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Moral Relativism and Our Children

As parents, we all want to teach our kids about values, norms, morality, and ethics. We want our children to fundamentally be good people. However, our world tends to be torn between people who see morality as black and white or subjective to the individual or culture. Essentially moral realism vs. moral relativism.

If morals are important to us as parents then we have to consider where we stand on this point. If we don’t we are potentially leading our children down a dangerous path toward an ethical quagmire.

So today I wanted to attempt to briefly discuss both. Their points of view, their problems, their claims. And potentially show a middle ground, because you’ll soon find, the like most things today, they are extreme polar opposites.

I’ll try to keep it short and sweet, but philosophy and most of life is neither simple nor easy.  So please bear with me. 

What is Moral Relativism?

Moral relativism is the idea that all ethical standards are cultural and therefore subject to individual choice. We can all decide what is right and wrong for ourselves. You decide what’s right for you and I decide for me.

Scholars have argued that this implies that life is ultimately without meaning. It renders words like ought and should as meaningless and claims that morality is neutral.

Essentially, moral relativism says that anything goes, because life is ultimately without meaning. Words like “ought” and “should” are rendered meaningless. In this way, moral relativism makes the claim that it is morally neutral.

What’s Wrong With that?

While I love the idea of live and let live as a moral construct. It has a number of problems.

#1 Implies Neutrality

The question is whether or not morality can be neutral. Moral relativism implies that morals are dependent upon the viewpoint of the individual or culture. Which is true to an small extent. However, most cultures so have social norms against murder and stealing, which implies that some things are universally wrong.

 

#2 Infallibility

Moral relativists claim that morals are subject to the perceptions of individuals and their societal culture. However, that also leads to a problem.  It makes it exceedingly hard to come to any sort of societal agreement on moral actions. You can see this today in our polar politics with neither side being able to agree on the right course of action.

#3 Fact vs Opinion

Moral relativism is based more on feelings about an action than the facts.  We feel that a murder should go free because she killed an abusive husband. However, does that make what she did not wrong? Does it mean that she shouldn’t pay for her crime at all? And if you look at where that could lead, you quickly see that it’s a slippery slope.

From there we could justify that it’s legally justifiable to torrent something on the internet because we believe that Hollywood overcharges us. This may be true, but can we really say that makes it right to take something that people worked hard on for free because of our feelings and personal opinions?

And where else could all of that lead from there? Slippery slope indeed. Moral relativism gives us the misconception that we can justify wrong actions based on our feelings leading up to them.

#4 Contradicts Itself

A third problem is that relativism claims facts but then contradicts them. Even in the most black & white situations. True facts have no contradictions. We know that a circle is a circle. We know that a square is a square. A fact can be perceived differently by different people, but ultimately is still a fact. The law of non-contradiction applies to all facts. Morality, no matter how inconvenient, is no exception.

While it is a fact that cultures have different values to some extent, all societies and religions tend to have at least some similar foundations, which theoretically invalidates the argument as nearly every culture holds disdain for murder and thieves. They also tend to advocate that you be kind to your neighbor. There are things that are theoretically right and wrong such as murder and thievery.

Moral Realism

Moral Realism, on the other hand, suggests that moral facts exist and that these are objective and independent of our perceptions. Our feelings, beliefs, and attitudes do not affect them. This method is more based in logic reasoning, which may be why it sits in conflict with moral relativism, which appears to be based more on our feelings.

Problems with Moral Realism

So, I did a lot of research for this post. I wanted to be able to share the views, pros, cons, of both.  However, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding information about the problems with moral relativism. So I’m working simply based on my own perceptions of it here.

#1 Life is not Black and White

While I do believe that there are things that are absolutely right and wrong, moral realism leaves little room for shades of gray.  This implies that a woman punished for murdering someone out of spite should be the same as someone who murdered to defend herself. This is simply not true.

#2 & 3 No feelings or Compassion

It leaves room for no feelings about morals. It is an entirely logic-based system.  And we are feeling creatures just as much as we try to be logical ones.  Without feelings, we would be no better at deciding just courses of action than the computer in War Games. It takes out the potential for compassion.

And while I know compassion is a feeling, I think feelings do count a lot of our human experience. So I’m going to say that’s a two for one.

But is there a middle ground?

The people on the news and in the media would have you believe that one or the other is right or wrong. However, that’s too simple. I think both have a place. Just as I believe that determinism (that there is a pattern to all order and chaos/fate) and free will.  Just as I believe that there is a middle ground where science and religion meet, maybe even crosses over (quantum physics).

Personally, I think that there is still a lot about our world that we don’t understand. That we can still view as magical in nature.  Hell, everything that is scientific is still magical to me. It’s amazing to me that the world can produce so many neat reactions even if we can explain them. I think that our very existence based on our knowledge of the solar system and the universe is extraordinary.  The fact that our bodies function on such individual levels, each one having its own quirks, pros, and cons.

The magic of our scientific world aside, there is a middle ground for nearly everything in this world.

What is it?

 

I think that all of us can agree that there are certain things that are right and wrong.

