Back on the Path

It’s been so long since I’ve posted here.

I have a problem with goals and dreams. See, I throw myself into them, as a rule, almost to a fault. When I started this blog, and I saw (slight) success when it comes to interest and readership, suddenly I wanted to do ALLTHETHINGS. Everything from scratch, mending, making do, doing with less, all natural, all local. I wanted to turn the blog into a networked business–advertisements, product reviews, classes in the community, affiliate links, obsessing over Facebook likes and shares. ALL. THE. THINGS.

And you know what? I lost the joy for it. I became exhausted. I can’t do it all. I lost my therapeutic outlet, my desire to share my story, stumbles and all. This blog is supposed to be about my path to self-reliance and a more natural, simple life. Turning it into my obsession wasn’t me, and it wasn’t what it was supposed to be about.

In addition, there were struggles and adjustments in our personal lives as a family. My husband was laid off for six months. We both started new jobs. I switched from a part time job to a full time job which was a career change for me. I’m contemplating going back to school. I’m potty training a reluctant three year old. I’ve been reminded that marriage and parenting are really, really difficult jobs, and it’s not always easy navigating the challenges. I simply couldn’t do it all.

Some things I haven’t been as diligent in maintaining. Our finances still need work. I don’t have time to cook at home as often as I would like, and when I am home, I’m too tired to want to do it all from scratch. My house is an unorganized mess and is chaos. I’ve lost almost forty pounds due to a number of factors, but still find myself lacking a true workout regimen. Natural medicine and remedies have frequently given way to conventional treatments, so I’m trying to learn a balance there.

In other ways, I’m meeting goals and making changes. We still support as many small businesses as we can. We buy much of our meat and produce from local farms. I do exercise, even if it isn’t as consistent as it ought to be. We’re renewing our CSA this season. I feel like I am a more patient parent who yells less and tries to understand my little ones more and their motives and feelings. I still use natural skin care products when possible, still try to clean with healthier, less toxic alternatives when able. It’s a balance. I’d rather be consistent with a few things than fail at trying to do it all.

And there are the victories. I have been under the weather for a week or so, and we still managed to go strawberry picking as a family for 45 minutes, and ten pounds of berries later….. These are the moments that matter. It’s the little things and moments that add up to a true lifestyle change, and not obsession and extremism.

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A Different Direction

This blog was meant to be about a path. My path.

I had all of these good intentions.

In the beginning, my main objective was to write about my family’s experiences as we worked toward a simpler life–I was going to learn to make do, go without, create from scratch, clawing our way out of debt throughout. I thought that, by sharing our struggles, our dreams, our hopes, that somewhere in the process, we might help someone else with the same goals and desires. And if we learned something along the way that we could share, well then, that would be great, too.

I daydreamed of classes, presentations–I wanted to share myself with those around me. I planned series centered around CSAs, farmers’ markets, natural remedies, recipes, getting out of debt, emergency preparedness–you name it.

I wanted to document the good, the bad, the ugly–the everyday things we go through as spouses, lovers, parents, productive members of a community.

But, like many paths, directions don’t always go as planned, and the trail veers suddenly.

I didn’t expect to find our family reeling from a job lay off (my husband’s), let alone months later still collecting unemployment, mucking through job interviews, phone calls, dealings with recruiters.

I didn’t plan on losing my way spiritually and desperately trying to figure out who I am and what I truly believe in as a thirtysomething wife and mother–shouldn’t I have figured out these things years ago?

I decided to stray from my career path of many years (teaching), and now find myself in a reasonably new job that I love dearly, but that takes up a different schedule and requires a new daily routine.

And as a result of so many new changes in our lives, I find that this blog will too take a different direction. It will still be about our journey toward simplicity and happiness, but it’s going to be less formal for a while–I’m not taking on any challenges, any scheduled postings, and I’m relieving myself of my blogging commitments for a time. That means that I’ll talk about our CSA, or the farmer’s market, or post recipes if I choose, but not because of some schedule I’ve set for myself. This blog needs to refocus on our journey and needs to be more of a therapeutic release for me instead of some “business” I’m trying to promote.

