying with me over the last few weeks.  You see, I’m a teacher for Duval County Public Schools.  Additionally, I’m a parent of two young children.

The fear that dwells in the pit of my being right now is rather familiar.  It’s like the monster mutant germs that we, as a culture of germaphobes and antibacterial junkies, have helped to strengthen over the years.  This new fear has been growing, ever so slowly, over the course of the past five years or so.  Except now, it has reached the Red Alert Stage — like December 31, 1999.  We [educators] are all waiting in fear to experience an inevitable, catastrophic, systemic crash that will change our reality exponentially.

It’s not just a reduction in pay masquerading as furlough days, increased health care costs, frozen pay scales, reductions in per student funding, and more.  It’s not just the possible butchering of our school weeks from five days to four.  It’s even more than “just” the loss of quality art, music, and P. E. education for our children – the neurological benefits of which I’m sure you are aware.  In fact, it’s still more than “just” the innumerable effects today’s students will suffer after losing the vast number of QUALITY, EXPERIENCED educators whose jobs are poised beneath the guillotine as we speak.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering what it is that I am dreading.

My greatest fear, sir, is that for the future of my own children and the future of our city, state, and country.  My fear is that – while countries like China are busily wooing and nurturing their own budding middle classes – we are killing our own.  We are robbing our children of quality educations – educations fit to make them competitive in an increasingly global economy.  The trends are clear – the jobs for which we are preparing our students today do not even EXIST yet.  You CANNOT create forward-thinking, self-motivated, technologically savvy, independent learners without placing a political and fiscal priority on education.

I urge the elected officials of both Duval County and the State of Florida to consider the long-term implications of their present day decisions.  Are they weighing these budget-balancing options carefully against their impacts on our world, say…ten years from now?  Or how about twenty?  Do they even understand the impacts?  What is THEIR vision for our future?  Do they think sabotaging a generation of Floridian’s education is going to move us closer to making that hope a reality?  This is the burden with which they’ve been granted:  not just to promote the general welfare TODAY, but securing these blessings for our posterity.

If we do not invest in our schools TODAY, we will invest in our prisons TOMORROW.


“…and other duties, as necessary.”

When I began my teaching career more than a decade ago, I remember this phrase buzzing between the seasoned teachers with whom I worked.  Whenever we found ourselves picking up the slack in a rat-tattered budget or completing tasks that — at the time — felt as though they were not best suited to the expertise of an educator, you could bank on someone muttering this token catch all clause.

“…And other duties, as necessary.”

It was this phrase, vague by design, that spoke volumes in describing the true nature of our roles.

Today, I look back on this past decade and feel as though I’m in the midst of my second career.  I’m still an elementary school teacher, but oh, how times have changed.  I owe much of this transition to my own professional relocation.  As an under-ripened professional, I worked in a small (by comparison), rural county.  Its leadership was very much a “good ol’boys”, fraternal pack.  My principals were in the twilight of their careers, and I was a wide-eyed, idealistic, childless young thing.

Now, I serve in a school more approximately three times the size of my previous schools.  Amidst a county as large and diverse as this, my school is a shining star.  We are a model of modern excellence in education — a feat we work HARD to maintain.  My instruction has been wholly transformed, and I never, ever want to go back.

Quite honestly though, the security on which I once thought I could bank indefinitely, has vanished.  Like rain in a dust bowl, nothing is for certain anymore.  Ten years ago, I would have said — unwaiveringly — that public education would WITHOUT FAIL be there for me and my children throughout my lifetime, and probably the lifetimes of my children.  Today?  I have my doubts, to say the least.

Which makes me think about those “other duties”.

Who — if not me — will help that boy get his teeth cleaned for the first time ever at the age of 11?

Who — if not us — will call his mother and beg her to take him to get the cavities filled, so he can stop crying each afternoon and start learning to read?

Who — if not me — will talk to parents about the trouble their child is having with friends on the playground, in the cafeteria, and in class?

Who — if not for a teacher — will help divorced parents get on the same page long enough to support their child academically?

Who will teach parents how they can help their children study?

Who — if not for me — will whisper in that child’s ear, “I want to see you do [this]….because I know you are smarter than this.”

Who — if not me — will tell that child that I’ve been there too — it’s going to be OK — we can get through this together.

Who will tell them they’re beautiful?

Who will read to them with all the right voices, just like the character sounds in their heads?

Who will cry in all the sad parts and ask them for a tissue?

Who will help them lie in their stories — I mean REALLY lie, let’s make it a whopper of a tale — because Writers have PERMISSION to lie?

Who will squeeze them and get all teary-eyed looking at their baby pictures, as though it was their own baby standing so grown beside them today?

Who else is going to fuss at them like a Mama, hug them when they get hurt, worry about them at night, and pray/hope/wish/dream for their futures?

