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Archive for March, 2009

I have never awaited spring with anticipation equal to what I am experiencing now. I have been starting plants; potatoes, broccoli, lettuce and green onions thus far, with more to come. There is presently a blizzard blowing outside of my windows…and I am contemplating the summer that I hope will be close at hand. Perhaps this is the ideal state of being in which to consider that the coming of spring is like Deep Magic from the Dawn of All Time.

It is very magical, yet so predictable, both at once.

I wonder too, if this is not the essence of hope. Admittedly, I felt silly yesterday, shoving potatoes into a bucket of dirt, while my face was stinging from the wind and snow and having the expectation that plants will appear above the soil, which is now covered in inches of white powder. I’ll be hoping and waiting…

My pre-springtime gardening endeavors were brought to an abrupt halt, as I hauled Judah into the house. I was afraid her little face was going to get frostbite, as she kept plunging it into the snow, sampling large quantities from all corners of the yard.

Snow!

Snow!

I have carried on with more starts today, but from the comfort of our kitchen floor, with no fear of frostbite.

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Abundance

The past few weeks in Homer have been marked by the joyful visits of dear friends and family. Being the dear, generous friends and family that they are, they all arrive bearing gifts for Judah, who is a gracious recipient img_5620and is always impressed with New Things and their Wrappings.

I wonder though, especially as her first birthday approaches, at what point do we have enough?

I very much enjoy perusing websites and stores that market tasteful items for babies. I’m a sucker and when something looks appealing, I generally want to have it. It’s pretty fun to buy things. It is also a nice feeling to buy things for other people…and thats partly what I’m a little bit afraid of. Being a consumer is so much fun. Shopping can be fun, purchasing, giving, receiving, it’s all such a good time! Moderation, as in so many other aspects of life, is the key here. I have this mindset that consumerism is something to turn away from, but I so often indulge in materialism, and by default am cultivating that in my hopefully thus far untainted baby.

While I intend to strive for a lifestyle of simplicity, I don’t want to have to completely abandon ideals and ethics for situations such as birthdays, Christmas or other events where gift giving is customary. The sense of entitlement is so easy to come by, and hard to avoid I think, in the world we live in. Knowing that one is loved and celebrated is of extremely high value. Having the expectation that others express their love and interest by sending “stuff” is self absorbed and flawed.

I also often wonder what the implications are of my own consumerist life. When I indulge in excess materialism, is it enhancing my life? Notably, it is not. How many other lives might it affect? When I buy a cute dress at the Farmer’s Market, from the lady with the pretty little girl, I know exactly who I am sustaining, and in this small town, I also have a good idea what type of lifestyle they might lead, whether or not our worldviews might coincide and if I really want to give her my financial support. I do really want to support her and her pretty baby and her fine sewing skills. When I find cute handmade toys on etsy.com, I am compelled to buy them, not only for their natural aesthetic appeal, but for the fact that I love how someone is making each item individually, themselves, and therefore it is unique and of a much higher value than most mass produced “stuff” – and it is sustaining their own ability to market their specialized skills. I often pay a greater price for these things of distinctive value, and feel that generally, you get what you pay for. If something comes at very little cost – perhaps it is because it is of very little value. I would rather invest in quality over quantity.

I am hoping to encourage these values of mine in Judah as she matures. I really question how the current traditions of gift giving fit into this scheme. I am afraid that it is a mixed message. As she gets older, I think it will be important for her to hold the reality of her priviledged surroundings and understanding that means closely knowing those who are less priviledged. For instance, the responsibility of those who have more, is to share with those who have less. When Judah is gifted with much, will she be obliged to give much to others? In my mind, it seems like a fair practice to share the best of what we have, as opposed to casting off our leftovers once we are finished with them.

These are just a few of the things I consider when I think of what an immensely sweet and perfect baby we have…and I don’t want her to spoil. It is our responsibility to inspire goodness in someone so small, but who will be enormously affected by all of the negative influences in the world.

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I tend to get pretty uptight when people tell me what I should or should not do or will or will not do with Judah. For instance, “you won’t be able to carry her in that sling for much longer” or “you won’t want to keep breastfeeding once she has teeth!” It’s annoying. My sling and I have the ability to comfortably carry small children up to like, 40 pounds, and why would I want to compromise Judah’s nutrition because “she has teeth”? Mostly, people forget to think about the fact that others occasionally do things differently from themselves, and often do those things well.

Just the other day Judah and I were out for a walk, her snugly situated in her sling, and I carrying her. A woman pushing a baby in a stroller walked by us and paused long enough for us to exchange this dialogue: her, “You should not have a baby in there. Can she even breathe in there?” me, “Nope, she is actually dead in there.” End dialogue. Picture the woman with the stroller giving me a very disparaging look, and me walking away feeling impressed with my quick, but morbid wit. I also was wondering how she knew if her baby was breathing…I mean, she could not even see her baby in the stroller. I’m still wondering, actually.

Slinging

Slinging

Oh well.

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