Right:

  • Respect
  • Perseverance against adversity.
  • Compassion
  • Love
  • Honesty

Wrong:

  • Murder
  • Thievery
  • Deception
  • Manipulation
  • Bullying (being mean, hurtful, etc)

And I am sure that there are others. Again just trying to keep things simple.  There are things that we universally value as right or wrong.

Also,  I believe that there are things subjective to our experience. To our own perception of these values. I can’t define these for you. This is why there are so many differing opinions. I can share a few of my own opinions as examples, but these are going to be a little different for each of us.

  • A woman who murders her abusive husband still needs to pay for her crime, but maybe not spend as much time in jail. Or maybe she needs to spend one year in jail and the rest of her sentence be mandated to work in a program (potentially at a lower wage as those things generally do not pay well) that helps pull women out of those situations. How better to give back and pay for her “crime” than to help others out of the same situation.
  • Abortion. I personally do not condone abortion. However, I do not believe that it is my right based on my religious views to take that right away from someone else. Streaming. I stream a lot of things online. But I realize its wrong. I don’t justify it. While I don’t.

And there are many more examples. Just remember these are examples. Ideas. There is room for shades of gray, but there will always be prue right and wrong.

Think of the Children

As parents, we have to determine which of these views or to what extent our children are exposed to these views. We have to share with them our own personal views and help show them the pros and cons of both.  Only by sharing both can we come to a realization of what each means and what the middle ground may be.

None of us can exist at either extreme. Despite what the media may imply to the contrary. Extremes don’t work. They don’t empower us, the inhibit us from our full potentials. As with all things we need to find a balance. A middle ground. I don’t care if its a middle ground in politics, religion vs. Science, determinism vs free will. There is a middle ground to nearly everything and finding them is the way we find balances in our lives.

 

When we push to either extreme we have problems. In moral realism, we have a problem of not adding feeling to the equation of not seeing the degree of a moral. In moral relativism, we have the problem of ignoring logic.  We have the potential to ignore facts, both moral and otherwise.

Finding the middle ground is the reasonable option to balance both our logic and our feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Tips For A Well Oiled Home

We all know there is more than one way to skin a cat.  Not that we’d want to.  This is true of all things. I don’t care if you are just a caregiver, homeschooler, parent, or even working from home, there are a million ways or more to do just about anything you desire.

So today I want to share a few tips as well as show you an average day in my work at home experience.

#1: Priorities

It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.  What feeds your family and their needs. What makes life manageable. This is going to be different for everyone.  And a part of the process is realizing what you need to thrive.

The first thing you need to do is sit down and determine what those needs are.  Mine are as follows:

  • Freedom– Being able to do what I want to do (within reason). This is a big compent as to why I am pursuing financial independence.
  • Time for myself– Making sure that I take care of myself and my personal needs for space, time, and relaxation.
  • Family Time– Making sure to make connections with my little one and my parents. Family events and activities.
  • Spirituality– Ensuring that our family life is enriched. This includes getting my mother to bible study, exposing Freya to all sorts of religions as well as my own…and discussing questions we have in regards to spirituality.
  • Clearing of Old Projects– Over the years, we all end up with projects we haven’t finished. My big goal this year is to clear those projects off my list before starting any new ones. From sewing to woodworking, I have a number of projects to finish.  Getting those done will make my life easier.
  • Organization– I have been working hard since the end of last year to declutter and make sure that everything has a place. I would say that I’m about 60% of the way there. I would still like to get rid of some more stuff and refine where it is organized.
  • Cleanliness– I don’t expect to have a perfectly clean house. I gave up on that a long time ago, between all my other duties and the little one. However, I cannot tolerate a dirty kitchen and I hate it when coats get dropped on the floor.

#2: Savers

We all try to save time. I won’t try to put an exhaustive list here, but I will list a few things that help me save time and money.

  • Bulk cooking – When I make a meal I make enough to freeze for at least another if not two or three more meals. This way we can eat the same thing for dinner each week and I only have to cook it once or twice a month. I save so much time cooking and its especially great for busy weeks and weekends. It also leaves me time to make more fun treats throughout the week.
  • Life Skills – When I say this, I mean that I have miss Freya help me with everything I believe she can do. It does take a bit of time for a new task, but she loves helping and its teaching her valuable skills. It also gives me more time later as she can help take on those tasks. Currently, she gathers all the things I need for cooking and can grab her own plates, among other tasks.
  • Meal Planning – It takes the guesswork out of what we’re eating and it’s still adjustable. It also saves you on groceries.
  • Making my own cleaning supplies– Saves me both time and money. I can make one batch on laundry concentrate over the course of a day (there’s some waiting involved), with a hands-on time of about 30-60 minutes. For that time I have 5 gallons of concentrate that will last me at least six months if not longer. Other supplies are multi-purpose which allows me to take them from spot to spot and get my cleaning done more quickly.
  • Finding a flow to your schedule that works for you. -Probably the most important thing you can do.

