19 June 2011

living with purpose

First off, happy Solstice! As usual, I've (obviously) failed to manage a holiday post. Luckily, I can keep trying. Camden and I didn't do much to "celebrate," but we did enjoy the summer, although it was fairly cool. He and I talked about the Oak and Holly Kings fighting, and the Holly King winning to lead our march toward Yule (where they'll fight again, with the Oak King as victor). We went to a local nature center to stare at some honey bees (a small inside hive (with a pipe leading outside) made of plexiglass so you can see the bees doing bee things. We also ogled a bull snake that was apparently not hungry, since it wasn't munching on the (live) mouse in its tank. Then we came home and grilled chicken for dinner. All in all, a fun day.

And on to the topic of the hour:

I've known about Transcendentalism since high school or junior high. But I only knew about it in the general sort of way. Last fall, in my AmeriLit class, I actually read the Transcendentalist authors; Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson. And I fell in love. Then, earlier this year, I was introduced to the term simple living, in reference to modern life, as opposed to "back in the day" simplicity. I think that if every one would strive to live simply, the world would be a better place. Less waste, more community. Less stress, more time. Less hate, more love. As a world-wide community (Western/modernized world, anyway), we have a consumerist and materialistic ethic. We want what we want (or what they want us to want), and we want it now. And to help us get this stuff we have to work long hours at jobs we may or may not enjoy. We want our children to want stuff too, so we help them "get ahead" by over-scheduling them.

That's not something I want from my life. I don't want the hectic schedule of work, soccer practice, music lessons, dinner at McDonald's, TV, bed, rinse and repeat. I want my life to be my own. I want my life to belong to me and my family, not to the world at large. A book that I am reading suggested making a purpose statement for one's family. Because part of living simply is living with purpose. And it's hard to live with a purpose that hasn't been defined. My purpose statement? (Rather: my family's purpose statement.)

Enjoy Life; Love Others.

That is the shortened version. Both are basic yet vital to my spiritual and religious beliefs. The (only slightly) lengthier version is:

Enjoy life by
-making our home a place of creativity, love and laughter
-living within our means
-being environmentally conscious
Love others by
-loving (family) unconditionally
-participating in community service
-having faith in god, nature, others, and one's self

I am sure that at some point this will change. Not greatly, maybe just a tweak here or there. But for now, it is enough.

07 June 2011

Bedtime story

Once upon a time a girl wanted a bed. Not just any bed. A bed that she could store stuff under. Or build forts under. And so, her dad built her one. An amazing four poster bed with plenty of crawl space beneath. The girl loved her bed, except that it wobbled to and fro. When she leaned on the foot of the bed, it would move an alarming amount. This wobbling to and fro eventually led to the destruction of the bed's metal parts.

"But do not be alarmed, child; I will fix it. I have new steel hangers that are indestructible," said her father.

So her father came to visit. He took the broken, flimsy hangers off the bed parts, and put on the new indestructible parts. It was not easy. They did not want to fit. "Ah, but this is good," thought the girl, "for if they are this tight putting together, my bed will no longer wobble to and fro!" And much cursing and hammer pounding and more cursing later, the girl's bed was as good as new. Better than new, for now it had indestructible parts. And lots of screws to help steady it even more.

After five months of having the bed against wall A, the girl decided she wanted the bed to be against wall B. She pulled and tugged and huffed and puffed and cursed and spat, but the bed would not budge! "No problem," said she, "I'll just take off the mattress. Sure then it will move!" So she easily slid the mattress off the bed, only nearly knocking a shadow box from the wall.

"But what is this strange button?" she asked, finding a black circular peg thingy. Looking closer, she sees that it's the peg from one of the hangers. One of the indestructible hangers. Looking even closer, she sees that both the tabs for the hanger is missing! "Noooo!"

Instead of further defying a sure death from sleeping on a broken bed, the girl decided to dismantle the bed. But, alas! As she was removing all of those extra steadying screws, two strip! And another broke off at the head. She looked and searched for something to help, but nothing she found could.

Of she went, on her quest to remove the screws from the bed. First to one store, where an employee handed her something saying, "This will work!" Back home went she, only to find out that the employee must have been the villagestore idiot, because there was no way that tool would work, since it was designed for a specific type of screw. So she returned the failed merchandise and searched out another store. Here, they sold her a tool that she was sure would work. So she got home and tried it... Only to find out that she's not quite smart enough to make it work.

Eventually, after much man-handling and more cursing and spitting, huffing and puffing, and pulling and tugging, the girl managed to get the boards free from the defective screws.

