Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prioritizing - The APLS post

If you're a regular reader, you've heard me talk about some of the 'green' or 'eco-friendly' things we do as a family, like not using shampoo, using cloth bags when shopping, hanging laundry indoors and out, composting, etc...a while back I joined a group of other bloggers in swapping stories, if you will, at a website called the APLS blog. APLS is an acronym for Affluent Persons Living Sustainably. Each month there is a topic posted and anyone can write in and share their own thoughts on their blog, as a sort of 'carnival' as we call it. This month I am hosting the topic here! For those of you that are 'tuning in' for this post, welcome! If you feel like looking around, you'll find I talk about all sorts of stuff ranging from foster care to my faith, from silly stuff to serious. Hope you enjoy getting to know more about me =) Moving on to business...

This month's topic is about the decisions we make, big or small, that affect our actions as self-proclaimed APLS. How do you decide what gets to be top priority in your green life? What types of activities are a MUST for you, and what gets left on the chopping block?

First and foremost, I should probably admit that 'going green' hasn't really been a priority in our house. We do our best to make God a priority in all things that we do. That being said, I hear people talk about their reasons for 'saving the earth' and things like that and I feel conflicted. On some levels I agree, but for us, we believe God created the Earth and we are merely stewards of what He has provided. This type of thinking drives our decision making on a base level but honestly, on the surface, there are other things affecting our decisions too....Steph at Greening Families wrote a great post about Deciding to Decide. Whatever your reasons for changing your lifestyle may be, it's good to get active and make a difference.
The title of my blog is "The Good Life", which it is, but there are plenty of tough decisions to be made to make this the best life. How do we decide what 'green' activities to spend our time on? I think when we started all this, I was looking for things that my hubby would get on board with...things he would participate in, like building us a barrel composter. I looked for things that were easy and convenient, like inexpensive cloth bags at the thrift stores, or even better - free ones! I wanted to find stuff that would be easy to do as a SAHM with an ever-changing number and age range of kids in the house. I took things slow and we found stuff that we didn't argue about! Well, truthfully we 'found' things that we did argue about, but those issues were tabled in favor of ones that we agreed upon.
As time wore on, I found myself pushing the envelope when I didn't use the dryer for almost 2 years. I already loved to hang wash outside but then in winter it meant lots of clothes hanging in the basement and racks in the hallways. Dave wasn't always thrilled with that, but I made a commitment to myself to keep it going and find ways to keep it from bothering him and getting in the way. This past winter he didn't even seem to notice it! We also chose together to go almost 2 years with only one car. (That has since changed, but that's another story for another time!) I decided to try and bike 100 miles over the course of the year. It was a fun undertaking, but thus far has proved to be unsuccessful! As for Dave, at first he didn't like getting up much earlier to catch the bus, but it didn't take long before he enjoyed the time. How did these types of things become a priority? I think we do them now without thinking...we tried them, there really wasn't any large reason NOT to continue and we found many things benefitted our family in various ways.
As for what kind of things get left 'on the chopping block'? Well, we are trying to reduce our waste in this house, particularly plastic waste. Right now that doesn't seem feasible though! We have 4 kids in the house. I would rather spend my time making the baby giggle, building trust with the 2yo, reading, singing and dancing with the 5yo, and just being there for the 17yo than fussing over how much our garbage weighs or if someone brought a plastic container in the house! The Farmer's Daughter is beginning to understand this all too well as she gets ready to become a mother for the first time.
Another issue that just doesn't warrant the time right now is the car issue. It's nearly impossible for everyone to get to all their appointments, practices, schools and such with only one car. It's not worth the headache. I would rather have a million kids than try to curb our gas guzzling, exhaust polluting ways! I am not super mom! Going Green Mama talks about multi-tasking and just accepting that we can't do it all - yay someone gets me! =)
We are slowly working on changing our diet to eliminate genetically modified foods, crappy meat, sugar, HFCS and out of season produce that has traveled a long way, etc, but sometimes the kids just want a banana and I'm just happy they are eating fruit! We have found lots of local sources for food but we're still figuring out how these more expensive items will fit into our budget. It's becoming more of a priority, but I don't feel like we can just quit our old ways cold turkey without a little help. We're just not there yet, but I am happy w/the progress we have made! Jenn the GreenMom feels the same way because she suggested we form a splinter group off of the APLS group.
It has been such a pleasure to read this month's entries! I have been enjoying the chance to get to know more about my fellow APLS. Thank you ladies for participating and please, if you are reading and want to 'chime in', please leave a comment!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Music you can march to!

