Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anger

"My anger protected me only for a short time; anger wearies itself out and truth comes in."-C.S. Lewis

He bubbles up and ignites within me, and I am not supposed to feel him.  My face burns and I run up stairs to my room to bury my teenage head under the covers and cry.  I'm not supposed to name him.  But he is there.  You know those verses about '...be angry and sin not' and anger not being good.  So I decide it is better not to feel him.  I ignore him for the most part.  I pretend he never visits, except in the night hours when the lights are turned out, and I can hide my face under the blankets and cry hot tears.
......
"You're mad," she tells me.  "I can tell you are angry with me."  I quicken my pace down the back road from the park, and dodge into a storefront.  She persists.  "You can't treat other people like this when your mad.  You can't run and hide, and pretend I don't exist."  She followed me to the shelf with the trinkets on it.  I finger the figurine of the little blue bear, while all I want to do is go and hide my head and cry.  Anger, I'd been taught, was a shameful feeling.  

She is my friend, and I don't want to hurt her.  At least when she is angry with me, she talks in even tones, and expresses herself.  She doesn't unleash her anger on me.  In tenderness, she still makes me breakfast.  She laughs at my jokes.  She still thinks I am worth knowing.  And I start to heal.  Her love and kind truth balm up my brokenness teaching me about love, truth and forgiveness.
.....
"You are angry," he tells me.  And I admit it.  "Yes, I am," I say.  I ask for some personal space to process and he gives it to me.  I've learned that anger can be felt and dealt with appropriately.  But this choice not to feel him is a non-choice.  Because eventually he brews venom and spits it, wrapping his nasty claws around his victims.  To stew, to make a meal of him, and then pretend he doesn't exist only breeds bitterness.  He does exist, and he and I have made peace, not through hot tears and hiding, but through truth in love.




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nobody Pays for Poetry, But Somebody Still Writes

“All world views yield poetry to those who believe them by the mere fact of being believed. And nearly all have certain poetical merits whether you believe them or not. This is what we should expect. Man is a poetical animal and touches nothing which he does not adorn.”- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, "Is Theology Poetry?"

A handful of journals sit on my shelf filled with thoughts from junior high through college.  Notebooks of handwritten poetry written in evolving script.  "These are quite good," she told me.  "You ought to consider publishing them."  But there is no market for poetry. Yet my eyes, my mind work in poetry.

"We can write a song," I say.
He grins, and says, "That will take too long."
"Does he know me?" I wonder to myself.
I take a day with the piano, and work a tune.  My fingers work over the black and white keys, my mind calculating.   The words come next.
The next week, I play the tune.  I show the text.
He smiles, and says, "You're fast."

And yet as a teen, this is what I would do, days on end.  I'd create tunes and texts.  I'd sing my history lessons, or make up songs just to remember facts.  I'd do this, my mind zealously ablaze and at work.
 "We can write our wedding vows," I say.  He agrees.  "We can."
We take a few weeks and get it perfect.
Something happens when one's words are strung together on a page. 

She paints a picture in yellow, and I think of the story behind the picture.  Our hearts, lives were made for this.  Our own act of creativity mimics our worldview, and that piece in us that was created for the eternal. 


She asks me, "When you play the piano, do you see colors?"
"No, " I say.  "It just feel right."
"Can you read the notes?" she asks.
"Yes," I say, "But they bind me.  If I am creating, I hear what comes next. I can't write a piece and create it at the same time."
"Will you play for others?" she asks.  And my stomach immediately ties itself in knots.  "No. I can't."
"But they'd like this, they'd really like to hear," she says.
The thought of presenting what is so close to my heart to an audience brings my stomach to my throat.  "I can't, " I say.  I wrote these for an audience of one.
The thought of playing piano in front of an audience brings back memories of pressure-filled piano recitals, or in church.  I was supposed to be able to play those songs so that others could sing or follow.  But my hands would trip over the notes as I read them.  My palms would sweat.
"Can you write down your songs?" she asks. 
"No.  I don't know how to."