Ten years ago, I was Carly’s first grade teacher.  Carly was six.  As I dismissed my class each day, I stood at my door and gave every child a hug or a high five (you know — for the ones that were already “too cool” to hug the teacher each day).  Carly, prepared as always, was most often one of the first out the door….but Carly was ALWAYS the last to leave.  She stood, leaning from the weight of a backpack as big as her, waiting patiently for me to close the door behind me.  Every single day, for 180 days, she took my hand in hers and we walked together to the car line.  Every single day, she waved good-bye to me and I watched her little sandy blonde ponytail bee-bop to and fro as she bounced her way back to her mother.

I still love my little Carly.

Rashard.  Jasmine.  Joseph — who wrote his name with a “Flying J”.  Monique.  Dakota.  Jesus — who looked like a little Mexican Buddha, just as cute as he could be.

And Paul.  I taught Paul in first grade, and again in third.  Every Christmas, I hang the ornament on my tree that he, with the help of his mother, sewed for me with his six year-old hands.  He cut out rocking horses from fabric and glued them to the hand-stitched miniature pillow.  I hang it by the little red ribbon he carefully attached.  I remember how proud I felt to see him growing into such a little man.  He was such a good big brother to his baby sister.  He was such a smart little guy, and good to the bone.

Who will carry these memories with them forever, if not for teachers like me?

These are the duties we are charged with.  The loving of and caring for children.

And now, I feel kicked and beaten.  I feel abused and undermined.  We are taken for granted and belittled.

And on top of it all, now I’m crying for my own children, too.  Who will love them?  Who will carry them in their hearts forever, when all of the good ones are gone?

Together, We Are Me

The Ballroom

Ever wonder what it would be like to have a “Me” convention?

Imagine if everyone that ever knew you in your life were gathered into the same hotel ballroom.  All the feet that walked beside you through all the various stages of your life would mill around on the very same field of paisley carpet.  All the voices that ever filled your ears — whisperers of secrets, promisers of love, bearers of betrayal, midnight gigglers, comforting shooshers, hateful adolescent teasers, scornful superiors.  All the faces to which you’ve smiled, smirked, sneered, batted eyelashes, and silently stared.  All of the hands you’ve held, hugs you’ve welcomed, slaps you’ve suffered, kisses you’ve cherished, and shoulders you’ve felt coldly turn.  All of these reflections of you would stand, beneath one garish, over-sized chandelier, together.

Have you ever wondered what would they think?  What would they say to each other in those moments before you enter the room, revealing their connection?

What if that girl from your college classes described “you” to your old grade school boyfriend?  Would he believe it was the same you?

What if your boss listened to your lab partner from high school chemistry class?  Would they ever recognize the person being described?

What if your best friend told all your old secrets to your partner at work?  Would they still sit quietly at their desk, sipping their Starbucks and checking email with you on Monday morning?

What if your child’s teacher talked about you to your brother?  Would he smile silently and think, “I know that girl, too”?

Have you ever been the fly on the wall, watching yourself morph from the intelligent professional, pushing herself to grow and improve; to the harried mother, toting groceries and wrangling children; to the wily woman, wielding herself through the world with skill and daring?  Have you ever observed these transformations and marveled at your versatility?

How could it be that I can have so many selves?  Is one more “me” than the other?

This is not to be confused with the id, the ego, and the superego.  Nor are these various selves just stages…I laugh at my picky eater who, in one moment skoffs at cheese, and the next is scooping handfuls to top her chili.  I chuckle when my fickle babe swears off long skirts, only to raid her sister’s closet in search of that very thing.  This, though, of which I speak… is much more than that.

How is it possible that we can carry on entire relationships with hundreds of various people, and each of them can create their own version of you?  While, yes, it is true that, in part, they have designer’s rights and sculpt the “You” that they know like putty in their mind.  But it is not entirely a result of their perception.  In so many ways, you teach them how to define you.

I’m believing more and more that we choose friends and acquaintances by what pieces of us we see in their eyes.

With you, I am smart.

With you, I am bold.

With you, I am funny.

With you, I am kind.

With you, I am charming.

With you, I am eloquent.

With you, I am an achiever.

With you, I am safe.

With you, I’m desirable.

With you, I’m strong.

 

With you, I am me.

I suppose this is what we’re hoping for.  One true, complete reflection.  Like mirrors stacked upon mirrors.

 

This is not a quest for self.  This is a quest for reflection of self.  This is the pursuit of complexity.  This is me, wearing white gloves as I handle my “self”, so as not to tarnish the sheen.

 

Buzzing

It’s a mess in there.

But, it’s a necessary part of life.

I wake up (or rather, lie awake) with a hypnotizing buzz in my mind.  I race from petal to petal, gather tiny golden specks, send messages to other workers, and always return home.

At times, I wonder how long this pace can be maintained.  I realize the answer: as long as I want. Which leads me to a grand admission: I like it.

It is my right to choose this life.  It is my obligation to choose to be me.

While I toil away, I smile at the steady hum of my life.

I am needed.

I am valued.

I am useful.