#3 Be gentle with yourself

Some days you just aren’t going to get everything done. Things will go wrong. The important thing to remember is that you haven’t failed, you’ve just had a rough day. There’s no reason to be harsh with yourself. Or put yourself down.

I hear so many women, no people who are harsh to themselves.  We should never call ourselves failures and we should recognize that even we need days to recharge.  So next time a day doesn’t go as planned remember that you’re only human.

#4: Task Master vs Servant De List

It’s great to have a plan and a to-do list, but remember that you cannot be a slave to it. Again things can go wrong.  It is fine to have a plan, but if you don’t get everything done you need to take a look. You may have planned more than you could get done or unforeseen events could have prevented you from reaching your goals.

Again be gentle with yourself.  These things happen and its okay.  Being harsh with yourself is not going to make it any better. And stressing yourself out with more than you can manage in a day will only leave you more frazzled, less focused, and unable to accomplish more.

#5: What you do matters

It’s great to want to do everything but remember your priorities. What use is it to clean or work all day, if you don’t make time to enjoy your family or even yourself.  I often find on busier days that I’ll drop homeschool for the day or cut out something that needed to be done so that I can spend time with my family.

I know its tempting to just keep trucking along, but it will only lead to burn out and an unhealthy lifestyle.  It will leave your children, spouse, and other family members missing something they need as well. Your attention.

#6: Have a Schedule

Even if you work at home have a schedule. Having a schedule gives you and everyone in the house a framework for what should happen over the course of a day. Whether you have little ones or family members with dementia/memory issues, having a framework will help them function within your home.

I’ve also found that having a schedule keeps me grounded and reminds me of my priorities throughout the day.

My Day

The Daily To Do List

Every day I have a to-do list.  Here’s what it looks like. I prioritized the list by what I tend to do first, however, I always remain flexible and move things about as I need to.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner Prep
  • Chores (3-5 cleaning items aside from daily maintenance)
  • Dishes
  • Homeschool

Then I have a list of things I try to do for myself each day

  • Read
  • Reiki/Meditate
  • Some work on one of my unfinished projects
  • Udemy class

Schedule

  • 9 AM- Wake up, reiki, meditation, organize for the day, get dressed, etc.
  • 10 AM- Breakfast and Dinner prep. Valkyrie Cartoons
  • 11 AM- Cleaning and Chores, Family Showers.  Valkyrie plays time.
  • 1 PM- Homeschool
  • 3 PM- Play with the Valkyrie
  • 4 PM -Udemy Class for me, Tablet time for the Valkyrie
  • 5 PM- Dinner at the table
  • 7 PM Project Time
  • 9 PM The Valkyrie and I do something together (Usually a show and read)
  • 10 PM Finish getting ready for bed and put the Valkyrie to sleep.
  • 11 PM My time to unwind.
  • 12 AM My bedtime (not always great at following this).

#7: Be Flexible

This is what works for us. No one in my house is an early riser, my parents, even less so than I. I get most of my work done in the morning and the Valkyrie helps a bit between playing her own games and depending on her mood.  Once my parents are up things tend to be more unpredictable in terms of what I might get interrupted with.

Some days they wake up early and I have to put off my chores until they are otherwise preoccupied. It can make for an unpredictable day sometimes, but for the most part, we all know what should happen and when.

#8: Relax your parenting

Everyone is terrified that they will not do good enough for their child. We rush everyone to everywhere and over schedule ourselves. We helicopter parent not even letting them play outside by themselves. Our world isn’t so scary that our children can’t play without our constant watchful eyes.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I suggest two books I recently finished.

#9: Find Joy In Everything You Do

If you can find joy in any task you will enjoy doing it. While I know this is far more complicated than easy, it is true. And its something that I often have to work on.

It also calls us to bring balance into our lives. If you hate cleaning, then maybe you don’t need to focus on cleaning quite as much. Maybe it’s okay for you to have a messier house. I gave up on keeping the sink clear at all times because my parents simply are not capable of it and I can’t seem to manage it on my own.  It still bothers me some days, but I’m less stressed by not trying to focus on it all the time.

#10 Find Magic In Everything You Do

In addition to balance, there is magic all around us. Our very breaths are magical. So don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy things. You don’t have to rush about. You can take your time and do it near perfect and find joy in that as well.

Find joy in having your little on help where they can. It’s magical to see them acomplish and learn right before your eyes.

Find magic in how much simpler your life is. When you look at a loaf of bread you find joy and magic in the fact that you don’t have to bake it in a kiln over a fire. Or that you have a mixer when three generations or so ago that would have been a novelty.  You can slow cook things without constantly tending a fire. We have heaters and water at our fingertips.

All of these things should make us feel blessed. They should help us to realize that we have far more time to do things than our forebearers did in the past.

 

 

 

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Announcement: Delays

No article this week.

I wanted to start my study on teeth, but I’ve been delayed. I’m waiting on a few books from the library. In addition, the little one is struggling with my boyfriend moving out. No worries we are still together, he just couldn’t handle living with my parents.