"Can you play?" he asks.
"Yes," I answer.
I put the Skype headphones near the piano, and he listens.
 He asks what the thought behind the song was, that song written in a minor key.

And I know that this gift is different than others.  It is mine.  I keep it close to my heart.

I once described his Grandma as 'deep waters'.  There seemed to be so much below the surface, so much that one didn't see when first meeting her.  I think each person now is somewhat like deep waters.  There are aspects about people that you don't understand or see until you know them really well. 

The hands paint, write.  The mind, curiously alive with ideas.  The heart, feeling more than one could express.  Personality reflected in our works.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moving



"To return means to revisit the strange feeling of being both visitor and resident, as if we are absentee owners holding titles to the property of the past. On the one hand, we know that this place will never again be home. On the other, we know it will always be home."
Bob Welch from Things That Matter Most


It is a strange dichotomy, this returning home.  
Like a fragrance from the past, it follows you, your story.  
So different from others, beautifully unique.
It is yours.  The sights. The smells.  The living.
It is your life.  Live it well.  Tell your story.
We left.  Our bags packed, jammed into a taxi that was almost sagging to the ground.  8 years of memories stuffed into 4 duffel bags.  They don't tell you you'll feel like this when you leave.  They don't tell you that the breaking, the remaking, the putting-back together of a dream sometimes takes leaving to begin.

We left. And some would say 'failed'.  As we struggle to relate, to love, to put back together and trust, we know that leaving does not mean deserting.  It doesn't mean one ceases to care, or that this dream has been abandoned.  It doesn't mean we don't think about our life and how we can best spend it.  It doesn't mean we don't feel the pain of deferred hope, or the sadness of missed friends.   Somehow these pieces will fit back together in their own time.

"We have a few weeks and then we will need to make some hard decisions."
I knew it would come to this. It always does.  Risks, decisions, the future. 
Being an adult doesn't release one from the responsibility of decisions.
"I know," I said.
A few weeks pass, and we choose.  We must.
I understand the gravity of our decision.  We'd done a whole lot of living in that apartment.  Meals and laughter shared with friends, and sorrow shared by a close few. 

"Here's our shelves, and our dryer, you can have them," I say. These pieces of my life, they are small.  I haven't had a lot.  She lets me hold her baby, that baby's hair all mussed from a nap.  "Where did you have her?" I ask.  And she tells me at the hospital around the corner last August.  I look into the baby's chocolate eyes that melt my heart, and I say, "She's beautiful."  And I know that she was probably there when I was there.  I hand the baby back, and leave with my husband, feeling the sadness of hope deferred, yet the joy of life given.

We sort out and give away belongings, and know that life isn't what we have or can pack into four large duffel bags.  I stress over what to pack, and what to give away.  My husband tells me stuff is replaceable, and to take what matters.  So he helps his girl, this girl who is so sentimental over every little thing that has been given with love.  And I let go.  They don't tell you the joy you'll get from giving is sometimes mingled with sorrow.   That the gift you give, sometimes you must give out of your pain.  And sometimes, the leaving brings hope that you cannot experience if you stayed.  They don't tell you that moving tires you, and feels so much like ending and beginning. 

They don't tell you that what is on the other side will be better than you can expect or imagine.  The ocean must be crossed, the risk must be taken, the life must be laid down to understand it isn't in the moving, it is in how you've lived and what you've lived for. 

How do you choose courageous living in a world that encourages comfort and safety?


 



 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Risk

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."  -Anais  Nin

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot

I coughed nervously and my stomach tied itself in knots. "Okay.  No problem." I'd say.  Inside I'd wonder if I really was able to do what they thought I could do.  "How did I get this job?" I'd ask myself and I'd think of how predictable the last few years had been.  No deadlines.  No words.  Journals.  Thoughts.  Occasional letters.  Students.  People.  Language Classes.  Piano lessons.  Creative endeavors.  Now one day would bleed into the next writing and research project.

