Writing is my thing. It brings me fulfillment, and I love making words fit together in ways that communicate my thoughts and experiences. I love to read or listen to how others do so as well. It’s simply, well, my thing. On the other hand, putting myself out there (so to speak) to do something like starting this blog that (insert shocked gasp) someone may READ is decidedly not naturally my thing. It’s something that I had to build up to through the course of time. Sometime earlier this year, in the spring, I heard a podcast in which the speaker was listing her ways of being effective at tackling new projects or goals. She said that she simply committed to it, an example being posting that first blog post (even if you know summer, and a subsequent lack of productive momentum, is soon approaching). The huge hurdle of the starting point has been conquered. From that point, you have a foundation upon which to build. I took that advice and started this page 🙂
In our house, we do not make it a habit put anything on or in our bodies that would harm our health and well-being. Let’s be real, sometimes cinnamon rolls happen. It’s real life, and I have no apologies for that. Little things like cinnamon rolls on holidays and birthdays make for simple but fun family traditions. But, in general, we try to keep it so that, at least when home, our food is as healthy as possible without sacrificing flavor. (Even to the point of growing half to three quarters of it.) Additionally, we try to not contribute to the abhorrently wasteful habits that prevail in our country by the general habit of so many one-time use products. I mean, canteens are just as easy to carry around as water bottles. Cloth napkins are easy to throw in the wash. Sending lunches to school does complicate this ideal, but my thought on all that is this: Do the things you CAN do and limit use when possible of those you can’t. After that, don’t stress it. I had gotten to the point of feeling guilty when I would buy things like applesauce pouches for the kids’ lunches. But, let’s be real about that for a minute here. Sure, they’re disposable packaging, but, have you ever sent something like applesauce in your stainless or glass “leak-proof” containers? Let me just tell you as the voice of experience, it ain’t pretty, folks. So, in situations where one of my “perfect world” ideals clashes with the other, I choose the best ideal to embrace. Which was that they actually eat the applesauce from the pouches because it’s not a disgusting mess by the time it gets to the lunchroom. So, the fact that they’re eating applesauce instead of potato chips wins over the no one-time use products philosophy. Bam. Decision made. Real life. I make our laundry detergent so that nothing weird is in it. I’ve made deodorants, lotions, and hair spray. My recent favorite is hair gel. I mean, who knew you could actually MAKE that stuff, right?!?! At this point, I’ve lost track of all my DIY successes and failures to list them for you here. As I remember them or experience more of them, I will be sure to share them with you in the future. The successes are very satisfying, but man, oh man, those failures tend to be quite entertaining! (True even MORE so as a non-animal lover like myself ventures into the world of chickens & rabbits.)
Seems strange to name this “In Defense of Coffee” and not discuss anything remotely related to coffee for the first two paragraphs, right? Here’s the long-awaited-for connection! Many times among those who hold similar lifestyle principles as myself, there is a debate over the merits versus the detriments of coffee. Is it good for us? Is it bad for us? What amount is within the threshold of safe daily consumption? Let me just say right here, I’m NOT weighing in on the harms and/or benefits of coffee. I have not studied it much at all, for reasons that will soon be fairly obvious. I will also say that I DO buy organic as much as I can. As long as it’s medium or dark roast. And whole bean. And that it makes a good strong brew.
My conversation about coffee begins at 5:00 AM. Every. Single. Morning. (Almost – again, real life.) I have an old-school coffee pot with an automatic timer that begins brewing each day at this time. I have the OTHER kind that does the trick on hectic days when I forgot to set the coffee pot the previous night, sure. But my favorite experience for daily habit is the old-school programmed pot (Worth mentioning here is that part of my reasoning for this preference is the whole inner debate as mentioned above about how much those little pods of coffee are packaged). There’s something about the automated brew that makes getting up that early just a little easier. When the unwelcomed guest named alarm clock comes to call (and I hit SNOOZE), slowly the scent of a strong pot of coffee wafts up the stairs to my room, its scent hugging the air like the embrace of a loved one that I haven’t seen in months. In a deliriously dazed, semi-comatose state, I reach for my glasses and stumble unwillingly out of bed. By the time all the wake-up habits are done, the scent of this infamous brew has already begun to help my thoughts morph into something cohesive. And that’s without sip one being taken. The rest of my morning routine falls smoothly into place soon after that first sip. We can easily sum up this scenario by stating that no person wants to find me before Jesus and coffee in the mornings. Seriously.
This brings me to my points of defense. I am not contesting the fact that there may not be a ton of health benefits to this lovely friend of mine. There may even be some detriments. I just know that, with my one to two cups (depending on the morning) of coffee, I have learned so many things. In my personal devotional walk. From authors much more wise and got-it-together than myself. From people who have forged the way with life skills that I want to learn and then taken the trouble to share them with stark novices like myself. With learning how to overcome mindsets that could cripple one’s dreams, productivity, and effectiveness in this life. Am I saying COFFEE did all these things? Goodness gracious, NO. What I AM suggesting is that, if a little cup of steamy-hot heaven will help me be awake enough to reclaim a few moments of solitude in my little homestead full of people and animals, is it really THAT harmful? Choosing to claim that time as my own has been the single best habit of my life. I have progressed so much as a person with that uninterrupted time to learn, to study, to grow, to develop and pursue goals.
With all the effort to pursue a more wholesome set of lifestyle habits, I have learned that a balance will keep you in the realm of the sane. With all my DIY’s, I have yet to find a natural alternative to dishwasher powder that actually works. So we use the stuff that’s packaged as little as possible. With all my talk of and love for whole, natural foods, there’s the nagging love for Mountain Dew. And, ya know, so what if it happens occasionally? A very wise friend of mine talks of the value of 80%. What you do 80% of the time will affect you much more than what you do 20% of the time. With all my studying about how to be a good mom, there’s times (that *might* be happening right now) when the kids have been CRAZY all day long and the mama bear gotta get in her zone and ignore the noise to just reclaim a piece of her productive self in the midst of the summer. That doesn’t mean the mama bear loves her cubs any less. In fact, I find it helps to step away sometimes (while the papa bear is home of course, lol) to get perspective after a day of unbridled crazy. And, even more importantly, that also doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my ideals because there’s the occasional all-too-human day. After all, there’s always the next morning. And that stout mug full of COFFEE.