This is not to mention the cpap issues as well as the plumbing issues. Between dealing with all these things I just can’t seem to get enough time to sit down and do more than this little announcement. I hope everyone has a great week and I’ll be back next week with more info….if not about teeth then about something else on my ever-growing list of topics to cover.

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Project Tooth Part 1

Introducing my latest idea: Project Tooth.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I’m going to test a theory. I found this book claiming that you can heal your cavities and tooth decay.  I’m going to keep this short and sweet so I can get to really planning the best way to test this.

What I want to know

  • Does it work?
  • Is it just another fad?
  • Is it economical?
  • How much work is it?
  • How much time is it?
  • What are the pros?
  • What are the cons?

And I aim to find out.

The Research

I keep finding research indicating that this is possible. Instead of detailing it here, I’m going to leave the sciency terms to those who can best describe them. Or at least to those who can describe them better than I can.

The simplistic explanation is that by remineralizing your teeth, eating correctly, avoiding sugars, and killing germs, you can heal your teeth.

After enough sites like those listed below, I’m starting to wonder how effective these treatments are. I want so badly for it to work. I would much rather diy my dentistry than overpay in the current healthcare market.

Check out a few of the proponents

  1. Wellness Mama’s post on the real causes of tooth decay.
  2. http://judenedds.com/   a dentist herself claiming you can reverse tooth decay
  3. Ayurveda channels talking about oil pulling, tongue scraping, etc.

The Plan

I’m going to take some time after Christmas to find a friend. I just want them to take some pictures of my current dental situation.  Once I have that documented  I want to post it with a discussion of tooth decay, its causes, symptoms, as well as myths associated with tooth decay.

Once I have my baseline and our general discussion, I’m going to do a weekly or bi-weekly update including the things that I’m learning and trying.

I know this was short and sweet, but with the holidays and everything else, I don’t want to take up too much of your time today. So go home, enjoy some hot cocoa with the kids, and I’ll be back with my usual posts each week as well as an update no later than two weeks from now.

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Back from Nano

Hello everyone. I’m back from my journey into NaNo. This year I used my time to work on both a story and a whole bunch of new posts for you folks. I’m still in the process of editing, but I’m looking forward to sharing with you what I know and learning from your comments.

Be on the lookout for posts to resume in a few days.

Blessed Be.

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Announcement

This month will probably be pretty sparce as far posts this month. Between the holiday season, the content I write for two other sites for cash, getting up my sales site, and NaNoWriMo, I will not likely have a lot of time for anything else.

But I will be back.  And if I have some spare time I’ll finish a few of the posts I’ve been working on for all of you lovely folks out there.

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Sugar: Toxic or Sweet?

 

Before anyone gets upset, I’m not asking you to give up sugar. That is a personal choice. However, I do want to make you aware of what science is finding.  Hell, what regular people are finding.

I know I’ve shared my personal health story before, but I want to focus on the parts particularly affected by sugar.

Sweetness

I’ve eaten sugar all my life. My mom has always been really sick so I didn’t always have a lot of supervision over what I ate as a child. If there was something sweet in the house it was often gone within a few days. If not by my hand then by another.  None of us had a good relationship with food. Neither from a psychological or a neurochemical perspective.

We were using it to cope. Sugar was a part of our bonding experience. However, sugar was hurting each of us and we didn’t even know it till much later.

Alzheimer’s and Sugar

I’ll start with my dad. We didn’t learn that sugar was hurting him until a few years ago when he had the stroke.  The more research we did we learned that there is currently a debate over what may be coming first in Alzheimer’s and it’s sibling disease, dementia.

Some scientist a say that insulin resistance in the brain leads to Alzheimers claim that insulin resistance tends to affects the areas of the brain that are most susceptible leading to less energy for the brain to carry out functions in those areas.  When you have less fuel your brain can’t function as efficently. This includes memory.  This is important with Alzheimer’s disease because over the course of the disease there is a progressive decrease in the amount of blood sugar used in certain brain regions. Those regions end up using less and less.

Others argue that the Alzheimers leads to insulin resistance in the brain. I’m personally more inclined to believe the first option, but the link provided does share the research on that as well.

Now, what does that mean?

Insulin acts as a key to let sugar into your cells. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin correctly it can let too little in.  If you are eating a diet high in carbs and sugars, that means that your cells aren’t getting the fuel that you are sending to them.  When that fuel isn’t absorbed in the cells, it gets turned into fat.

Even worse, if the cells are not obtaining the sugar as a fuel, it could mean that the cells in his brain are cannibalizing the fatty materials in his brain….which is one theory on how plaque may be developing in this disease.

Heart Health and Sugar

New studies are showing that sugar should be considered more dangerous to your heart than fat.  We are now learning that sugar lowers good cholesterol and damages arteries.  Even WebMD is recognizing this new information.  This leads to your body producing more cholesterol to try to heal the lesions.  Too much of that and you end up with blockages.

This video from Dr. Berg on youtube explains its all. His videos are great if you are looking for holistic information on healing yourself and your family.