If you know me, you know I love music!! I think my mom had a lot to do w/that...she used to always turn it up and clean and sing and dance around =) That was a lot of fun! When I was younger, I listened to the Beatles a lot. I don't remember where or when I got a Beatles' poster to hang above my bed. I guess my parents saved it...which is odd (you guys, it sort of is!) b/c they seem to have gotten rid of tons of stuff since us kids are now grown (I'm not complaining, I'm just explaining). Anyway - my boy likes the Beatles, too. We heard their songs on the radio or on the Ipod and I told him about the poster. We checked out the yellow submarine book for kids from the library. Well, my parents brought out the poster and gave it to Mo! He loves it! It's in his room, on the bookcase. We haven't figured out how to hang it yet, but he said he wanted it on the part of the ceiling that slants in...anyway - our whole family loves music, but lately I have been really pushed on by music. I take the Ipod when I go work out and it's so awesome to just close my eyes, ride the stationary bike for 2 miles or whatever and let the music carry me away. I built a playlist - here's a sample of artists!
Rhonda Vincent, Gipsy Kings, Kirk Franklin, Celia Cruz, Keith Green, U2, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Journey, Styx, Barlow Girls, Superchic(k), Bob Seger, Steve Earle, FFH, Mary Mary, Tom Petty, ABBA and Hillsong...
A lot of times I have to catch myself to stop from singing out loud! Can you just hear me? "I go out walking...after midnight..." or "Don't stop, believing, just hold on to that feeling..." NOT!! I am not a good singer!! But who cares? I sound awesome in my head =) What kind of music keeps you marching??

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inspiration deliberation

Lately I've been thinking about all the things that keep me going, keep me thinking, keep me revising the way I do case I haven't said it already, I am truly inspired by a lot of my friends! Some of them are so much more intellectual, creative or disciplined. I get recipes, craft ideas and motivation to get out of the house from them! Speaking of getting out of the house, I am so grateful to live where we do. We go to the library, the art museum, restaurants w/real food, parks galore and the beach! Some things we are looking forward to right now are starting seedlings for our garden boxes and the garden box we adopted at church, wearing our rain boots to the secret beach, and biking around town. We are blessed to live close to church and Mo's school, the grocery store and a bunch of parks. Today I am reminding myself about the inspiration that is around me...even my kids keep me marching on! When I see Mo coming out of school, when I hear Fabi putting multi-word sentences together, when I see Baby Ray figuring out how the ExerSaucer toys work and when Leah opens up and shares some of her struggles w/us, I am inspired. All these things happen w/o help from me! Time marches on, kids grow up, all those cliches would fit here! But I feel challenged to do new things and meet the kids where there are at, even if that might change tomorrow!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Waxing. Well, at least philosophically!

Do you ever have those days where you wonder if what you are doing is really important, would any notice if you stopped and what's the point? I do. It's hard to keep marching when you doubt the reason for the journey. Lately I've been having a lot of things click in my head though. I have analyzed what it is that I actually do. I am a stay at home mom, and as soon as I say that you already have an idea in your head of what I do. But everyone's different, so maybe I don't do exactly what you think I should be doing. Or something like that. I do laundry. I load the dishwasher. I feed kids. I taxi family members around. I take notes when it is necessary for the medical needs of Fabi. I go to a ton of appointments for everyone. I really don't clean much, which is evident if you come to my house. I play outside a lot. I make speeches about rules and admonish those that break them. I fuss over what we eat and cook a little. I make myself available to my friends and family. That's pretty much it...So is it important? Well, obviously I say yes! But no really, is it? Would anyone notice if I stopped? Yes. The family wouldn't have clothes to wear and couldn't go to their job/school. Well, they could but it's socially unacceptable and generally not recommended to go places naked in the winter!! Having dishes to eat off of is pretty important to keep the mess in the house down. Helps keep sicknesses from spreading in my opinion. Everyone needs to eat, but not everyone in this house can make their own food. No one wants to walk to where they need to go, they try to avoid the bus and the little ones would never make it anywhere if they had to walk. Fabi will never get better if I don't try to follow what the dr's say. Getting outside relieves stress for all of us, plus we get vitamin D and enjoy time in the world God created! I believe everyone will be healthier and have less dr appointments if I fuss over the food - cut out white flour, sugar, HFCS, corn syrup, random meat from CAFOs, etc...all that means less future dr appointments, I hope! I believe in building community and treating others as God instructed in the Bible. Every nap and night time I pray w/the kids..."Lord, we purpose to love you w/all our heart, soul, mind and strength, love our neighbor as ourselves and love one another as You've loved us!" The point is that even though these tasks seem so menial and that anyone could do them, 'anyone' isn't. I AM. I know my job is important, I know w/o me things wouldn't run as smoothly and I know the point is that I am not doing all this for them. I am, to a certain degree, but I am really doing this for the Lord. No earthly reward compares to that which I will receive for acting in obedience to his commands. So I keep marching...!