Five (A Five Minute Friday Post)

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tally_marks-five-bar_gate-svgWork, sleep, family, fitness, and friends.

Pick three.

Randy Zuckerburg’s famous tweet regarding the entrepreneur’s dilemma has been swirling my head like a ring of little blue birds.

Fitness got kicked to the curb some time ago.

But my mentor tells me that, “without being fit you’ll never have the energy to keep going.” So… maybe I need to rethink my choice.

Certainly can’t give up my family time.

Friends have carried me on their shoulders to the place where I am today.

Sleep… well… I’m sort of in love with sleep.

The result?

My plan?

I have no plan.

I have lists. Lots and lots of lists.

I have priorities. Writing will take precedence over washing dishes. If my filthy house offends you, please stay away until my success reaches the point where I can afford a maid. In fact, maybe you should stay away after that time, too. We clearly don’t have much in common.

I have values. My crying child gets my attention. Business can wait. Even the supposedly urgent stuff.

Most of all, I have a vision.

Not just a dream. Not a hope, or a wish, or even a goal.

I have a God-given vision and… you know… maybe, since I’m obviously just a limited, finite, flawed little creature, God will carry me forward to see it through as long as I don’t look away from where I’m going.

This post is part of Kate Montaung’s Five Minute Friday. For more, click here.

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

119 Reasons Why We Homeschool (Year Five)

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This fall marks the beginning of our fifth year as homeschoolers. We could never have guessed, when we started, where this journey would take us or how awesome it would be for our family. We have seen our daughter blossom and grow and we’ve all learned far more than we expected about the world and ourselves.

I’m not going to lie. Our daughter started sixth grade last year. I think I was laboring under the delusion that, removed from the drama of school life my adolescent child would poop rainbows and cry glitter. Yeah… not so much. Puberty is hard. It makes a person crazy. Parenting a crazy person is tough. Being their parent/teacher/principal/etc is nearly enough to drive a person to drink.

Did I think maybe it was time to give us a break from each other and send her back to school?

I did. Daily.

But I didn’t do it, because we had this list.

This list came about as something to cling to when the bad days come. Before we ever started homeschooling, a friend advised us to make a list of 100 reasons. “If you don’t have 100, you probably don’t have enough,” she said. “The day will come when you’ll be asking yourself why you’re doing this and you need something to look back to.”

And, really, if I’m being honest, there was maybe one hour a day that was quite stressful. It usually revolved around math.

I can put on my big girl pants and deal with one tough hour a day. Bonus: a new reason for the list (see #__).

If last year was landmark for our daughter reaching “middle school,” this year is a big deal because our son is starting kindergarten.

We’re pretty chill when it comes to kindergarten. He has school books and we work in them every day but his days are centered a lot more around playing and exploring his world than sitting at a desk, studying. He’s starting to read and understand basic math and counting skills. As long as he keeps moving forward we’re content with that for now.

It is important to me to make it understood that this list is not meant as a criticism of those who have children in public school or of the school district in which we live. I thank God that we live in a nation with CHOICES. We can choose what is best for our own families at any given time. For us, for now, that’s homeschool.

You’ll notice that some of our reasons are very serious. Some of them are quite silly. Some of them are totally focused on our children. Some are selfish on my part. They’re all reasons. They all played a part. Would I homeschool, just because I think public schools waste paper. Of course not! Read, knowing that not all of these weigh on our hearts equally.

The list has changed a little every year. Originally, there were one hundred reasons. Over the years, some of those reasons have become invalid and other reasons we’d never guessed at became important to us.

Without further ado…

100 Reasons (+18) Why We Homeschool

1.  We love spending time with our kids and would miss them if they were gone all day each day.

2. Our daughter wants to be homeschooled. Our son doesn’t know anything else.

3. We want our children to have the opportunity to explore their passions in great depth.

4. We want to teach them to choose healthy foods and eat them SLOWLY and WITH ENJOYMENT (not gobble down processed lunch during a 20 minute break).

5. We want them to have large windows of time each day to explore their imaginations and play – not just a 20 minute recess where they’re not allowed to run too fast or swing side to side due to liability concerns.

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6. As much as possible, we want to avoid having them compare their possessions to the possessions of others.

7. We think that 7+ hours of school plus and hour on the bus is too much time for a child (or an adult, for that matter) to sit and listen (as opposed to playing, questioning, exploring, etc).