 

Sugar and Neuropathy

The most common cause of neuropathy is sugar.  People with diabetes or some sort of sugar regulatory problem are at a much greater risk for neuropathy than anyone else.  Studies have shown that as your sugar levels rise your neuropathy can increase.

When you intake too many carbs, it creates too much sugar in the system.  This rushes into the bloodstream and then to your nerves. Sugar causes your nerves to swell and as they swell, it eventually cuts off the blood supply to the nerve causing damage.  This damage manifests as feelings of burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet. In addition to this damage, nerve damage can lead to migraine headaches, restless leg syndrome, carpal tunnel and Alzheimer’s disease.

Every day I hear people say, well I don’t eat that much sugar. Well, let’s take a look at one breakfast: Raisin Bran cereal, skim milk, apple. Simple. To the average American, it sounds healthy right? All I see is sugar.  I got this breakfast from an article about neuropathy and sugar.  According to their calculations, this breakfast breaks down to roughly 32 teaspoons of sugar or nearly 3/4 a cup.  And the average American is estimated to consume around 53 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Just compare that to the early 1900’s when American’s only consumed 2 teaspoons on average.

We are doing a lot of damage to our body.

And Everything Else?

Keep in mind, I haven’t even mentioned the obvious problems of diabetes and obesity themselves. We all know about those risks. What we don’t realize is that it is in everything you buy at the store. It is naturally occurring even in fresh fruits and some veggies. Processed and frozen foods all contain added sugars or toxins that break down into sugar. Manufacturers hide sugars in everything. And they are doing damage to our body.

Nor does it begin to touch upon all the other problems Dr. Berg and others have linked to this sweet substance.

What can I do?

The simple answer is to find out your carb tolerance. Which means you may have to make the decision to go off sugar and carbs long enough to get them out of your system.  Then you can start reintroducing them so many grams at a time.  I hated counting, but since doing an elimination diet, I have learned that my carb limit is somewhere around 40-60 carbs per day.  My boyfriend can’t handle more than 20. We’re still learning what my parent’s carb intake is.

If you want to get really serious you can go Paleo or Keto.  Keto is a bit more extreme, but that is the route I have gone. And there are plenty of places that offer advice, recipes and starter tips. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are Cooking Keto with Kristie and Keto Connect.

We use keto strips to monitor if we are in ketosis and blood sugar testers on occasion to make sure we don’t get too out of wack.  I will admit, I break diet on occasion, which does cause me problem, but about 90% of the time I’m on a keto diet. I’ve lost nearly 40lbs and still losing. I feel great, and the number of health problems I’ve experienced has gone down.  The best part is that the problems I have experienced both mental and physical both decrease when I consume less sugar.

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Stress and Caregivers: The Nitty Gritty Truth

If you are a caregiver, particularly to a family member you are going to be stressed.  There is little you can do to stop this stress aside from trying to look on the bright side.  However, there will be days where even that is a daunting task.  

On any given day there is entirely too much for me to do and not enough time for me to do them.  I have to cook the meals, clean all the rooms, do all the laundry, and the rest of the household chores. Then there are the finances. There will be paperwork for insurance, pensions, loans, etc.  In my case, there is also a small child and everything that goes along with that. I could go on and on.

stress

When there are too many pieces or parts to track it is easy to feel overwhelmed

My point is that it is hard.  There are days that I feel like a complete failure. There are days where things go wrong and I break down and cry.  I often feel overwhelmed or like there is no end in sight.  I’ve had days where what I felt made me feel like a horrible daughter or even mother.  

Even worse, some days, I fear what the end looks like. In my case, I don’t know if I will have a place for myself and my Valkyrie to go.  I don’t know if I will have figured out a backup plan. I’m always working on it, but that doesn’t mean I’ll find a viable option before the proverbial shit hits the fan.  

Feelings are Okay

The first thing I have to tell you is that all of these feelings are okay.  

You have a right to feel them. Acting on them may be an entirely different thing. However, it is okay to feel them. 

Don’t get me wrong. You wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t love them. But it is okay to feel this way. It is okay to cry.  You may not feel like it, but it is. I’m almost 30. I’ve been helping to take care of my mother for nearly my entire life. I had a short break from 2006-2014, but I’ve basically been doing this my entire life.  

There are days I hate what I do.  There are days I wish that I could walk away. I have had moments where I feel useless. You just have to accept that these moments will happen an move on.  

And even if you aren’t a caregiver in the sense I’m talking about, this can apply to you.  You may be a single mom taking care of four kids. Or maybe a single dad. You may even be happily married, but have 12 kids.   Regardless, it is always okay to feel the way you do.  Feelings aren’t logical.  They don’t have to match what we know to be true or our obligations, perceived or otherwise. 

What to do?