 I lived in a small apartment, and my room was floored with dark mahogany wood. It was about 9 by 8.  A little daybed was shoved into the corner, a few bookshelves of my favorite reads lined the wall, and there was a balcony was off the end of the room.  Out on the balcony there was a  writing desk.  When it wasn't unbearably hot, I worked there as I watched the pigeons swoop on jasmine-incensed wind.  Somehow in that tight space, I managed to cough up words, and string them together on a page.  I'd dream of what came next. But this was my next. Then how come it hurt so much, this letting go of what I had hoped life would be? 

Fractured.  That year my life broke into a billion little pieces was the same year I discovered the beauty of what Sheldon Vanauken calls 'bare branches against a sky of stars' or something like that.  I read.  T.S. Eliot.  G.K. Chesterton.  C.S. Lewis's Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed.  Some Piper.  I asked God the hard questions.  Like how come this pain, this loneliness hurts so bad?  And why the pain?  And why couldn't you let bad things happen to other families, other people?  Why?  And He was silent.  I was 28.  

"Are you interested in a change?" she asked.
"Yes." I said.  "I dearly love my students but I've been doing this for 6 years making ends meet.  I need to start saving for the future.  I don't have a choice." 
And I knew it was true.  I needed to make a change.  I didn't mind where I was at, and I'd always had enough, but I was having to do side jobs in order to save back money.  I knew I'd probably never retire, but I didn't think that justified being irresponsible. And then there were those words of well-meaning people.

"You don't take enough risks." 
"You need to speak up for yourself."  
"You would have better chances of getting married if you'd put yourself in a position where you could meet someone."  
 
And I jumped and took a crazy risk.  I passed the interview process was offered the job, and I jumped, to show myself I could.  I left what had been my home for close to five years.  Never mind that I was overseas.  It was home.  Students came to see me off with gifts.  They ran after the van that would take me to the capital city as I cried a river of tears.  And I was gone.  The coal city with its dusty floors was but a memory, but the people, they still cross my path occasionally.   I became a small fish in a big pond.  My almost 2 ft. long hair I'd coil up on my head, and I'd wear business suits and dresses.  I'd talk myself into dressing the job, even though I felt like a scared six-year old.  And somehow, at the end of that year, I was a published editor and author.  

It isn't what I've written that comes back knocking on my door to say hello.  It isn't the words that I've penned that write me a letter, or give me a phone call.  The words, the jobs, well, at the time they defined me.   But the letters, the phone calls from people.  They've come back round. It isn't the words or the job. It isn't who I'm trying to be.  It's who I am, the pictures and portraits of where I've been, the people I know, and those who love me.  This is the making of a life.  

Do you struggle with letting go of what you supposed life should be, and embracing what it is?





Thursday, August 16, 2012

Andrew Peterson - Rest Easy

When Considering Cloth Diapers

So maybe you haven't taken the plunge yet. Your baby is on the way, or has already arrived. You don't know, honestly, if you want to use cloth diapers. Here are some things you should think about...

-Do you have city water? Calculate what one extra load of laundry a day may cost you.
-Do you like to do laundry everyday or will you get tired of the extra chore? Some people tire of this quickly.
-Is your husband on board with the idea?
-Do you have money to try a few different cloth diapers? I say this because not everyone likes the same brand. What you like, you will continue to use. What you don't like, you won't use.
-Do you have the money to make the one-time investment in the diapers? Over 2 years, disposables cost about $1,600. Cloth diapers will have the initial investment of $300 if you use diapers that change size with the child.
-Do you have the time to cloth diaper? (Are you a stay at home Mom, or a Mom that has to work?)
Moms who stay home may (or may not) have time and energy on their hands depending on the size of their brood. Moms who work full time outside and inside the home will generally have less time and energy, and thus disposables make a bit more sense to use. 
-Do you have time, or do you have money?
-Do you want to cloth diaper part-time, and use 'sposies some of the time?