8. It seems to us that homework, after 7+ hours of school, seems excessive and unproductive.

9. We want our family to be free to travel when and where we like.

10. With Handsome Hippie Hubby’s work schedule he would never see them if they were at school until 3pm each day.

11. The one meal we can eat together, as a family, every day is lunch.

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12. We want to teach them to be responsible to the environment in practice, not just through lessons.

13. We want them to learn practical skills like cooking, gardening, sewing, etc and there is little time to teach those when they’re away at public school all day and such things are no longer a part of the curriculum in our local schools.

14. Sometimes life makes you stay up late and we want them to be able to sleep in or nap when their little growing bodies needs to.

15. They watch a lot of classic movies in music class and we want to be the ones to experience those with them.

16. They watch a lot of movies in music class and we want them to actually learn to play/sing/appreciate music.

17. J-Rex can’t sit still. He can’t. It’s physically impossible for him. He wiggles and figets and taps his feet, even when (especially when) he’s totally focused. We don’t want him to feel “naughty” because he’s a busy little boy.

18. We don’t want them to have to deal with the repercussions of being in a large class with a few “naughty” children that monopolize the teachers’ time.

19. Most of their closest friends are homeschooled.

20. We hate sending them away to school when they’re feeling sick, but not “sick enough” to stay home.

21. We hate sending them into a building full of children feeling “a little sick” but not “sick enough” to stay home.

22. J-Rex’s little body struggles with vaccines and he’s behind. Putting him in public school could create health issues for him and those around him.

23. Our daughter, who is a great reader and writer, should never have to slow down to wait for other children to catch up.

24. Our daughter, who struggles with math, sometimes needs more time and attention than her teachers can give her.

25. We were unhappy with many of the things we saw or heard about happening on the school bus when our daughter was in public school.

26. We want our children to have a broader, less politicized, view of history than they will learn in public school.

27. We don’t want our child to use anti-bacterial hand soap several times a day (though we are trying to teach both of them to embrace the use of regular soap.).

28. We think it’s unhealthy that children sit in a swelteringly hot classroom in the middle of winter.

29. We live in an awesome community surrounded by awesome communities with a near infinite amount of resources to use as teaching tools.

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30. The whole family will gets to learn and grow when we’re “doing school.”

31. We want religion, spirituality, prayer and meditation to be a regular part of our children’s education.

32. We want to foster our children’s differences that they may harness them and direct them to the greatest good of their fellow human. Not just learn to be exactly like everyone else.

33. When REAL disaster/crisis/tragedy strikes (ie – the tornadoes that struck a nearby town a few years ago) we want them to know that it is not only OK but RIGHT and GOOD to drop EVERYTHING and rush to the aid of our neighbors.

34. It will make me feel like the years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars I spent on my own education weren’t a total waste.

35. I learned advanced math. I NEVER used it (I told you so!). And forgot every bit of it. But no one ever taught me how to balance a checkbook or calculate the interest on a mortgage  and I don’t want my children to have that same experience.

36. Public schools in our district have cut resources for art teachers, and we believe in the power of artistic expression.

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37. We want to know IMMEDIATELY if our children are struggling with a problem or social situation – not after it has reached a crisis state.

38. We think people learn more by experiencing something (ie. a visit to a farm is more memorable than a lesson about “where veggies come from.”) and it’s not reasonable to expect a teacher to schlep 35 kids all over the countryside several times a week.

39. We think intuition is a valid and valuable tool in the human mind that is suppressed by “institutionalized” learning.

40. Homeschooling forces me to be a more organized person.

41. Seeing my organizational skills, my children will learn to be organized. (It’s a great theory, isn’t it?)

42. Some days, watching the morning news together, and then having the time to discuss it, can be a more valuable education than an entire day in a classroom learning to figure the degree of angles in a triangle.

43. We believe strongly in the implied power in the sciences of noetics and quantum physics and this isn’t taught in public school.

44. We believe a child should have the opportunity to ask every question they can and public school teachers don’t have time to deal with that, so curiosity gets suppressed.

45. One of the smartest, most accomplished scientists of all time said, “imagination is more important than knowledge,” but public schools focus almost exclusively on the development of knowledge at the expense of imagination.

46. We want our daughter, who has a very entrepreneurial spirit, to have time and energy to experience the creation of business and the power of free enterprise.