This is much harder.  The good news…there are plenty of options. The bad news…it may take you some time to figure out what works for you.  The worse news….you may find something, have it work for a while, and then be straight back to the drawing board. But don’t fear. Here are a few of the various coping mechanisms I’ve cycled through over the years:

  1. Counseling– You would be surprised how much it can help to just have someone to talk to.  If you can’t afford a counselor, this could even work with a friend.  It just depends on you and your preference. 
  2. Journaling– I used to love writing down everything I felt. The best part was that I could go back later and evaluate it and determine if I really felt that way deep down or if it was just a passing fancy.  Sometimes I felt something in the moment that wasn’t something I felt all the time. Sometimes that feeling was getting to the root of the issue and others it was just a part of the momentary panic.  But writing allows you to go back and take the time to figure that out. 
  3. Creative outlets– This is my current cycle. In the last few months, I have painted minis for tabletop, sewn more dresses than I have room for in my closet, and thrown myself into coming up with new and creative ways to homeschool Freya.  In some ways, this site is even an outlet.  It gives me a place where I can share and write and maybe even help someone.
  4. Yoga, Meditation, and exercise– I put these all together for a reason.  It’s just about what helps you get out of your own head. For some people that is solitary and sedentary and for others its about motion. I’m a little bit of both, so I use these interchangeably depending on what phase I’m in that day.  
  5. Reading– Sometimes I read fun stuff. Recently if I read for stress, its been self-help.  I’m going to list a few of them in the resources at the bottom of the page.  Sometimes you just have to work on you to get through the rough patches.  Maybe there is a reaction or coping mechanism you can learn to help you.
  6. GET OUT– this is a big one.  Maybe the biggest. You have to get out of the house and interact with other people. Every once in a while when I get really low I pull together some money and I take myself to the mall. Maybe I buy a new dress. Maybe I get my nails or eyebrows done. It may just be going out to get some guilty pleasure (I prefer lily’s nearly sugar-free chocolate or sushi if I’m ditching the diet).  Or find something you can go and do at least once a week. I have a gaming session with some of my high school friends nearly every week.  I drive an hour and a half to get out of the house and do something else.  

Remember Who You Are

Just remember its easy to get lost in what you do. It’s easy to forget to get out and enjoy life.  I can’t say I have it entirely together. I just told you that there are days I cry and break down.  There are days I don’t want to do anything (and I only do the bare minimum).  No matter how upbeat you are there are going to be those days.  It’s a fact. It doesn’t make you weak. That just means that you are human like the rest of us. 

It means that you have needs too.  It may mean that you aren’t meeting those.  And there may be times that you can’t meet all of your needs. I am an extrovert. I want to get out there all the time. If I could I would have something going at least two or three days a week.  Eventually, I would need a week or two away to recoup, but I love being around people. I love doing fun things. However, I know I can’t do that. So I take what I can.  For example, this weekend I’m going to a retreat with my friends. Next weekend we have a sitter so we can go to a social event together.  

We may only make it out together once a month aside from our gaming, but we get away from everything. 

And realize that there may be more than you can keep up with.  This does happen sometimes. You may end up in a situation where you are perpetually putting out fires. That is okay too.  Don’t give up. Keep working on solutions. You may find a way to at least dull the burn, even if you can’t put out all the fires at once.  

 

Just remember that for as horrible as your situation may be or you may precieve it, It can always be worse and you can always find ways to make it better. 

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Toddler Chores: Teaching Independence

We all have those days when our child wants to help with everything, especially if they are still little.  As adults, we constantly feel like we have limited time, and often we do.  This is particularly true of single parents or parents who are also caregivers to others. It’s hard to not feel the rush to get everything done as quickly as possible. It’s also important for your child to feel involved. That’s why we have given our little valkyrie toddler chores. 

Taking Moments With Our Kids

However, there are two things wrong with this modality of thought.  First of all, we all have to stop and take moments to enjoy our lives. A part of this is making the best of bad situations. I know, easier said that done.  But a child can make the most dreary task far more interesting.  You have to be careful and choose things based on age, aptitude, and interest, but your child can make the most daunting tasks more fulfilling.

For example, my little lady is fully capable of helping me stir a batch of cookie dough (and she enjoys it), but I can’t let her stir a hot pot.  She can put away her dishes (she has her own little table for all of them), but she can’t help me put the big stuff away.  And I can let her wash fruit, but she is usually playing with her Melissa and Doug food set or her kitchen when I am doing things that she can’t do yet (the set has a play knife and the sushi rolls are connected by velcro. I love that thing.).

And the same thing goes for my sewing. She can’t really help me with my machine, but she can pass me a pin or play with her little sewing kit of similar items.  She can organize her buttons as she loves to do or measure stuff with her tape measure.  This little kit allows us to do things together and it still is age appropriate parallel play.  She gets bored after half an hour or so, but such is life with a child.  I just refocus her and we move on….most of the time.sewing kit of similar items.  She can organize her buttons as she loves to do or measure stuff with her tape measure.  This little kit allows us to do things together and it still is age appropriate parallel play.  She gets bored after half an hour or so, but such is life with a child.  I just refocus her and we move on….most of the time. 

Toddlers doing chores gives them more freedom

She helps with the dryer too!

