Chaos On Serenity

Diary Of An Off-Grid Homesteader

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The Quest For Sadie: Lessons Learned From A Secondhand Purse

I have a confession to make. I have only ever truly loved one purse. She was a backpack handbag and her name was Sadie.

Just the right size and shape to hold a couple of my favorite books, crumpled receipts and wadded dollar bills, she had this amazing ability to meld right into me, so that I would often forget she was even there. Which meant I rarely took her off. Which meant I never lost her. She was perfect.

Sadie was an item of deliberate manifestation. At a point in my life when I was really on fire, I called her into existence. I knew what I needed to finally get organized was a good purse, so I stopped into my local second-hand store certain that the perfect purse would be there waiting for me. And she was.

Turns out, Sadie wasn’t the answer to my organizational problems.

That didn’t stop me from falling in love with her.

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Sadly, we were together for only a short while before my carelessness began to wear her down. Soon enough, her zipper no longer zipped, her inner lining began pulling apart.

Finally the day came when I laid her to rest. Saddened at our parting, yet excited to see what else was out there waiting for me, I began the quest for another Sadie.

However, no matter how many thrift stores I frequented, no matter how much I believed she was out there, I was unable to manifest another Sadie. No purse I came across could even compare to the perfect fit we had.

A full year passed and still nothing. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was again on fire. It was the day before my first public reading and I was feeling the energy. I went to my favorite local consignment shop and immediately loaded my cart up with awesome finds, including the perfect oracle skirt to wear for my presentation. So, as I always do, I headed over to the purse rack. At this point I was tingling, the creative energy was so palpable. I wasn’t surprised when my eyes immediately landed on the most fantastic purse I had ever seen.

Oh man was she beautiful! She was the perfect shape, the perfect color, a rich, grassy green, my favorite color. She was more stylish than Sadie, with an asymmetrical pocket in front. Just enough pizzazz to keep from being boring, yet not so much as to be trying too hard.

Of course, she was a backpack handbag style. The loveliest I had ever seen. I had been searching for her for an entire year. I picked her up and held her, reveling in my obviously amazing powers of manifestation.

And then a little voice whispered to me, look at the label. I hesitated for a second because deep down I knew what I would find.

I turned the label over in my hands and, staring right up at me, taunting me, were the words, “100% leather”.

My heart sank and the struggle began.

Now, I am not ‘vegan’. I eat eggs, though I try to avoid commercially farmed ones, I eat honey. I eat goat cheese and some other cheeses on occasion. In my weakest moments, I even eat Oreo Blizzards. I guess I would describe myself as (working towards) being an ethical vegetarian, although I really do try to avoid labels. They are just so defining.

Labels aside, my personal journey to (re)becoming a being of love and light centers around a continuous effort to grow kinder, more loving, more compassionate. In order to grow kinder, I have to think about and acknowledge my choices, even when that choice is not for the greater good. Sometimes I choose for me and only me. Sometimes I choose for my family. Usually convenience and affordability come into play.

For example, I would prefer to always buy vegan cheese or skip the cheese all together. However, my family really loves cheese. I can usually substitute vegan cheese with minimal protesting, but, depending on the day, the price can be prohibitive. Also, they eat a lot of pizza.

So often enough, I will buy the real cheese, even though I know and acknowledge that it comes with the hidden price of pain and suffering, which ultimately is a much higher price to pay than a couple of extra dollars or a little inconvenience. Yet, knowing this, I still buy it sometimes. Because it makes my family happy. I like to make my family happy. They love cheese. I could tell myself it’s just cheese. But I know it’s more than that.

So, back to my purse story.

Here I am, holding the purse of my dreams in my hands, hemming and hawing on what to do. I want this purse. Yet do I really? Do I really want to wear the skin of a murdered being around on my back all day every day? Yes, kind of. I mean it looks nothing like the skin of a tortured animal, it looks like a beautiful purse! If only I could just ignore that fact that it use to be a real live being that was no doubt abused and tortured before death I could just buy the damn thing. I have been waiting for this moment for a freaking year! And it’s only six bucks!!

I looked at Maverick, begging him to tell me I was being irrational. He is in a different place in his journey and could easily give me the nod of approval. Yet, he did not. He walked away, knowing that I have to make my own choices, knowing that I am simply attempting to use him as an accomplice, a crutch, an excuse. I breathed deeply. I tried on the purse. I took off the purse. I tried on the purse.