Some other thoughts:
-Baby poop comes out in the wash until the baby begins to eat solids.  Then you are going to need to either buy liners to catch the poop so you can flush it (and the liner) down the toilet, or you will need to get a diaper sprayer.
-You don't need to soak some of the brands of cloth diapers.  This increases their 'stink'.  With pocket diapers, you separate the insert from the diaper, and throw in a pail until you are ready to wash.  But you must wash within a day or two.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Connection

"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship." --C.S. Lewis

Our culture promotes the use of cell phones and computers.  But do you remember when e-mail was the main form of communication, or even before that when a physical letter was written on paper?  When I was a teenager, I loved to send (and receive) letters.  We moved from Colorado to Arizona the summer before my junior year in high school.  It wasn't the greatest timing, but who can control these things?  It was the third move I'd made in my life.  Moving meant leaving behind some of my friendships from junior high and high school.  I don't make friends easily or quickly.  It takes awhile for me to open up and trust.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I cried.  I did.  That summer in Arizona was dreadfully hot, one of the hottest on record, and we, all six of us, had to live in a small apartment while we waited to find a house.  We sat around in the living room, or sometimes swam in the pool.  There was nothing to do.  No friends to call.  No internet. (That hadn't really come into use yet.) A friend loaned me her baritone, and so I fooled with that brass monster for part of the summer when it wouldn't bug my siblings. 

And then there were letters. Letters to and from friends and pen pals written in familiar script.  Letters that detailed everyday happenings, thoughts, and life.  Letters that made it seem as if you were sitting next to that friend.  Letters in which you could see the friend through the lines.  Now we have Twitter and Facebook.  Somewhere between those two giant entities it is easier to get caught up in people we think we know vs. the people who we really know.  A letter or a phone call do not have the same effect.  Our world moves faster, and the letters, we don't send too many of them anymore.  The quiet walks through graveyards or down the road don't happen because we are busy watching the television, or reading on the computer.  

I'm not saying the internet isn't a great tool.  It is.  But if we let it, it can rob us of quiet.  One thing leads to the next and suddenly we forgot why we even went online and we've wasted an hour at it.  Cell phones give us the accessibility to call anyone, anywhere.  And yet, our lives aren't quieter, they are busier.  We've become so busy connecting that we've become disconnected.  Hubby and I were walking at the local university campus one day, and realized that we were the only ones we'd seen in a period of 15 minutes that were looking up and around.  Spring had unveiled colors of supreme majesty, and yet people seemed glued to their cell phone screens.  Birds had begun to sing, and yet, they couldn't be heard because ipods plugged the ears of the people.  

Sometimes it is better to take a vacation from these resources, and make life a little simpler, at least for awhile. We'd find out who our friends really are.  They'd send e-mail.  They'd write a line.  They'd call.  We'd read a book and talk about it.  We'd meet another soul, rather than a Facebook shadow. 

How do you connect with others?  How often do you use social media?  What do you find it useful for?   
 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Birth Cries

"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on."  Carl Sandberg

That early morn in the hospital while lying in my bed I heard it, the first cry.  Meeting the air was the voice of a child that was once held tight, safe within the mother's womb. In my room, I sighed and held back tears.  I couldn't cry.  Drainage bags and stitches prevented even the slightest of movements.  Here I was, in the hospital to which most people come to give birth in Asia.  I was there for a specialized surgery.  The irony of my situation and the plight which it could create was heavy on my heart. 

That cry in the early hours of dawn.  The one I knew which I might never hear of my own child.  Yet what a miracle to hear the life of another beginning just a few doors down the hall! This is how the poem (See post below) came to me in the midst of my own hour of pain.  There are things that I will never fully understand. Yet, life goes on.

In retrospect, I can see what a miracle my own child is.
I am thankful for the quiet night hours and feedings.
I am tired.  I'll be honest, it is difficult at 30-something to be as energetic as I was at 20-something.
But I am oh, so blessed. 

I witnessed the preparation for my own surgery in Asia.  I was lying on a cold stainless steel table.  Directions were given to me in Chinese.  The last thing I remember before the pain was feeling like I was suffocating.  They didn't explain that going under anesthesia would feel like that.  A few seconds before that happened, I had centered my thoughts on what mattered.  I knew if I went to sleep, I went to sleep in Jesus.  And I would wake in His faithfulness, one way or another.  