Sometimes, when you lose your way, you have to fight to find your way back. And isn’t the journey what this blog was supposed to be about all along?1376428_10101757308836059_1488033380_n

 

 

 

Explaining the Hiatus

I’m only behind on CSA postings by, oh, a month and a half. I planned on writing an entry each week on the experiences we have had working with a $15/week budget used at farmers’ markets and local farms–I’m missing roughly six weeks’ worth of entries.

Honestly, I feel guilty to a point. I don’t like promising things and not upholding my end of the deal. On the other hand, this isn’t a paying gig, and I doubt I have loads of readers waiting in trembling anticipation for a post on my CSA shares.

I’m not trying to be overly cynical–but when your family is still reeling from the job loss of the main breadwinner–it’s hard to stay motivated to write much of anything. It’s a day-by-day job just to try to stay happy, to keep going. We’re reasonably content all things considered, but it’s exhausting trying to make do, to wonder where your family will end up within the next couple months. The hardest part of this process is the uncertainty–what will we do, where will we be, how will we get there? Our routines are out of whack–I am working while my husband plays the role of “Mr. Mom,” a role which I knows leaves him tired and feeling out of sorts because he wants so much to work. He’s always been willing to help with the children, so it’s not that. It’s just that neither of us are really where we planned to be. I love my job very much, but it was supposed to be supplemental income and not the MAIN source. He never expected to be the one at home with the little ones.

So, be patient with me and mine as we work through job interviews, adjusted routines, uncertainty, and a new phase in our lives. I’ll catch up my entries in time. The reality of this blog is that it is meant to be a documentation of our journey, the good and the bad. It would be a disappointment if things were perfect all of the time, and I’d run out of things to write about. 😉

Lots of Updates and Exciting News!

I feel like I have been neglecting this blog a bit lately. I really haven’t. It’s often on my mind. However, between sicknesses and a new job and my son starting Kindergarten, and then monumental PC issues, the blog took a back burner to, well, life.

But, as I said, it never left my mind, and I have a lot of exciting news to share with you….

But first! (Nope, not going to tell you yet….ha!)

What we’ve been up to…our little family has been organizing our food storage (no small feat), learning how to can (applesauce and tomatoes and peaches, oh my!), dealing with all of the childhood illnesses that accompany a child who is now in Kindergarten (I am now a veritable textbook on home remedies for pinkeye, adapting to my having a new part time job (promoting a local small business, and one that I LOVE, that encourages sustainable habits in our community), and dealing with the usual money issues (yes, our family is horribly in the hole right now, and I am trying very, very hard to be positive and to learn how to adapt, with the knowledge that I need to learn accountability for the place where we are financially because it was due to many of our own choices–and some we didn’t cause, like a four year old car that died unexpectedly, while we were paying on it, and the battle that ensued when the parent company decided not to honor their warranty).

So, that is what we have been up to. I know I have neglected a lot of posts (my CSA and natural remedies series fell by the wayside), and I will do what I can to catch up as best as I can.

In the meantime, I have been working on obtaining products to review that center around healthier living, sustainability, and self reliance. You’ll be seeing more of a Country Living Grain Mill in a review and featured in recipes in the future (lots of recipes coming your way, too). I’ll be doing product reviews for Erba Vita, an herbal supplement company that specializes in seemingly everything (I feel like they have an herbal solution for every ailment under the sun), and Kretschmer Wheat Germ, which, I am finding, can be used in almost anything I am cooking or baking.

Oh, and did I mention that Erba Vita and Kretschmer Wheat Germ will be sponsoring giveaways???? 😉

Let’s start fresh, all of us, and look for the good in life. There’s always something wonderful if you look for it, and I’ll share what I am able with all of you. 😉 Thanks for continuing to be a part of my journey on this path less traveled. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Catching Up on CSA Happenings, and a Bit About My Choice to Use Advertising

I forgot to post about last week’s CSA share, and I’ll post about this week’s, too.