The struggle was real people.

But, an interesting thing happened. The purse actually did not feel good. It honestly felt as conspicuous as huge ugly zit. It felt like an endorsement for murder. It felt like a tortured being on my back. I took off the purse and put it back on the rack. My heart broken, I walked away to the shoe aisle, where I bought a pair of brand new $100.00 boots for only $10.00. They have leather uppers.

So what is the point of the story?

I am still not quite sure. I just felt like it needed to be shared. So many people seem to decide to do nothing in the midst of (perceived) insurmountable problems. They feel like their small every day decisions can’t change the status quo, so why bother. To some, it’s an all or nothing approach. Since there is no way to make 100% ethical choices without going insane or moving to a cave in the Himalayan mountains, it is easier to just not think about it. Believe me, I get it.

But what if we took the pressure off ourselves and each other? What if the first step was simply admitting, acknowledging that there is terrible suffering in this world and we all play a part in it, vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise. This is not about being angry, not about blaming and pointing the finger. It’s about just standing in the reality of what Is. It is my experience that from there things get easier, clarity sets in, the veil is lifted. If a person truly desires to become better, to become a being of light and love, they have to first acknowledge that there is a problem and we are all a part of it. Paradoxically, we are all the answer.

How To Become An Enlightened Christian In Six Simple Steps

I grew up in a typical Christian home. My siblings and I were all involved in various church activities and my parents talked often about God and Jesus, albeit from a strict biblical perspective.

Throughout the years we moved around quite a bit and subsequently did our share of church hopping. Most of the time we considered ourselves Methodists, though we did get a little wild for a few years as Pentecostals. By my teen years, we had settled into one of those huge mega-churches. You know, the kind with stellar music, fancy-pants coffee stations and zero risk of having to talking to someone you don’t know?

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My Three Dads!

Anyway, having grown up with some very clear definitions of what it meant to be saved, what the Trinity was (three dudes in one, man), heaven and hell, sin, all that stuff, I always struggled to be a ‘good’ Christian girl. I mean, I didn’t struggle so much as in actually trying to be good. That just wasn’t my style. But I did struggle with the shame that came from being a sinner, especially a woman sinner, (burn her at the stake!)  and deep down I struggled with not feeling so great about the  “Jesus died to save me from my sins” slogan.

To be honest, there were more than a few things I didn’t buy into. For example, we have in the old testament an enraged, war-hungry, insanely jealous God, obliterating entire villages of innocents, desiring sacrificed blood, and gifting out concubines. Then Jesus comes along for a little while and things seem to get better, but as soon as he is offed, we go back to getting all our advice from another ego-maniac patriarchal slave-supporter, otherwise known as Paul.

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And then there is this business of the all-male, Holy Trinity which is at the core of evangelical Christianity. We are told to believe we, as children of God, are the offspring of three males in one, no females needed. It would seem the whole of nature reflects otherwise, yet I suppose infallible is infallible. I mean, hey, who am I to question divine inspiration?

Step One: Ask For Help

Yes, I knew my bible facts. Unfortunately, rather than compelling me to claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior, they were repelling me. Something wasn’t right. I was actively seeking. I wanted, I desired, I craved to understand this God thing. The infinite energy that creates worlds pulsed in me, yet I could not claim it. It was a time of despair, it was a time of loneliness, unhealthy relationships, financial struggles.  I desired intensely to know God, to connect to something bigger than myself, but I was failing to do it in the context of mainstream Christian doctrine. I began praying earnestly for a mentor, thinking that a wise Christian woman would be able to sort it all out for me.

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Step Two: Relax and Let Go

And then something awesome happened. God brought me my mentor, in the guise of my best friend.  After (another) argument with my (at the time)  beau, I ended up having a rare and impromptu sleep over at her house, She introduced me to something different, something called “The Law of Attraction” by Abraham Hicks.

Oh, I was resistant at first. My old belief system was whispering, “this is the devil’s work”. When she told me it was channeled material, I almost suggested we hold an exorcism right then and there. But my mentor, wise sage that she is, told me to relax and just be open to the message, without judging it.  So I did.