Birth, she told me, was a natural process.  "Work with your body.  You must be free from fear."  But that mark, the mark of surgery.  It said in the surgeon's notes from Asia that the tumor was attached to the main blood supply of my uterus.  My doctor told me we needed to be prepared in case of rupture, and that if that place of weakness gave way he would have 5 minutes to spare my life and the life of my baby.  My place of birth would be right next to the operating room.

He entered the world quietly, just as I wished he would.  I was quiet, but in my mind I was running a race.  "I can do this," I told myself.  Heart monitors bleeped, people came in and out.  But my eyes were closed and my mind was aware.  This baby, mine, he will come.  My hope was to see him grow, and not end up in the operating room. But I wanted to be grace-filled even if I ended up on the operating table.

My doctor's calm face gave me courage.  A team of people entered the room, and a short time later, he was born.  Relief.  Joy. Calm. Hope. This boy of mine was born.  Blood mingled with water and sweat.  A small piece of eternity, a soul, entered the world.  His tiny cry was calmed by my voice. He nuzzled his head up next to my heart with his little body in a ball.  I was speechless, tearless.  The awe and miracle of his life, the genuine gratitude I felt for being able to experience being a part of this life-giving process, even if it was just once. And life goes on.

He is not mine.  But I will forever thankful to be his Mom.

Do you let you kids know what miracles they are?  How do you remind them of this day-to-day?  

Small Glimpses of Glory

I know.
The beauty of a magpie perched on a rooftop,
The mystery and miracle in the sound of a baby's first cry,
The ability the body has to heal itself,
The cries of a wounded spirit.
I understand.
Yet I did not create
The bird who sings in early morn,
The babe who rests in his mother's arms,
The body that heals and houses,
The soul that chooses to trust.
I believe.
The tiny animal is cared for and clothed in its finery,
The child was formed in detail in his mother's womb,
The human frame functions with complexity,
The inner longing for the world of which this is but a shadow
Are all glimpses of the One who inhabits the eternal.
This world is a shadow of the next.

LLB September 2010

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Emergen-C

 
Emergen-C has become on of my favorite products. When I was pregnant with my son, the lady who gave us birth classes told me about the Brewer's diet (which saved me from swelling for almost the entire pregnancy), and Emergen-C. Because of the Brewer's diet, I was able to both eat healthy and feel confident that baby was getting what he needed. I also didn't get the weird drops in blood sugar that made me sick for the first 14-15 weeks of the pregnancy. So what can I tell you about Emergen-C?

If you are getting a cold, it is a great pick me up. If you feel fine but need a little extra energy, it does the job. If your blood sugar is dropping, and you are starting to feel famished, it helps pick the blood sugar up. At 25 calories per packet, it is better than drinking juice or pop. It's got vitamin B and 1,000 mg of vitamin C in each serving. After giving birth to my son, I wanted a glass of apple juice, a drink of water, and some Emergen-C. I had packed some in my bag, but you can imagine my delight when our sweet nurse pulled an Emergen-C right out of her scrubs pocket for me. Bless her!

In my opinion, vitamin C never tasted so good. You can register at their website for a few free packets.

*Disclaimer:
I was not paid or given anything by Emergen-C to write this. This is simply my opinion about one of my favorite products.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Real


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."  --The Velveteen Rabbit


"To love another person is to see the face of God." --Les Miserables

His compassion, they say, fails not.  He's sees us, knows us.  I am the one who has trouble seeing and knowing people in love. If, if we really knew.  Behind that neighbor's face is a person, someone who can know and be known.  When we are so busy that we cannot stop to hear another person's pain, listen to another person's story, then life ceases to be what He really meant it to be.  How can we love our neighbors as ourselves when we don't even know them? It is easier to love myself.  I justify it by saying that I need my down time, my alone time, my clean the house time, my quiet time, my personal time. Because honestly, it does take some amount of sacrifice to see, know another person.