47. We believe a child should be free to express themselves in all sorts of silly, crazy, creative ways through their play and dress and public school places a great many restrictions in these areas.

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48. With internet and virtual learning, they learn from a much more culturally, philosophically, educationally diverse group of teachers than they would encounter in a local public school.

49. We don’t like putting our child on a bus every day. But especially on days that are foggy, snowy, icy, etc.

50. Many of the people we respect most in the public school system have told us that, if they had young children, they would not put them in public school.

51. Public school teachers, no matter how good, smart, loving, patient, etc must conform to the state standards no matter if they agree or not.

52. Sometimes our children are “naughty” and teachers have neither the time nor authority to properly discipline then and/or the teachers’ definition of “naughty” and the accompanying discipline are different from what we teach at home.

53. Public school in America is designed to create success in an industrial age economy, but the industrial age is over.

54. EVERY study done shows homeschool children achieve higher academically.

55. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children are better socialized (fit into society more successfully).

56. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children have a greater sense of civic responsibility.

Click here for some interesting homeschool stats.

57. We want our children to learn how to use a computer to do more than play games.

58. We want our children to know how to do things without a computer.

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60. We feel it’s more important for our children to know how and where to find information than to memorize facts for a standardized test.

61. We never want our children to go through the experience of “feeling stupid” for not understanding something without a little help.

62. We are able to introduce foreign language studies at an earlier age as homeschoolers.

63. We don’t want our children exposed to sex, drugs, violence, etc any earlier than necessary.

64. Time is valuable and public school wastes time (bus rides, moving between classes, waiting in line, etc).

65. We think it’s a bad idea to “stop learning” for 3 months out of the year, but a good idea to have lots of fun experiences all year long.

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66. Some of the most mature, intelligent, respectful, strong-minded teens and young adults I know have been homeschooled since early childhood.

67. We want our children to know that being a dancer (painter, musician, house-wife) is just as valid as being a doctor (teacher, accountant, etc).

68. In the event of a crisis (tornado, fire, etc) our children would be with us and we could make sure they’re as safe as possible.

69. We want our children to be able to think for herself and know how to question authority (even us) without being disrespectful.

70. Our children are unique individuals and deserve a uniquely designed education.

71. As parents, want a greater say in what our children do and do not not learn.

72. Some teachers are burnt out and just putting in their time and we don’t want our children to be “just put up with.”

73. We want to put the money spent on school supplies, field trips, etc to go toward those items we believe will be most beneficial for our children.

74. I really hate packing lunches and snacks every day.

75. We want to be the ones to teach our children how to appropriately deal with bullying, harassment, etc.

76. Homeschooling gives the whole family the opportunity and motivation to explore nearby (and sometimes far away) museums, gardens, parks, historic buildings, etc.

77. By homeschooling we are not doing things the “normal” way but we are teaching our children that there can be more than one good way to achieve a good end.

78. There are sometimes abusive adults in positions of power and we want to protect our kids from that as much as possible for as long as possible.

79. We want our children to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the innocent, magical parts of childhood for as long as she can.

80. We want to avoid exposure to the annual outbreak of lice in the public school system.

81. The world, society, and technology are very different than they were 50 years ago but the style of teaching in public school is much the same.

82. In homeschool band, our daughter has had the opportunity to learn five different instruments so far, and she is playing music the public school doesn’t play until high school.

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83. The government has screwed up most everything they have ever touched, so why would I trust them not to screw up the education of my child?

84. Hitler said, “The State will take youth and give youth its own education and its own upbringing. Your child already belongs to us. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this community.” “Let me control the textbooks and I will control the State.”

85. US Federal Judge Melinda Harmon said, in 1996, “Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.”

86. Shopping for classroom supplies is more fun when you know you get to keep them and use them.

87. Our child has a passion to be in community theater and their rehearsals run very late at night.

88. My husband and I both hated school and did the bare minimum to get through and we don’t want our child to feel the same way.

89. Public schools require “lock-down drills” due to the very real threat of gunmen and/or terrorists in the building.

90. The cheapest time of year to go to Disney (and many other places) is October.

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91. Homeschooling is “green.” There is less transportation, less utility use, less paper…. way way way way way less paper.

92. We want our children to understand that learning can be done anywhere, any time, at any age and be self led or assisted. It doesn’t only take place in a classroom with a teacher.

