What I’ve Been Up To: January

Well hey there!

The last month has flown past while I’ve been busy writing, designing, coding, and, oh yeah – loving on my babies and my husband.

Here is some of what I’ve been up to:

Fighting the flu. The reports aren’t exaggerating — this strain is stubborn.

Finally answering (nearly) every imaginable question about going (and staying) shampoo free: Shampoo Free FAQ. If you have any additional questions, please ask! Not kidding -  I’m happy to help anyone considering this.

Trying out other uses for baking soda (since I knew it had to be for more than just baking, hair care and cleaning counter tops).

Watching Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame (Roll Tide!!)

Helping Abbie finalize her application to ASFA.

Inviting y’all to come visit us in Birmingham. Seriously. It’s on Jetsetter.com’s list of the 6 places to visit in 2013.

Continuing to update on the latest Resources and News for parents and educators of gifted and twice exceptional children.

Creating some logos, web designs and graphics that I’m super proud of. I can’t wait for them to go live.

Taking the kids to Tuscaloosa for the first time, so they could watch the BCS Championship parade.

And, starting today, this:

 What Ive Been Up To: January What Ive Been Up To: January
The Plan What Ive Been Up To: January.

I happened to catch a post from Missy, at Almost Naptime, where she mentioned the book and that she was going to start on it. She mentioned that it is an anti-inflammatory diet, and that even foods that are healthy can cause inflammatory reactions.  That caught my attention, so I sought out more information. I had a lot of questions and have watched her go through the first week and half (I’ve messaged her a lot… bless her heart…)

(Even though I do not have a Kindle, I downloaded the Kindle app and purchased the Kindle version What Ive Been Up To: January, and HELLO! I love the Kindle app on my iPhone/iMac/Macbook Air! Highlighting, bookmarking… heaven…)

By the time  you read this, I will have already weighed myself and drunk/drank/drinken (heh) 16 ounces of water with lemon juice (after weighing myself, thank you…), had a cup of dandelion tea for liver support, and eaten some flax seed granola with blueberries.

Why?

Because despite the fact that for the last 3 years I’ve been eating healthier than ever, I have struggled with chronic pain/autoimmune issues and, though I run 4 days a week, a slight weight gain. I want to find out if I’m reactive to any of the healthy foods I am eating, and I don’t want ‘slight’ to turn into ‘major’.

Speaking of my chronic pain, several people have asked and I still plan on having my IUD removed. Because I’m a new patient, I had to wait for an appointment, so I will keep updating here as I figure things out. It will hopefully be removed next month.

What are y’all up to? Do tell.

(The book link above is an affiliate link. If you purchase it using the link, I’ll toast you with some dandelion tea… thanks. ;) )

Making a Mess and Learning to Let Go of Perfection

MESS1 300x300 Making a Mess and Learning to Let Go of PerfectionRecently, I’ve been feeling like, creatively, I’m sitting in a stagnant pool of cold murky gray water.

I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve found outlet after outlet to express my creativity, whether thru drawing and painting, writing, photography, graphic design, knitting, quilting. Something.

And I still do.

But lately, I’ve been struggling to find that creative spark; the one that ignites and burns and makes you see everything thru a different lens.

I’ve been playing around with things, trying to fit square pegs into round holes and nothing is catching fire. I even signed up for “Art Every Day Month”.

Do you know how many days I created something outside of my work?

zero.

So I began doing some research (how uncreative!!) and went to the bookstore, and I came across this: Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes Making a Mess and Learning to Let Go of Perfection

One of the most critical aspects of growing your creativity is to let go. Forget about perfect. Ignore perfection. Give.It.Up. And that is the what this book is about. It’s easy, no-pressured exercises in making mistakes.

Today was my first day. And now? I’m so excited about it that I purchased a domain, and I’ve set up a flickr group.

I am so excited. Beyond excited!

What am I asking? I’m asking you to join me. If you can, purchase the book. Work through it. And, once I have the Flickr group all set up, post your creations there. (**UPDATED: Flickr Group is hereIt’s not completely set up yet, but in the spirit of this, I’m letting go of that desire to wait until it’s “just so” and throw it on out there**)

Please know: There’s no pressure to keep up with this on a daily basis. Create whenever you desire.

Let’s do this. Let’s share our imperfect creations and realize that art is art and a creative mind comes in all shapes and sizes.

(ps – the book link is an affiliate link… all that means, is that if you purchase it using that link, I can buy a soda at McDonald’s)

Read More:
Giving Up Perfection Follow up post
My First Mess

What Story Are You Telling?

Promo video for Don Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”

Always thought-provoking…

You can find the book on Amazon

ponderings…

IMG 1553 ponderings...

I love to write. It’s therapy. It’s relaxing.

My problem with writing lately hasn’t been lack of ideas or topics. My problem is answering the question “where do I write this?”

I had my own personal blog for years. Then I started a new blog with Randy, with the purpose of sharing our story. But I still wanted a place to hang my own hat  - where I could easily reflect on whatever: a book, a recipe, a goofy story from my childhood.

The issue is that my life is all of those things: the kids, my story with Randy and all of the other silly/sad/mindless/philosophical things I like to write about.