I want to be real.  I want to know and be known.  I want to be really loved for who I am, and not what society thinks I should be.  I want to be loved in spite of my mistakes, and I want the good of what I am to be acknowledged.  Yet, it is easier to hedge up my life in fear that if someone really knew me, well, they wouldn't love me.  So I get caught in my down time, my alone time, my clean the house time, my quiet time, my personal time.  

Maybe it's better that I learn from the Velveteen Rabbit.  Real is when you really, really love someone.  

This spring our neighbors lost their house in a tornado.  It is impossible to list how this has affected/effected them, and perhaps it is best said that when we are loving others as we ought, our compassion moves us to action.  We've been active in trying to encourage them.  This summer we got word a friend has stage 3 lung cancer.  He's setting his life in order and getting ready to finish this life. We watch as the sun goes down, and comes up each day.  We're thankful for times like these when we can be real with other people.  Even if life doesn't quite turn out like we expect it to, and even in the disappointments.  If we were to sugar coat and white wash what we've been through, that wouldn't be real.  Real, sometimes, makes you feel old and worn out....but incredibly, crazy loved.

Are you real with people?  Do you let them know the real you?  How can you actively be real with people you meet?  What keeps you from being real?


 


Sunset


Bird on a wire


Oil well being drilled adjacent to our property.  I'm wishing my little boy were bigger.  He'd love seeing all the trucks, dirt, and machinery.  (But I'm pretty happy he's still little.)


Golden petals brushed by the wind


Sun leaving a sky of blue 


Goodnight, farm. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Alima Pure


A few years ago, I set out to change the makeup I wore.  (Honestly, I looked into this company in 2008 and ordered some samples.)  I seldom wear makeup because I don't like to look like I wear makeup, and my face likes to break out (usually) the moment makeup touches it.  While I was pregnant I couldn't wear makeup at all. I tried twice and it took a whole week both times to get over the pimple patch I got from it.

So I purposed to actually get a makeup I liked and could wear after I gave birth, and had the time and energy to put it on.  My main goal was to find something that looked natural, and that was good for your skin.  I ordered makeup from Alima Pure once again.  I was not disappointed.  (I don't break out after wearing Alima Pure.)  Not only was the mineral foundation a good match for my face, I liked that I knew exactly what was in the stuff.  The samples they sent were amazing.  

What I like best about Alima Pure is that a little bit of this stuff goes a LONG way.  I can put it on in the morning, and in the evening it still looks as good as it did in the morning.  The eyeshadows?  Well, I must say the luminous eyeshadow they have can't be beat!  It doesn't fade...and looks like maybe you are wearing eyeshadow....and maybe you are not.  This is my kind of makeup.  At $1.50 for a sample that lasts almost a month (if it is eyeshadow) it is a good way to try new things, and find a favorite!

I paid a little bit more than I would to get my mineral makeup from the grocery store or Wal-mart, but these little pots are going to last longer because I don't have to use very much of them for good coverage.  I asked my hubby what he thought of it, or if he could tell a difference.  (He usually is not a fan of makeup.)  Well, he liked it...especially the eyeshadow! 

Disclaimer:
I was not paid nor given anything to write this from Alima Pure. These are simply my observations, and I honestly love their product.  The company itself is small and tries to get info out about itself via word of mouth.

Homemade Baby Wipe Solution



2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons baby wash (I measure the squirts into the tablespoon, and then just squirt directly into water the next time I make the solution.)
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil*
15 drops grapefruit seed extract*

Heat the water in a kettle or in your microwave until it is very warm. This step is essential if you are using coconut oil. Add the baby wash (use a wash of your choice), oil, and grapefruit seed extract. Stir gently. Pour into a plastic container (a tub or a spray bottle). You can either fill the container with wipes, or wet wipes as you use them.

*Coconut oil solidifies at 70-ish degrees, so in the summer it is perfect for adding to a wipe solution. In the winter, however, if the solution cools you will have little solidified floaties in your water.