93. We have the feeling that our children have important things to teach us. “Unless ye be like a little child…..”

94. We believe that people absorb the energy of a place and public school, very often, does not have a positive energy.

95. We want our children to have “Bible” as a school subject.

96. We want our children to embrace failure with enthusiasm, and learn how to use it to move forward. School punishes failure.

97. Our daughter learns a little more every time she helps her brother learn something new. Our son learns every day when he hears us teaching his sister.

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98. Our family is always happiest when we are together.

99. If we know what our children are learning about, we can integrate that into life in so many ways for a more well-rounded and memorable learning experience.

100. We are pretty sure we’re doing OK with this homeschool thing.

101. Through the homeschool association they can take all kinds of lessons (music, sports, theater, etc) we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

102. Through the homeschool association they have multiple opportunities to visit with and be of service to the senior citizens in our community.

103. We travel for business often. As homeschoolers, there is much less conflict between our trips and our children’s schooling.

104. Our five year old is learning some subjects at a far younger age, because he is around when we are teaching his sister.

105. Planting season is before school lets out for summer and harvest doesn’t finish until well after the new year begins.  They would miss both if she was in public school.

106. Boys. We know we can’t shelter her forever but…

107. We’ve learned that our daughter puts up fierce resistance to certain parts of schoolwork. No one was telling us that before, but now we can work on breaking down some of those barriers and help her learn a healthier approach to dealing with the less pleasant chores in life.

108. Our daughter’s base of friends, after four years of homeschooling, includes a much wider age range of people. She is learning to interact appropriately with those much younger and much older than herself in a healthy and positive way.

109. Homeschooling has helped our whole family learn to be better stewards of our time and resources.

110. Homeschooling has given us extra opportunities to share some of our favorite books, movies, and music from our childhoods with our children.

111. Our children has had great opportunities to participate in classes with people of a wide range of ethnic, racial and regious backgrounds through homeschooling – far more so than in public school in our tiny community.

112. Our daughter loves to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November (National Novel Writer’s Month – visit Nanowrimo to participate with us!). She would struggle with the time to do that if she were in public school.

113. There are no snow days in homeschooling so we don’t need to spend half of the lovely summer making up for classes missed when it was too cold to leave the house.

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114. As homeschoolers our children get to help deliver Meals on Wheels throughout the year and we love that they have the experience of serving their elders in that way.

115. You know those statistics about, “only 1% of people with a cold get hospitalized.” That’s our son. Homeschooling gives us some (admittedly small) amount of control over what gets dragged into our house.

116. Our daughter loves playing on the homeschool volleyball team.

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117. Our children are becoming very adept at figuring out how to learn something on her own when she has an interest or need.

118. Our daughter often attends meetings and conferences with adults and interacts with them with amazing maturity. She would not be able to go to such events as often if she were in school all day.

119. Homeschooling isn’t marriage. It’s not a life-long commitment. We can opt out if/when it stops working for us.

120. Life’s too short for all work and no (or little) play. Homeschool days are always full of play!

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Please Stop Telling Muslims to “Go Home”

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I confess: I spend far too much time on social media. I’ve cut back but, even so, it’s not hard to find me sitting in the passenger seat of the car, scrolling through my newsfeed.

A worse confession: I read the comments. Sometimes I only read the comments. I rarely comment, myself. I’m a stalker.

I like reading the comments, especially when I know people are going to oppose my set opinions because, how else can we learn and grow? How else can we understand those who are different? If we never listen to those who are passionately opposed to us, how we can we love our neighbor? As a Christian, that’s a big deal to me.

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So I stalk. I read. I hopefully learn something.

But when it comes to the subject of Muslim Americans I notice those who stand opposite my view point are getting louder and more extreme (ironic, really). I want to say so many things, but there are only so many hours in a day and  my blood pressure can only withstand so much irritation, so I refrain.

Then, today, I slipped a little.

I read an article (not just the comments) on the youngcons.com facebook page entitled “SICK: Female Muslim-American Olympian Slams USA Because She…”

A few quick notes. First, yes, I know it was total click bait. It worked. You got me. So be it.

Second, as far as I can tell the article has been taken down. I can’t find it again and the link from Facebook will no longer open to my computer (see the original FB feed, here).