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Isn’t this a gorgeous share this week? Last week, we had peppers, squash, zucchini and cucumbers, plus some peppers and onions and basic, and for two weeks now–sunflowers! This week added whole wheat flour, pattypan squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, cabbage, and nectarines and apples! So excited to use them!

If you have noticed, on the right hand side of my blog, I have started working with advertisers. I have had many blogs, and I fought this before because I couldn’t find a program that fit my desire to stay true to myself–I in NO way wanted random companies on my blog. I mean, what if they were dishonest or shady? I refused to post anything that I didn’t get to have a say in. I found a marketing center that has allowed me to apply for and then choose who I want to work with, so every advertiser has been a company I love and enjoy buying from or using. For example, we are Honest Company subscribers, Merrell makes my FAVORITE SHOES, Emergency Essentials is where we go to for our food storage, etc. You know that if I post it, I use it or know it. So, check them out!

A Fraud

My dream/goal with this blog is to someday build it up to be a resource for others who want to become more frugal and self reliant in their lives and families. I envision a database where readers can come to find ways to save money, find bargains, research home remedies, discover new recipes–to get inspired. Someday, I might even have an online store that sells some of my favorite products to help accomplish some of the goals that my blog promotes.

But, above all else, my dream with my blog is to become a place for others to come to know that they are not alone in their struggles with marriage, parenting, finances, accomplishing goals, and so forth. Blogs have helped me in my darkest hours by becoming a place to go when I feel I have nowhere else, no one else who understands, and I have been eternally grateful for the words of others.

And yet, sometimes, I feel like a fraud, a fake, a phony.

The thoughts that run through my head….

Who am I to discuss successful tips for parenting? I scream at my children ALL. THE. TIME. I have even spanked my oldest. I use bribery. I sometimes wonder what I have gotten myself into. Our house is so not as babyproof as it ought to be. My five year old picked up a swear word. I suffered from postpartum depression with my oldest. I failed at breastfeeding and fed my children soy formula. They eat too much junk food.

Who am I to sing the praises of marriage, and how could I ever be someone who could ever offer advice? My husband and I have gone to counseling. We have our own struggles. We argue, and we don’t always see eye to eye. We’ve had moments where we wondered where we ought to go from here.

Who am I to pretend we’re eating better? Sure, maybe we have a CSA and are eating more produce, but I could never get rid of my comfort foods. My son only wants to eat chicken McNuggets and fries. And we eat out way too often.

Speaking of eating out way too often, why do I pretend I am frugal? I am swimming, heck, drowning in debt. I sometimes wonder if I might have a slight shopping addiction. I try to budget and fail. I have to borrow money from my in laws at every turn, or so it seems. My husband suggests I teach classes on stockpiling and bargain hunting, but how could I do that knowing someone might find out we’re massively in debt? That would make me a fraud, and I shouldn’t do it. Not to mention, I don’t know how to can anything without help, and I can’t make a successful loaf of bread on my own. We’re too reliant on Walmart and boxed mixes to ever pretend we’re self reliant.

I’m not eco-friendly. We don’t even recycle. Who am I kidding? We cloth diaper 50% of the time, and still use disposables at night and at travel. We waste so much and produce so much trash. Why do I even admit that I try?

These are often the thoughts that run through my head on sleepless nights.

How do I share these worthwhile concepts–self reliance, frugality, sustainability, more conscientious parenting, advice for marriages and families–where I feel like such a failure, a fraud, sometimes?

I think that part of this is the realization that these things take time, even when I’m not willing or able to admit it. I will never, ever tell you I am perfect. I want this blog to be the chronicle of a journey, and with every journey, there are moments where we get lost, or stumble along the way. I stumble and fall–a lot. But, if nothing else, I am trying, and it is my hope that you read this and feel that you’re not alone in pursuing your own goals and hopes in your life and in your moments of imperfection.

 

 

Public Service Announcement

Thanks a million to anyone who has taken the time to like my posts or to follow my blog already! It has made my day! I promise I will try to keep up with your blogs and comment when able…actually, as soon as I find my way around WordPress, when I know how to “like” and “follow” your blogs to return the love! Please know your presence hasn’t gone unnoticed!