Are you making any New Year's Resolutions this year? One thing I like about the New Year is that it provides a chronological date to start fresh or try something new. I find it beneficial to reflect over the past year and think of how I would like to change. I have been debating over what to call them...resolutions? goals?...neh. They are more like my ideas on how I can live better. Maybe I'll call it my Living Better List. Some are things I might want to try, and see how they work for our family. So far I've just identified a few categories with some brainstormed ideas in each. My categories:
Ecological choices - Don't we all have something we could do to make us better stewards of this planet? Personal - What do you want to do different for yourself? Family Health - How can I improve my family's health this year? Spiritual - What attitudes or choices do I need to change?
I will let you know when my list is finalized. Do you have a Living Better List? What kind of changes would you like to make this year? Go ahead, post a comment and share...
This Christmas a friend of mine sent me a Christmas letter that shared a reflection on the difference between Expectations and Expectancy. We often expect people to behave in certain way and then are disapointed, angry, or frustrated when they do not. On the other hand when we have an attitude of expectancy, we are open to different possibilites of how people will react, but understand that others don't necessarily share our same values or worldview, and are accepting of the fact that we don't have control over their reaction. This frees us up to enjoy being in the moment, and allows us to accept situations and people as they are. I think living with expectancy instead of expectations, is a healthy attitude that can help us year-round.
This Christmas, I made my daughter a doll. I would never have attempted it, if it weren't for my friend, who was making several herself. If she wouldn't have led me through it step by step, I think I would have never been able to do it. I do not have a lot of experience with crafts, and I am not very patient through the process. I want to do it quickly and easily and as those of you who do crafts will know, there is often a lot of doing, undoing, and redoing involved in the process.
Although there was quite a bit of frustration involved in the process, I am glad that I made her a doll. I like the idea of making something instead of buying it. Of course there is more work involved in a homemade gift, but that is precisely what makes it so special. I like that this doll doesn't look commercial. There is no plastic or other synthetic materials, just wool, fabric and millet. This specific doll is a Waldorf heavy baby(a small version). The millet gives it weight and substance, as well as absorbs body heat, so that if a child sleeps with this baby, he/she will feel like they have a warm companion laying by their side. We also put a bit of lavender essential oil in it, so it smells great and promotes relaxation.
The picture above is the finished product. What do you think?
I had a funny conversation with Papi yesterday on the telephone. I made tacos for dinner, forgetting the I had already used up the last of the cheese, whoops! So, he stopped at the store. Now keep in mind, this guy has only done grocery shopping for me once, and we must have spent a good 10 minutes on the phone which is a lot considering the list had maybe 10 items on it. Needless to say, he doesn't have any idea what products I buy or where they are located. Here's what was said once he found the cheese section...
Papi - Que tipo de queso quieres? (What kind of cheese do you want?) Mami - El que dice Mild Cheddar. (The one that says Mild Cheddar.) Papi - Como se ve? (How does it look?) Mami - Esta en una bolsa. Es de color anaranjado el queso. (It's in a bag. It's orange cheese.) Papi - No mas tienen blanco. (They only have white.) Mami - No, tienen anaranjado tambien. Buscalo. (No, they have orange too. Look for it.) Papi - El que ya esta hecho gusanitos? (The one that's already made into little worms?) Mami - Si, traigame uno que dice Kraft. (Yes, bring me one that says Kraft.) Papi - You want me to bring you crap? Mami - No, mi amor Kraft. K-R-A-F-T. (No, my love Kraft.) Papi - Oh, ok. Ya lo encontre. (Now I found it.) Mami - Que bien. Gracias. (Good. Thanks.) Papi - Ahorita llego a casa. (I'll be home in a bit.)
Ay, the things a girl has to do to get some cheese around here. :)
Have you been to the website http://www.storyofstuff.com/? If you have not seen this video, you should. It's only 20 minutes, and the information in it is of critical importance.
Here is my summary and commentary about this clip: It examines the process of making, buying, and disposing of stuff. The first problem with the current system is that we are using way too much stuff! Did you know that in the last 3 decades we have used 1/3 of our Earth's resources. GONE! The second problem is that we (in the U.S.) are using more far more of the resources. We are 5% of the world's population using 30% of the world's resources. We are taking more than our fair share. Here is what this tells me: we are saying with our lifestyle that we have more value than others, and that we have more of a right to the stuff than others. We say this indirectly by just taking what doesn't belong to us. Sadly, those that don't consume in this system, don't have a say in it, and are being taken advantage of. This system, in which we partake, creates poverty. Other people are paying for the things we buy...How? When we buy a product, the price we pay for it could not possibly pay for the raw materials, the extraction/creation of those materials, a fair living wage for those working to produce it, their healthcare, the production and distribution of the product, the salary of those working in the store to sell it, etc. So, others pay with their resources, environment, working condition, wages, and so on.
Later, she talks about the number of synthetic chemicals involved in the production of the things we buy. There are thousands of synthetic chemicals being used today, and only hundreds of them have been tested. How is this affecting our bodies and environment without us even knowing? For example, flame retardants - they are neurotoxins (they affect our brain), yet manufacturers douse pillows in them and we sleep on them 8 hours a night, so our heads don't start on fire when we are sleeping...who thought of that?! Flame retardants are in everything from sofas to childrens' pajamas. With all the technology and intellect in this country, we can't find a better way? Unfortunately, the ones paying the price for this are babies, who are receiving higher levels than ever of toxic chemicals through breastmilk. Shouldn't we protect them from toxic chemicals?
We have too much stuff! We have twice as much stuff as people 50 years ago. And, of all the stuff we buy, 99% of it is trashed within 6 months. We shop 3-4 times more than people in Europe. This produces a lot of trash! Recycling does help to reduce that, but did you know that for every pound of trash we produce in our household, there were 70 more pounds involved in the production of the stuff we throw out?
This system does not work! It is not responsible, moral, just, or sustainable to continue as we are. Fortunately, there are other ways. I know the tempation is to hear information like this, feel bad, but then go on living the way we have been. Why? Because we don't feel the effects in our daily lives, and well it's just easier to go with the flow of what everyone else is doing, and of course, it is convenient. Also, change is difficult, especially if that change costs us something. BUT, what if we don't change? How does that affect us, our children, the environment, and others, our "neighbors" on this planet? We MUST change. I MUST change. I need to make changes in my lifestyle, and I hope you will join me. I will discuss things we can do in my blog in the following days. We can change and those changes do make a difference!
We sometimes refer to our daughter as Chilipuca (pronouced Chee-lee-pooh-kah). Chilipuca in El Salvador means bean, or so Papi tells me...I'm not sure if it's just a regional word, or a slang, but you won't find it in the dictionary. I don't know what our daughter has in common with a bean, but the word sounded fun to me, so it stuck. Most times now we call her Chili for short. Since I decided not to use names in our blog, she will be referred to here as Chili. Chilipuca, kind of a fun word, don't you think? Can you say it five times fast?
After following other people's blogs, I decided to start one of my own. The challenge will be getting it set up how I want because I am not an expert with technology. Bare with me, as I take baby steps.
I hope for this to be a place to share general updates and to put my own thoughts and ponderings. I hope you enjoy it!
Advocate of natural, healthy and sustainable living. I am a teacher by trade, who is currently staying home to raise my daughters. We are a culturally mixed, bilingual family. We speak Spanish at home, and English when we are out and about.