And from that moment, she decided that that bed would never enter her home again. And she lived happily ever after, even if she was relegated to sleeping on a mattress on the floor like some teenager.

05 June 2011


A week or so ago, I mentioned my "secret garden" in passing to a friend, and when he asked about it, we both thought it would be easier to simply link him to the blog post I made. Either the address of my blog, or the name, led him to ask me if I was a witch. When I said yes... He said the oddest thing. He said good. Good that I was a witch!

And and a few days ago, I was at the doctor, and he saw my tattoo. And suddenly he started gushing about how beautiful it was (and at that point, I noticed how dry and ashy my legs were and was mortified that I forgot to put lotion on) and asked if it had any meaning. So, I told him it was a pentacle and he pipes up, "Like in Wicca, right?" And I hesitated... Because I'm not a Wiccan, but he took it as me being worried about the usual persecution we non-book religions suffer and said "Oh, it's cool! I've studied Wicca a bit and it's a really neat religion. ... You classify it as a religion, right?" LOL So I said that I was Pagan, and yes, it is a religion. I'm assuming he thought it might be classified as a spirituality?

Anyway, don't mind me. I'm just basking in the warm glow of acceptance. I hope that, someday, it is something we all can experience. Actually, no. I hope that someday this is the normal way of things, and there will be no warm glow because it will just be how things are.

02 June 2011

my secret garden

Six-ish years ago, I decided I was going to revamp a little piece of the yard, where (who knows how long ago) my mom had planted mints and lemon balm, and various other herbs. This garden is next to a little building that was a chicken coop turned playhouse turned horse shed turned abandoned shack that you couldn't pay me to go in. Anyway, when I first got this idea, there was nothing there but a square of overgrown mint and lemon balm. (See picture above.) My mom also had a collection of sandstone; I think she was wanting to make a patio, but didn't have enough. So I liberated them and used them to outline the space. We also had a large pile of bricks in the back (in the space that is the intermediary between the backyard and the woods), so I liberated some of those, too, to make a little square in the middle.

Unfortunately, this first summer of working on the garden, I came down with mono... And couldn't do nearly as much work as I wanted... You know, because heavy lifting with mono can make your spleen explode. So it went back to the weeds.

And the next summer, I was pregnant. Who wants to do yard work when they're pregnant?

And then for several years, I wasn't living there, so why bother? My visits were only for a few days, and I didn't really want to spend those days working.

This last weekend, though... Something changed. Maybe it's just that I was tired of seeing my garden overgrown and weedy. Or that I've been craving working in the dirt with plants. So with Camden's help, I pulled out the weeds. This took forever. They were everywhere. Most annoying were the weeds that had sprouted between the bricks, because they, more than any of the others, gave the garden such an air of neglect.

garden 003

My next course of action was scouring the woods for moss. I love the look of brick pathways with moss set between the bricks. I scoured the woods and spent a ridiculous amount of time tearing the moss into little strips and shoving it into the cracks.

garden 002

I also found some wild flowers. Two spiderwort plants and my dad dug up a big clump of daisies for me. And on Monday, my mom and I stopped by some nurseries and bought some plants. I can't remember what all I bought (bad me!) though I did buy quite a few creeper/crawling/ground cover plants that I'm hoping will grow and shade the ground to keep the weeds down. Yay for living mulch.

garden 010

I also attempted a faerie house. I am soo not crafty at all (as much as I try and want to be). Guess I'll have to keep practicing and hopefully one of these days build a nice-looking faerie house, as opposed to this one, which while not bad, is nowhere near as nice as some that I've seen.

01 June 2011

Kids say the darndest things

I fully accept that this was entirely my doing. But, you see, I've spent the greater part of my life learning about the natural world around me. So when Camden asks me something about nature, I am usually able to give a fairly detailed answer. I try very hard to keep it pared down, due to his age, but usually, I can't and usually, he understands because he's so intelligent!

So when we came across two cicadas doing it yesterday, and he asked me what they were doing... I told him. Okay, I told him they were "making eggs." He looked at me, then looked at them, then ran off to play. Wow, easy question with no follow ups. Awesome.

Later on, inside, he asks me to help him draw a cicada. So I draw a slightly cicadaish bug with a purple crayon. "I wanted it orange!" he says. Of course. So I draw another slightly cicadaish bug in orange. Then he asks me to cut them out. No problem.

I'm watching him play with his slightly cicadaish paper bugs, when he starts putting their butts together. "Look, they're making eggs!"

Oh gee.
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