I think of a great post about the kids, but it seems to fit better on Living The Life Fantastic. I write a post on Let the Internet Help make Your Thanksgiving Dinner and put it on Modern Media Mom. Oh, and let’s not forget the Archer Creative blog.

So what do I write here?

I know that it’s in my head. I have plenty of mindless things to write about.

So how do I combine this? Can I combine that? Should I?

Sojourner

(Please ignore my unfinished, unorganized, undecorated mess… I just feel the need to write, and it’s overriding my usual desire to not let anyone visit my house unless it’s “just right”…)

So I’ve been on a journey of sorts for the last 14+ months. Oh heck. Who am I kidding — I’ve been on a journey all my life. We are all on a journey; sometimes we get sidetracked from the journey, or get too comfortable with where we are and stay in the same place for a long long while. Or we just flat-out forget that that we were headed somewhere. Or looking for something. We are no longer excited about what is around the next bend. “I’ll just sit on this bench and rest a little while, thankyouverymuch.”

Regardless of why mine stopped (that is a post that may never be published), I finally picked my journey up, albeit with shaky nerves, wobbly knees and little confidence.

All that to say: I’ve been reading a book. Don’t laugh. It had been awhile. It’s hard to find the time to read when you are doing things like, oh I don’t know… trying to survive. And even though my circumstances are now different and I’m no longer treading water, there are relationships, business, and kids, and the house, and OH.MY.WORD The Laundry! Reading a book is a luxury these days. I love to read. I especially love to read about other people’s journeys.

So I started with something light, fluffy and easy*

blue like jazz donald miller1 Sojourner

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality Sojourner

I’ve read this book before, but I’m reading it again with different eyes. When it first came out, it was quite the controversial book in some of the circles I ran with. To the point where I was almost afraid to read it. I finally read it for myself. It’s not without flaws, but he’s not claiming to be a schooled theologian.

I’d love to just post the entire book on here for you to read, but then the copyright attorneys would be banging on my door. And I don’t think they’d appreciate my “But I love my Internetz” excuse… Plus, Donald Miller seems like a cool guy (<— for those of you who have read the book, this is a play on a part of it) and deserves to make any profits from it. So go to the library and check it out or click on the link above and get your own copy.

Until you get your hands on it, enjoy some of these thoughts. And share yours with me in the comments.

Some of my favorite thoughts from the book (so far; I’m sure there will be a part 2 to this post)

From Chapter 5, Faith: Penguin Sex:

Love, for example, is a true emotion, but it is not rational. What I mean is, people actually feel it. I have been in love, plenty of people have been in love, yet love cannot be proved scientifically. Neither can beauty. Light cannot be proved scientifically, and yet we all believe in light and by light see all things. There are plenty of things that are true that don’t make any sense… (God) doesn’t (make sense). He will make no more sense to me than I will make sense to an ant. (p. 54)

From Chapter 7, Grace: The Beggar’s Kingdom:

(I realized) I was too proud to receive God’s grace, I was humbled. Who am I to think myself above God’s charity? And why would I forsake the riches of God’s righteousness for the dung of my own ego? (p. 85)

From Chapter 8, gods: Our Tiny Invisible Friends:

I felt as if believing in God was no more rational than having an imaginary friend. They have names for people who have imaginary friends, you know. They keep them in special hospitals. Maybe my faith in God was form of insanity. Maybe I was losing my marbles. I start out believing in Christ, and the next thing you know I am having tea with the Easter Bunny or waltzing with my toaster, shouting, “The redcoats are coming!” (p. 87)

From Chapter 9, Change: New Starts at Ancient Faith:

I said to a guy the other day ‘God bless you’, but what does that mean? I have been saying that stuff all my life, but what does it mean? Then I started thinking about all the crap I say. All the cliches, all the parroted slogans. I have become an infomercial for God, and I don’t even use the product. (p. 97)

From Chapter 10, Belief: The Birth of Cool:

I don’t think any church has ever been relevant to the culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. If the supporsed new church believes in trendy music and cool Web pages, then it is not relevant to culture either. It us just another tool of Satan to get people to be passionate about nothings.(p. 111)

From Chapter 11, Confession: Coming Out of the Closet:

(this is such a good one, and it’s long, and I wish I could just type it all out…)

Upon being asked to defend Christianity and telling the questioner (a radio host) he couldn’t:

Of the hundreds of thousands of people listening to his show that day, some of the had terrible experiences with Christianity; they may have been yelled at by a teacher in a Christian school, abused by a minister, browbeaten by a Christian parent. To them, the term ‘Christianity’ meant something that no Christian I know would defend. By fortifying the term, I am only making them more and more angry. I won’t do it. Stop ten people on the street and ask them what they think of when they hear the word “Christianity”, and they will give you ten different answers. How can I defend a term that means ten different things to ten different people?… “I would rather talk about Jesus and how I came to believe that Jesus exists and that He likes me.” (my emphasis)

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality Sojourner **

*Yeah, that’s sarcasm…

(**disclosure: the Blue Like Jazz links above are affiliate links on Amazon.com. If you purchase the book, I receive a portion of the sale. Which is kind of like a tip in a jar, no?)