Step Three: Be Here Now

Driving home with my kids the next morning, I felt noticeably better. Something had clicked. I understood more about the mysteries and the mechanics of the Universe than had ever been taught to me before. I was beginning to play around with the idea of being a ‘vibrational being’. I decided to pay attention to how I felt, noticing the contrast between feeling good and feeling bad, and choosing to think thoughts that felt good. I recognized how I was always in my head, rarely in the moment. So I decided to be in the moment with my kids, enjoying our Now for what it was. A major breakthrough had been made.

Step Five: Release Fear

From then on, things were different. I finally had ‘ears to hear and eyes to see’. As I scoured through my mainstream bible, I began to put together little clues about what was missing (deliberately edited, perhaps?).  Rather than seeking answers outside of myself (the bible, a preacher, my dad), I could trust my own intuition – provided it was not clouded by fear and doubt. I was empowered.  I began to work on releasing myself from fear-based thoughts and opening myself up to trusting the larger part of me that vibrates with unconditional love, the same vibration God holds, that ultimately is God.

Step Six: Collect Your Jewels


Now I allow myself to question freely, to pray for clarity,  and to trust the evidence as I come across it, whether it be an ancient text or an absolute inner knowing.  I am learning to shake off the fear-based lies of my traditional Christian roots, the ridiculous claims and ego-centric imposters,  while treasuring the many shining jewels of Truth. I have merged these jewels with new ones of my own discovery and feel incredibly confident and at peace that I am finally on my way to understanding God and by default, my own inner being.

What Type Of Homeschool Mom Are You?

Sometimes I feel like an imposter when I tell people I homeschool.

After all, when I think of homeschooling, I picture a super-organized, perpetually perky mom and her brood of perfectly polite, constantly clean, studious children. I imagine this homeschool mom having a detailed schedule that she sticks to like clock work, planning out her handpicked curriculum a year in advance while her offspring practice rote memorization and dote on each other all day. Hmmm… come to think about it, that sounds an awful lot like my sister!

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Okay, so now that we established my sister is my fantasy homeschool mom alter ego, lets talk about what kind of homeschool mom I am.

I am the type of homeschool mom that starts a cleaning project in the morning and by evening realizes the only ‘school’ we did that day was home ec.

I am the type of homeschool mom who makes a mountain of lists, outlines, and diagrams only to misplace them right before we need them.

I am the type of homeschool mom whose children wear pajamas all day and brush their hair only when we are going somewhere important (grocery store is low on the priority list).

I am the type of homeschool mom that starts a lesson, realizes its boring and pointless, and sends the kids to play Legos while I regroup over a bottle of wine.

​It use to be that I pushed against who I was as a homeschool mom.

I would spend hours creating beautiful schedules and chore charts, ordering curriculum and reorganizing our collection of books. Hours I would spend on these things, waiting for them to magically transform me into the homeschool mom of my dreams. We are now in our fourth year of homeschooling and I have yet to be organized or perky.

In fact, the only thing which has really changed over the years is that I no longer strive so hard to be what I am not. I have given up trying to fit us into a fixed schedule, as we are just too spontaneous for that kind of planning. Instead, I keep a nice loose tally on what we have going on. When something is working, it is easy to keep at it. When something isn’t working, we drop it and move on.

Once I gave myself permission to relax, we became way more consistent and found a routine we actually look forward too. Since we no longer have to follow a list of Things We Must Get Done, we can get lost for hours reading together. We can choose to put the books down when the weather is gorgeous and friends want to come over, knowing we will pick right back up where we left off tomorrow, or the next day.

So how do I measure our homeschool progress if I not by what we have tangibly accomplished?

I pay attention to who my kids are. I look for signs we are on the right track. I am happy to report my kids are curious, creative, and thoughtful. They love to explore and have adventures. They are able to converse with people of all ages. They are not too self-conscious. They are smart and capable. They are strong and responsible. They care about ethical issues. Most of all, they are happy.

This is not to say I don’t still pine over moms who actually stick with their curriculums and carefully chart their children’s progress. Mom’s who always have a clean, matching pair of shoes (and socks!) for each of her smiling, hair-brushed children.

The fact is, a part of me will always want to be that mom.

But, I am not.

And I have realized when I quit trying to be someone else, I can actually be a pretty good me.

And now some more pictures of my adorable nieces and nephew.

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So what type of homeschool mom are you? 

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