I am challenged.

At this thought, the weight of my burden lightens under my wings.  I am no longer the worker, but the queen.

Daddy, when we get home, can I have a popsicle?

There’s a pile of work on my kitchen table taller than a loaf of Merita standing on end.  There’s a bag in my chair that’s filled with books, notebooks, planning books, and the supplies for my productive weekend.  More mail and bills than I care to admit is collecting dust in a reusable tote bag, right next to the other silent, stewing chores.  On the top shelf of my refrigerator, you can find two chicken breasts, marinating in a pesto sauce.

It’s 6:22 on a Sunday evening, and I’m sitting on my back porch writing.  Writing, in hopes of escaping a fleeting moment that has found itself frozen in my mind.  Someone pushed the pause button as I dashed into the local Winn-Dixie yesterday before I even found my way past the self-serve registers and exiting customers.

A little boy I don’t even know, the youngest son of a stranger, brought a smile to my face, most likely without even noticing my existence.  A simple request, granted by Daddy, tickled him pink.  His giddiness smeared a nostalgic smile across my face like creamy Peter Pan on a soft piece of bread.

Since that moment, his little voice has echoed in my mind continuously.  I couldn’t help wishing, as I headed to find a six-pack for The Husband, wouldn’t it be nice to live like that?

Instead, we live in a Grown Up World where carpet has High Traffic Zones.  Roots need Touching Up and hair needs Shaping Up.  Sprinkler systems need to be repaired.  Our weeks are scheduled down to the minute, our years to the day.  We have to make special trips to specialized pet stores for organic dog food and Parent-Teacher Conferences to discuss our preschooler’s social skills and articulation.  Our outfits not only need to match, but be professional and flattering

.  People not only have blood types, but skin types and personality types and personal systems of organization.   Are you an Everything Out or Everything Away?

We don’t skip much.  We step on cracks.  We don’t swap clothes and jewelry with our buddies.  We feel

guilty

when we eat dessert and try not to be late for our scheduled time to ride a bike we don’t own...inside.  We try not to get dirty, and we worry about the cold we think we can feel “coming on”.  We have intimate relationships with our cell phones and snooze buttons.

Tonight, I’m going to eat a popsicle for dinner.  A coconut popsicle.

hesitant

How often do you call the whole practice of personal blogging into question?

I find that I question it more and more frequently….which is, I suppose, in keeping with how I feel about the entire world around me.

I question my beliefs, my marriage, my parenting, my relationships, my lifestyle, my priorities.  And while I question these things, I crave a place to share and reflect…yet, I doubt blogging is the best way to do so.  I also question that anyone really gives a flip about what I question, because they’re so busy doing their own questioning…at least I hope they are.

Some people may believe questioning is a lack of faith, but I disagree.  Questioning, to me, is growing.

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When BigGirl was a bitty baby, I remember feeling how strong her will was, even well before she was able to articulate it.  There was just a sense of self, intention, determination about her that was evident in every interaction she had with the world around her.  At times, this felt like a curse rather than a gift…for a young mommy, that is.  I suppose my life would’ve been a lot easier if she had been the “good” little baby that would sit for endless hours in a stroller while I merried along on my own agenda.  If she had been a docile little thing, content to soak in a Baby Einstein video, I could’ve had a much more “convenient” mommyhood.  But, that was not my child.

Now, as I continue to work harder than some to get my child(ren) to “go with the flow” of life, I also am reaping the benefits of my child(ren)’s individuality.  I can see very clearly that she will be a strong young woman one day.  In fact, both of my girlies are destined to be forces to be reckoned with one day.  In that spirit, I suppose my own questioning and requestioning of myself and others is a strength, yes?

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I dropped my doggies off at Doggie Camp recently as we headed out of town.  Doggie Camp Manager Girl was behind the counter, finishing up a tour with a potential client when I came in with my Bo and Daisy.  I waited patiently for my turn.  As she began the check-in process, a Doggie Camp Counselor came in and sweetly greeted my four-legged babies.  Then, I observed something interesting.

Doggie Camp Manager said, “Camp Counselor Girl, if you could clock in and take Bo and Daisy back to their room, that would be A-MAAAAZ-ING.”

I wanted to say, “Really?? Would that be AMAZING??? Because I can see how that would be helpful – or maybe even great – but AMAZING???”

Thinking this morning, I’m wondering if blogging, Facebook, Twitter all magnify the importance – in a superficial way – of our lives, making the truly important things harder to recognize…or even just harder for us to remain focused on these things?

So, I ask you…how often do you question this forum?  Do you ever wonder if and when enough is enough?  Do you constantly ask yourself to define and redefine borders and boundaries? Do you ever wonder if we’re all being a little arrogant or false? And if you have wondered these things, how do you make peace with these thoughts?  How can we use these tools, that undoubtedly add much to the richness of our lives and help us strengthen our connections to people in our lives (which I find to be the most important thing of all), without diluting our priorities and self-image?