Third, I’ve never looked at the “Young Conservatives” website before. They had a lot of articles that seemed unbiased and well researched, though every article that mentioned a Muslim from any nation painted them in a poor light. Apparently, hating Muslims is part of being conservative, in the opinion of that particular group of people.

Since I can’t open the article, I’ll give you the gist.

Ibtihaj Muhammad competed in the Olympics. She was the first American athlete to compete in a hijab. She has publicly discussed her feeling that it is difficult to be a black, Muslim woman in America. She feels she has been frequently discriminated against. For example, one day after practice a man followed her, telling her she looked suspicious and asking if she was going to blow something up.

The writer took a stance along the lines of, “This is America. Quit complaining. Suck it up or get out.”

My first reaction was to re-read the article. Maybe I missed something?

A week or so ago I read another article (I think it was on NPR) that discussed the incident of the man following her. As a woman, I felt that weird, frightened, annoyed, creeping sensation that comes when men harass us. It’s not pleasant. Add in the weight of basically being accused of being a terrorist… well… I thought she handled the whole thing with a great deal of grace.

But, according the author, the fact that this encounter was upsetting to her is SICK. (His caps, not mine.)

She’s downright un-American because she didn’t like a stranger accusing her of being a mass murderer.

Uhm…

What?!

I clicked on the comments.

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I really need to stop doing that.

There is no way I could have the time or motivation to change the world one Facebook comment at a time (sarcasm intended), but I’d like to use this space to address a few of those I read. Because it’s my blog and I can rant if I want to.

It’s not so much that THIS guy’s post pushed me to write something. It’s because the sentiments I read in his post and in the comments have been expressed in connection to other news related to Muslim Americans. I’ve even heard a few people say these kinds of things in person and I would be in the wrong to sit in silence.

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A few comments, of the many:

“when someone comes to America…. they must become American. Not force us to become muslum! She needs to take off the head gear… wear skinny jeans and use her middle finger like a New Yorker! That is the American way!” – Timothy

First: If being American means wearing skinny jeans and using your middle finger, most of the people in my circle of acquaintance are thoroughly un-American.

Second: No one seems to have an issue with “Greektown,” or “Little Italy,” or “Germanfest.” A guy down the road has an Irish flag on his porch. Nobody is freaking out about that. Why do we hold one particular group of people to a different standard? We are ALL from somewhere else (unless you are one of the very few indigenous people left in this nation). We all celebrate our cultural past. My father-in-law is as Irish as Darby O’Gill and is a die-hard patriotic decorated war veteran. No one accuses him of being un-American. Not that that applies in this case anyway since Ibtihaj Muhammad’s family has been in this country since just about as long as any of us.

Third: Muslim is not a nationality. It’s a religion. Like Christianity, or Judaism, or Wiccan. Would you tell an Amish woman to “take off that stupid bonnet and act like an American!” Would you rip the yarmulka from a Jewish man’s head? Her modesty, including the hijab that covers her hair, is part of her worship.

You want to restrict her worship? OK. Then I hope you are the LAST person to complain when someone comes after YOUR faith. 

If you are reading this, and you’re all upset and ready to do battle with me at this point, I’m guessing you’re a big gun-rights supporter. (Yup. I’m psychic.)

You know how you get REALLY ANGRY when the government tries to create gun control in any form? That violates the second amendment, right?

Well… when we discriminate against ANY religion, we are violating the first amendment. The first amendment doesn’t protect Christianity, exclusively. It protects freedom of religion, in all it’s many varied forms. If you take away a little bit of rights from a certain group of people, you have created a slippery slope on which no person of faith is safe. Same reasoning as the second amendment stuff, right?

Except, Islam existed when the constitution was written, and fully automatic weapons did not. So there’s some differences. But, for this example, we’ll say it’s the same and move on to another comment.

“If all those who hate American please leave. But leave behind what you got from America your freedom, the money you gained from working here, your homes, and etc. Tired of all the complaining. If America is so bad please leave! Let people who love America live in peace.” -Diane

I’m assuming that this commenter believes the athlete in question “hates American” because she complained about being discriminated against.  Let’s use that logic and make a list of people who clearly hated America over the years: Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, John F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King…

Nonsense, obviously.

Those who love their nation, the true patriots, will constantly and consistently work to call out injustice and correct it to the betterment of their country.

And really? Peace? With that attitude? Good luck with that.

