July 28, 2016

A simple reminder.

My current Facebook status:
You know when you see just a tiny bit of someone's life on social media, and you admire them and think so highly of them, and then you get to know them through messages or emails or whatever, and they aren't anything like what you had thought? I hate that.

So, let me write a blog post about not complaining on social media, and then turn around and complain on social media. I know. All the eye rolls.

But seriously, I didn't realize this was a "thing" until I posted this tonight. Many people agreed with me and chimed in about being let down by this very scenario.

Recently, I had befriended someone that I had followed online for years, and shortly after connecting with real conversations rather than emojis on photos, I discovered that this person wasn't as pretty on the inside as her photos were online. It's so crazy to me that you can portray being a completely different person online solely with pictures.

A beautiful Instagram feed does not equal a beautiful heart.

Just a simple reminder.

July 26, 2016

Every moment matters.

This post is mostly for me. I used to use this space to process my emotions and reflect on things over time. I want to get back to that space. I need it now more than ever.

On Saturday night, my cousin David was in a severe car crash. He is 32 years old and currently in a coma. His sister contacted me yesterday to let me know, and I've been keeping up via Facebook posts since they are on the other side of the country. As of right now, he is stable. He had brain surgery last night, and the surgeon stressed to my aunt that if he does survive, he will need a feeding tube to eat, and tubing to breathe. This has obviously been a lot to process. I can't imagine how his close family members are feeling. I know that I'm filled with regret, and can only assume that David's family is overwhelmed with "if only" thoughts.

He had written me a letter every week while he was stationed out of the US in the military. I remember writing to him and telling him that I had started a blog while he was deployed. He encouraged my writing and spent most of 2010 offering suggestions on blog topics. Most of them were silly. Some of them were serious. All of them made me appreciate having a family member to confide in.

Realizing that David likely won't return to being himself again has me feeling very overwhelmed about so many things. What did he want to accomplish in his life? What would he have changed if he knew it all ended at age 32? We are the same age, and I feel like I have accomplished nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing.

I was looking at social media to try to see if there is anything that my cousin would want us to remember him by- almost like I was searching for some kind of major epiphany or something. The last post he shared was an unhappy one. It made me re-consider everything I share. Life is so short. Do I want people to remember me by a complaint or some other unhappy status that I share? I really need to remember to live each day intentionally. I can't continue like this, or I will be living the epitome of the saying, "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life". Working 12-18 hours everyday is a necessity for Rocky's medical bills and for life in general. Some days I don't even see my kids other than to ask them to do chores or stay out of my hair while I focus on orders. How awful is that? We are now more than halfway through their Summer vacation, and we've done absolutely nothing fun as a family. I'm buried so deep in orders that I have a feeling this is going to be another Summer where I send them off to their first day of school and think, "Wait! Come back! I'll stop working! Don't leave me! I'll do it right this time." And by then it's too late. And the school year has started. And the cycle continues.

David has reminded me that I can break the cycle.

Time to focus on the things that truly matter. Of course finances matter- especially in the baby's condition- I just mean that I can change my routine to make life a little bit sweeter. Because every moment matters. Every single moment. 

July 12, 2016

A sustainable lifestyle.

I have been sharing my heart over on my Instagram account lately, but I'll be sure to post a detailed update here soon. I always feel better after writing in this little space.

This past year has made us more aware of our surroundings and the products that we keep in our home. Focusing on being epilepsy safe, we are striving to use natural ingredients, dedicate our lifestyle to sustainability, and encourage our children to do the same. Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet. I thought I'd go over that a bit because the key words to me are "often attempt". So while we don't always make the best choices, we certainly try. We have planted a small garden, swapped out nearly all of our household products for non-toxic options, are a one car household, and have tried reducing energy use by using things like a solar backpack to charge our cell phones.

We haven't quite figured out how to get our vegetables to live and our weeds to die, but we have mastered a fully charged solar powered cell phone battery for important things like Pokemon Go.

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For some ideas on living a sustainable lifestyle, try the following:

+ Cancel your junk mail. If you aren't rummaging through the catalog that comes in the mail every month, call them and let them know.

+ Wash your clothes on the cold cycle and hang them to dry.

+ Switch to cloth diapers. I'm a huge fan of cloth, but with constant hospital stays with the baby, we aren't using cloth as often as we'd like to. I totally get it if cloth just won't work. But it is an option, and not as hard as it seems.

+ Make your own cleaning products.

+ Unplug unused electronics, or switch the surge protector to "off".

+ Simplify. Only keep the items in your home that bring you joy and/or use. Caring fir fewer things results in using less energy; even if that energy is solely your own. The fewer things you own, the fewer things you need to care for. Caring for things typically costs money, so this idea probably should have been mentioned first.

+ Walk more. Drive less. This is a given.

+ Be sure that your home is properly insulated to reduce energy costs during extreme cold or heat.

+ Say no to the plastic bag. Reusable totes are everywhere, and keeping them in the back of the care will likely come in handy even on a day when you aren't grocery shopping.

+ Recycle. Reduce. Reuse. Okay, I think that was a catchy little jingle from my childhood, but it's a good idea to do as they sing say.

This list seemed like a good idea, but I'm starting to feel more bossy than helpful, so I'll end it there. It truly is so easy to change your ways and strive to do better. Now off I go to practice what I've preached.

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