We Want Help

Second, we want to encourage our children to help.  We never want to discourage them from being helpful.  There’s enough time for that when they hit those turbulent and moody teenage years.  In addition, if you can get a child helping you out now, then they are far more likely to be inclined to do so as they get older.  If nothing else they may be more proficient in a task at an earlier age if we encourage them to participate.

Take a look at my day.  I work at home and manage the household.  I do laundry nearly every day between my clothes, potty training laundry, my parent’s laundry, and any other messes that come about our day. Miss Freya has a stool. I’ll hand her stuff and she’ll put it in the machine. I may have to re-balance it, but she likes that she can help. And I let her pour the detergent in. It takes a bit more time, but it lights her face up to be able to do adult things. When the cycle finishes she sits excitedly by the dryer putting things in as I pass them to her.  I can’t get her to help every single time, but I’m not going to stop her from helping.

Toddler Chores: How Far, Is Too Far?

I think most of this is going to depend on your parenting style, lifestyle preferences, and most of all, patience.  Even I can’t manage to get the little one successfully helping consistently on a regular basis and there are moments of frustration. A lot of them.  But as annoyed or frustrated as I get, it’s always worth it to see her happy to help.  Even better is her face lighting up with that bright bold smile of achievement.

In my opinion, it is fine to do anything that the child is capable of doing. Just don’t set them up for failure with a task you know they can’t complete.  And this will occasionally happen on accident. That is a thing that is bound to happen at some point.  However, that is when you just need to stop the activity, redirect, and move on.

Toddler chores: let your children be independent

The valkyrie putting her cup in the dishwasher after an early breakfast.

What Can I Do?

When I first started this, I didn’t know here to start. I wasn’t sure what would and wouldn’t work.  Most of it occurred through trial and error. Sometimes she taught me what she could do and we added that to the list of things we could do together. While I am sure that we have not even begun to discover everything my little Goddess can do, here is a list of a few of the possibilities.

  1. Putting away dishes. This is particularly great if the child has a place she can reach.  Below you can see her little table.  It isn’t always very organized.  On the bottom, she has any utensils she can use as well as a pair of tongs and some other small child sized implements I found at various stores over the last two years. The middle has her bowls and the top of the table houses her plates and cups.  It took a bit to teach her that they weren’t toys (or to stop her from storing her toys there) but it has been great.  When she is ready to eat she grabs her plate and utensils.  If she is thirsty she brings me a cup.  Most of the time she’ll even put them back if I tell her no, it’s not time.
  2. Laundry– Look at my example above.  She’s two and we just had to buy a step stool.  She loves just being able to do something with me since I”m always so busy.  And she loves our laundry soap because she helps me stir it when I make it.
  3. Clean-up– We pick up our toys and things together. Most of the time.  We’re still learning that everything has a place and it goes in that place, but she at least seems to get the concept of putting things away somewhere at this point.  In our home we make it a game. It takes time, but it works.  For example, when we put away her blocks, we build a city with them in the box that they go in.
  4. Taking Out the Trash – Now Freya can’t help take out the big trash bag, but she does try to help me tie up the little grocery bags we use in the bathroom and behind both of my parent’s chairs.  She tries to help me tie it up and often insists on taking it to the trash herself, either throwing it in the kitchen trash can or having one of us lift her up to put it in the big bin outside the door.
  5. Sweeping– The little one started taking an interest in this a few months ago when I cut dad’s hair. I had to take the big broom away so she wouldn’t whack one of us in the head with it. However, we happened to have a small hand broom and dustpan, and a new habit was born. Now when she makes a mess, sometimes she’ll think about the little set. She’ll motion for me to grab the stuff and she helps me clean it up.

Final Thoughts

These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.  Miss Freya loves to help me with everything.  Often when I clean in the bathroom she has a rag and is pretending to clean beside me. Or, if I’m cleaning with natural products, I may even let her help.  A lot of it is gauging their mood and catching them when they want to help.  Better yet, not discouraging them from being helpful. Each time you discourage a child, it just gets harder to help them the next time.  If I know I don’t have time for Freya to help me I set her up with a pretend activity or pull out a toy she hasn’t seen in a while to get a few moments to myself to take care of it.

Work hard and get things done, but never let it stop a child who wants to help. Children have helped their parents for centuries on farms and at home. Teach them the value of work now, while they are young. 

 

 

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Positive Manifestation: Re imagining Your Life

While I’m starting to get geared up to write again and positive manifestation has been a big part of finding that groove again. I found myself pondering what my problem had been. I was stressed, I was depressed, I was tired. But I had so many good things in my life.

I have a home, a job. A great boyfriend and an adorable little girl. And we moved, which brought its problems and adjustments, but it was a good thing.  Mom’s medical mess is finally getting sorted out and my little valkyrie finally has a fairly stable home. We still have problems, but there is always something. Right?

So again what was the problem?

My view.

Positive manifestation can make you the Queen/King, instead of the pawn.

We all have those days we feel like pawns. Instead of focusing on that, see the Queen/King you are.