“Send this pathetic excuse back to where she came from and see how safe she feels. How dare you come to our country and complain about this great country and that you feel unsafe when you have the privilege of all the benefits that Obama is giving you on the taxpayers expense.” -Abby

Uhm… She came from New Jersey. Her father was a police officer in New Jersey. Her family has been in the United States for several generations.

She IS unsafe, because of mindsets like this, and she’d be foolish not to try to address the issues that create that mindset.

Her early fencing career was sponsored by former Olympian, Peter Westbrook. She attended an ivy league university on a full academic scholarship. She is currently sponsored by Nike, among others. No tax payer money was involved in her success.

“Maybe if she didn’t dress like a terrorist people wouldn’t be so quick to judge her!!!” -Jim

Well, Jim, I bet you dress just like every single serial killer who has ever lived in the USA. Perhaps we should take a double look at how you spend YOUR free time, eh?

“I am so sick of hearing that’s it’s ok for Islam faith to say what ever the hell feel , but God forbitt for a Chrisitain to do the same .” – Carmen

This one was a little hard to read. Literally. (Please work on your spelling and grammar, Carmen.) I’ll do my best to explain…

wait…

*sigh*

You know what I’m realizing?

The other day my children had a conversation that went something like this:

5 YO: “I don’t like potatoes.”

11 YO: “Why not? Potatoes are delicious!”

5 YO: “They’re too salty.”

11 YO: “Well, don’t put salt on them.”

5 YO: “Food without salt is gross!”

11 YO: “Can’t argue with logic like that!”

I want to offer a bit of logic and solve all these disputes but the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing logical about hatred. People aren’t being logical. People are being hateful and there’s no counter for hatred outside of love.

So I will stop trying to reason with those who have no desire to see beyond themselves and I will stand in love.

Well done, Ibtihaj Muhammad. America loves you. You held your head high in the face of discrimination, and you competed at a level most of us dare not even dream of. Most of America is incredibly proud of you. The rest… well… they’re a little confused. Since you, as a Muslim, and I, as a Christian, pray to the same God who created us all, perhaps we can pray together that peace and reason will prevail in our lifetime. I wish you the best of luck in the team events later this week. Thank you for being an example to my daughters of what a strong, determined woman of faith should look like.

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CREDIT:  VALERIE MACON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden – A Five Minute Friday Post

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Hidden in each of our hearts lies a secret ambition, a dream so enormous, so extraordinary, so absurd, we dare not give voice to it.

What if they laugh?

What if they say it’s impossible.

Obviously it’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

But what if…

What if someone showed you a way? It might be hard. It might take a while. It would definitely be different from what everyone else is doing.

But it would make the dream, reality.

People would definitely laugh.

They would absolutely say it’s impossible.

Could you keep going anyway?

Or would you give up the dream and become them.

Would you keep it hidden until even you can’t find it any more?

What if you revealed what was hidden? What if you chased the dream? What if you achieved the impossible?

What if you did that and, by doing it, you gave them the power to do it as well?

What if we all stopped hiding?

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This post is part of Kate Montaung’s Five Minute Friday. For more, click here.

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

It’s Live!

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I’m super excited to announce that the pre-sale link to the e-version of my first book is now live.

Be one of the first to ORDER More Things In Heaven and Earth.

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“The veil is coming down. What will be revealed about you?”

Simone Fitzgerald battles for a normal life against voices no one else hears. She seems to be succeeding, until an angel appears, asking her to embrace the voices as a gift and stand as The Prophet.

When demons mobilize the beings of legend against mankind, Divine Wrath burns hot against creation. Simone must find the strength to embrace The Light and bring peace to the universe, but she may be crushed under the weight of the burden she’s been asked to bear.

Follow an epic journey that takes the earth you know through a time when fairy tale creatures rule and into realms undreamed of.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama onTwitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

The Day I Embraced “Feminism”

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I’ve always had a great deal of respect for “girl power.” I was raised by a single mom who was absolutely fierce when it came to making sure her family was cared for. My sisters are strong, successful women. I’m mentored in business by a lovely lady half my age who I watched stand on stage and hold a crowd of thousands in the palm of her hand.

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But I never considered myself a feminist. I just didn’t see the point. This is 2016, after all. It’s not like I can’t vote or own land, for goodness sake. And I love when my husband chivalrously holds the door or carries the nasty bags of trash to the curb for me.