*People use about any kind of oil. I recommend olive oil or coconut oil only because I have done some reading about mineral oil (baby oil) and I'm not going to use it (partly because of a health condition I had and a conversation with my doctor about mineral oil and other things that alter hormonal balance.) Anything you put on your skin has an effect on your body.

*Grapefruit seed extract and coconut oil are natural remedies for Candida. (Candida can cause baby rash.)

What to use for wipes:
-If you are going with disposable, you can cut a tube of paper towels in half, and soak them in the solution.

-If you are using cloth, you can use anything from baby washcloths to flannel wipes you make yourself. You can also buy cloths made especially for wiping, but this is not necessary.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cloth Diapering

I am new to the world of cloth diapering, but not to diapering.  (I've probably changed more diapers than most seeing as I worked daycare for four years.)  But I've discovered by far that I prefer cloth diapering.  Here are some reasons why:

1) I keep my cloth diapers in a pail.  They get washed daily.   Result: Our house doesn't smell like a dirty baby diaper.  
2) I use a solution (made by yours truly) to use cloth wipes with my baby.  This way I can throw the wipe and the diaper in the wash together. I use less wipes this way. It takes two or three of the store bought wipes to do what one washcloth and the cleaning solution can do.  As an added benefit, I am not wiping my sweeties rear with chemicals. 
3)  My baby hasn't had problems with diaper rash and I haven't needed to buy creams.  When my baby does get a little red, I've found that I put a little coconut oil on his bum for a day and it clears up.  (You can't use the creams with cloth diapers unless you have a barrier. )
4)  The cloth diapers I use are Daddy-friendly.  (Fuzzibunz)
5)  I had more trouble with leaks with the disposable diapers than with the cloth diapers.  I double up inserts at night. 
6) The savings.  I've already paid for my stash of small diapers what I would have paid for disposables.  The small diapers still fit, and will for several more weeks.  The cloth diapers can be resold, or used on a second child.
7) We live in the country.  We have our own well.  The extra load of laundry does not hurt our water bill.  
8) Cloth diapers save me from having to buy diapers when I am in town grocery shopping.

Disclaimer:
I do use disposables and commercial wipes sometimes, but not very often.   I bought my cloth diapers as seconds here:  Fuzzibunz
I am not saying that if you should choose to cloth diaper because I do.  I'm simply saying this fits our lifestyle well.  You have to do what works for you as a parent.
I was not paid by anyone to write this.  Currently, my cloth diapers are one of 'my favorite things'!

Boat Song

Excellent

"Airplanes," he says, "are like a strange disease."  He watches them fly, thinks of how to make them better, and dreams of flying when he's on the ground.  This man who loves his son so. Maybe someday he'll tell him of the landing that was a 'good' landing because he walked away from the wreckage of what he had built with his own hands.  And then with a grin, in the same breath exclaim, "All my other landings have been excellent."  Excellent, in his mind, is defined by being able to walk away from a plane with everything intact. 

We hold ourselves to this code, this code of being perfect.  Excellent we believe is defined by the perfection of which we do an activity.  Perfectionism becomes the silent killer of the attempt to do an activity.  ExcellentWhat if someone sees I'm less than excellent?  What if all the other people find out I'm just an imposter trying to excel at something when I really have no idea what I'm doing? If I were to live under the old code, the one that condemns me at every step, these thoughts would undo me at "not good enough".

Good is when I humbly repent and ask forgiveness from someone I've wronged.  Good is when I realize I will make mistakes parenting, but their is grace for those mistakes.  Good is understanding and knowing there is a God who has grace for all these mistakes and loves me with a love that is unsearchable.   Good is knowing that life is so much more than what I see.  Good is leaning in and trusting when I don't understand.  

I look at him and wonder if he will ever know the wonder of flying in an airplane.  My protective Mommy heart will have to work hard at not freaking out at boyish antics.  I know his Dad made it through childhood.  And I'd like to teach him that sometimes good is letting go of excellent, and embracing the good of what we have and being content. 

Do you struggle with perfectionism?  How do you make 'good' and embrace contentment?  How do you teach this skill to others?
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