We all go through phases of doubt. They come in tides and ebbs. We all have high and low points, but keeping a positive outlook can change everything. No matter how bad it feels that day it can always be worse. When you reach the peak, at some point you have to fall. Maybe even land on your ass.

Now, I know, easier said than done. And we will all fall on occasion, but picking ourselves back up and getting back to that positive outlook makes all the difference.

 

Perspectives on Manifestation

Now, I live in a mixed house when it comes to religion. I consider myself an eclectic pagan. We also have a druid, two Christians, and a wee on who could care less if we talk God, Goddess, or Santa lol. And we all live and let live. My parents have had their concerns for my mortal soul, but they’ve come to realize that despite the vast divisions in the why’s and how’s, we have a common ground in what we should do and be as people.

As in thought about how I got here, I realized it started with manifestation. When my little valkyrie’s daddy left us, I was at a loss. But it wasn’t long before I wanted my life back.

I remember wishing and hoping that I would find someone that was what I needed to grow and thrive. There were other more frivolous wishes, but all the important things are there. I remember wishing that I could find a way to work at home and homeschool the little one.(still working on that part). I wished to find a way out of our old town and house, with all its problems.

And a few months later I went to an event and I met him. And a year later we were moved. I could never have expected for any of it to happen, but it did and things are better than ever.

The downside?

But then, of course, eventually, I slacked off. You could say I lost faith, got negative. Whatever your personal description, I dropped the ball. Stopped believing that I could reach the next goal. I stopped focusing on the next dream. I stopped manifesting positivity in my life.

The downside is that all of this does take work, just a different kind of work.  One that gets easier with time and practice.  You have to make positivity a habit in your life for this to work.  This is something I still work on.  I have my down months, but when I can get my head in the zone, I have some very fruitful ones as well.

Now to be fair, we had a lot going on. Brand new doctors to replace the 8 or so mom had. New docs for the rest of us. Setting up services for the family, getting Freya settled, having four extra kids for the summer, and the list goes on. But that’s life. Like I said earlier ebbs and tides.

We all rise and sometimes we all have to fall.

I’ve found any number of ways to explain, both mystical and scientific, the benefits of a positive outlook.

1. GOD and the divine.

If you believe you will succeed. It’s a powerful thought. I heard Joel Osteen talk about it last night when I was working on this. He said something along the lines of if you hear the promise of God in your heart you have to keep your anchor down.

What he meant was that you have to stay firm in your belief of the divine purpose for you. You can’t let anyone talk you out of it. Not yourself, the neighbor, or yes, even your pastor.

And if you want to look at it that way it’s true for any religion, just about universally. I would say universally if I wasn’t sure there wasn’t one exception to the rule. I may not call myself Christian, but even those of another faith can find wisdom in another’s.

2. Positive Manifestation as Magic

This one can be viewed as either scientific or religious from (at the very least) a pagan perspective.

I took a class once in Louisville.  The teacher had a guest lecture done by someone over a cell phone. As we huddled around her flip phone in 2012, I heard one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard.

Manifestation.

The idea that you can wish for something so hard it happens. It isn’t easy. Hell, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy or a mental shift, but she considered it a magical path. A ritual of sorts.

I wish I could tell it like her, but I’m not her. She told us how she wished for a grand piano and it practically fell into her hands. That she had her own house built and paid for by 23 on a 10/hr salary when even her dad thought she was nuts.

Whether it self-fulfilling prophecy or magic doesn’t matter. What matters is that looking for the light brings light into your life and the opposite achieves the opposite.

3. A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The last way I could think of to look at this is purely scientific. And I’ll keep it both brief and simple here because a scientist I am not.

Hypnosis and many branches of psychology have done numerous studies ( I’ll link a few at the end) on the effects of positivity in disease management and stress.

There is also a good amount of conjecture about how the mind works. In hypnosis and other therapies, the subconscious can be brought forward to ultimately change behaviors in the conscious mind. I’ve personally experienced it as my significant other does it for a living.

There is also plenty of research into mindfulness and yoga and meditation among other mind-altering practices where people report similar results. It’s just a matter of figuring out how you get there. What you need to make it happen.

What now?

And where do I fall on the spectrum?

I like to think they all have their merit. Not a single one is right or wrong, like many other things they overlap.

I believe science has its place. Our minds are a strong magic itself. We have yet to explain exactly how or why it works entirely. There’s a lot that will likely always be subjective or unknown (because what fun would it be to have nothing else to learn).

I also believe that many, if not all of us, do have some sort of divine purpose.  I feel that some people are meant to meet and influence each other. There are things that we are supposed to do.

But I don’t like to sit around and wait either.

I want to manifest my dreams. I want them to come to me. Positive manifestation can make your dreams easy.  I want my dreams to come to me easily.  Some may say that this makes it magical, psychological, or religious.  However, to me it is magic.  I cannot entirely explain why it happens or where it comes from. It also happens to make it more fun to share with the 3-year-old.

No matter where you find your positive outlook it’s important to find it. And if you’re still looking for it (Or are like me and have to switch up your methods occasionally), it’s important to keep trying new paths until you find one or a few things that work for you.

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