And then…

I was driving down the road with Sweet Hippie Daughter who is eleven years old and one of the most 20160224_211102powerfully individual, strong-willed little girls I’ve ever known. I learn from her daily.

As we drove, someone made a bit of a bonehead move and she said, “Oh! That guy is being so crazy! Well… I guess it could be a girl but, you know, whenever I just think of a ‘person’ it’s definitely a man.”

Hold on.

Stop the train!

The definition of “a person” inside my daughter’s head is a man?

After sitting there, gobsmacked, for a moment, I asked her, “Why do you think that is? What does that tell you about society?”

Without missing a beat, she answered, “In America you just have more… you know… more… you know… if you’re a man.”

More power.

More voice.

More status.

More…

And the logical extension is that women are ‘less.’

You can bet your last dollar I’ll be calling myself a feminist from now on. I refuse to stand by and watch my intelligent, creative, strong-willed, athletic, humorous, passionate, loving little girl grow up feeling like she is somehow LESS than half the population of the world.

Do you make a stand for women? Please share your ideas as to how we can overcome a problem so subtle that it creeps into the subconscious mind of a child and makes them feel less.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

The End Of Slavery Is A Good Thing

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On this week, in 2016, the United States of America outlawed slavery.

That’s right. This week.

And a lot of people are really angry about it.

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Before I get in to all of this, if you’re new to this blog, please let me say that I honestly try not to preach or rant very often. I love sharing tips about homeschooling and gardening, fun stories about neighbors taking care of each other, questions and thoughts about theology, or life in general and so on. But every now and then I feel the need to dust off my soapbox and say something.

Here’s it goes:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) presented a bill last year that has been signed, sealed, and delivered, and it will go into effect in about two weeks. The law makes it illegal to import items produced by forced or slave labor, including convict labor and indentured labor.

For nearly a century, Americans have been operating on a loophole that allowed high-demand goods that are in short supply in the US to be imported, even if they were produced by slaves. So, while it’s been illegal to own a slave in these parts for quite some time, pretty much every American has been financially supporting the ownership of slaves, whether they realized it or not.

I’ll save the rant about how no one can convince me that they honestly didn’t realize they were supporting slavery. You should have known.

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Anyway…

When the new law goes into effect, 136 goods from 74 countries will no longer be imported. According to one article, those goods include “garments that children and other slaves produced in Argentina: cotton and gold from Burkina Faso; electronics, toys, and bricks from China; coffee from the Ivory Coast and textiles from Ethiopia.

The Department of Labor says that this law “Is not intended to be punitive, but rather to serve as a catalyst for more strategic and focused coordination and collaboration among those working to address these problems.”

Closing the loophole that has allowed this abominable practice to continue for so long is not seen as the be-all-and-end-all solution to an astonishingly huge problem. It is a dramatic step TOWARD a solution.

This is a massively complicated situation that involves everything from international politics, to cultural traditions, to religious beliefs. One law is not going to change it overnight.

But it’s a start.

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Not surprisingly, comments on the news reports regarding this law include a phenomenal number of ones similar to this:

“In some cases, working is what is best for these children.”

“If these children weren’t working they would be starving to death as would their families.”

“I am in no means in favor of child slave labor, but if it is between making soccer balls or human sex trafficking, I’d rather they make soccer balls.”

“How is this going to effect the prices of items we need for survival, but are already struggling to pay for in this terrible economy?”

“This is just another example of Imperialist America asserting their morals on the rest of the world.”

Really, America?

Really?

First Donald Trump. Now slavery?

*sigh*

Slavery is wrong.

All the time.

Every. Single. Time.

Always.

I don’t have a specific quote, but I would bet everything I own that some people freaked out about how the freeing of the slaves after the civil war was going to devastate the American economy. What would people do if the price of tobacco and cotton went up?

I bet some shook their heads over the newspaper articles and said, “Those darn Yankees don’t get it. The slaves are better off on the plantation where they have work and housing. Now how are they going to take care of themselves?”

Stop. Just… stop.

America is not forcing new laws on anyone (in this instance). Congress, working bi-partisanly (if that isn’t a sign of Divine Intervention, nothing is), with the approval of the president, has made a statement:

In THIS country, we don’t approve of slavery.

*slow clap*

Well done.

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We’re not forcing anyone else to say the same thing. But, just like I don’t vote for the financial success of Wal-Mart with my spending dollars because I think they’re a corporation with horrendous business practices, America will no longer economically support those nations which are allowing slavery.

Want our money?

Change your practices.

Don’t want to change?

Ok. We’ll shop elsewhere, or maybe even do without.

*gasp*

Crazy. I know. But it’s the right thing to do.

Will the slaves suffer for lack of American business?

Sadly, maybe so.

For a while.

But, guess what’s NOT illegal?

Donating generously of your time and resources to organizations like Red Cross International, or The Malala Foundation, or Heifer International, and countless others, who are busting butt to make sure that people in those situations are provided with the opportunity to have a good education, gainful employment, secure housing, decent medical care and so on. In short, they are working to help ALL people truly have a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

You can help ease the burden of those living in extreme poverty if you are worried about them.

Is the law perfect?

Nope. Humans wrote that law. Worse… politicians. But it’s a whole lot better than what existed before.

Are there issues of enforcement?

Yes. But with no law, there will DEFINITELY be zero enforcement. At least there is a framework in place to work from now.

Does the law address every concern of human rights that exists in the world?

Of course not. You could argue that it’s ridiculous that this law makes it illegal to import goods from nations that use convict labor, while the American for-profit prison system is making a handsome sum from convict labor. You could argue that the whole “living wage” thing needs to be addressed more deeply when we have people who are working 60+ hours a week in our own nation, and yet they can’t afford to put food on their own dinner table. You could argue a lot of valid points and I won’t contradict you. We have significant room for improvement. Growth always has to start somewhere.

Will the cost of our coffee, chocolate, and cotton undies go up?

Maybe.

Probably.

Deal with it.

Guess what? According to my statistics, if you’re reading this, there is a 99%+ chance that you live in a free capitalist (more or less) nation. If your boss abuses you, you can sue him.  If you hate your job, you can get a different one. If you can’t find a job, you can start a business. If your business fails, your nation will give you food stamps and free medical care until you can get back on your feet. Is it easy to get back on your feet? Nope. It’s freaking exhausting – I know. I’m still rebuilding from my own stupid mistakes of the past (thank you to God and the American people for providing for me when I was too short-sighted to provide for myself. I swear I will pay it forward). You might fail. But you have the FREEDOM to try again. And again. And again.

So pay an extra $3 for your can of coffee, or maybe just switch to water. No one’s life should be at risk so that you can have your morning Joe. (And this is coming from someone whose family understands that their lives may be at risk if Mama doesn’t get her morning Joe.)

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Our great-great-grandparents decided (rightly so) that slavery was wrong. It’s long past time for us to say the same thing and, more importantly, to put those almighty American dollars where our mouths are.

For more info:

QZ.com

Huffington Post

US News And World Report

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

 

I Sort-of Love Your Fakebook

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A photo from my highlight reel.

 

I’ve noticed this new trend. Everyone is posting “real” photos on Facebook; pictures of their messy kitchen, crying children, and ketchup-stained yoga pants.

I get it. Social media can certainly give a false impression of what “average” looks like. It can leave a person feeling inadequate or lonely. “Am I the only person who didn’t make gorgeous DIY valentine’s cards for their child’s class out of wood pulp and fabric scraps? He’s going to need therapy!”

It’s a balm to the weary spirit when another mom (especially one you look up to) posts a photo of the dollar-store paper cards she’s signing for her kid at 11:00 pm on February 13. Suddenly you’re not quite so alone.

My personal favorite are the sayings about how, “good moms have messy houses.”

I’m a freaking awesome mom! (Haha!)

I certainly understand why the “real” trend is gaining momentum and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.

But if you want to just keep posting your same old “fakebook,” I’m 100% OK with that.

There’s something to be said for putting your best foot forward. I applaud with you when you share your victories. The perfect fried chicken you made is making me drool. Yes, your child is intelligent far beyond the expectations of normal humans, your dog is the cutest furry animal that every existed, the Jamberry nails you’re wear are tres chic, and, clearly, your selfie is the most flattering portrait I’ve seen all day.

Pssst… I know your kid screams, too, you sometimes eat frozen pizza, your dog pooped behind the couch, and you used twelve filters on that photo.

But let’s focus on what lifts us up, shall we?

Let’s showcase the highlight reel.

Let’s post photos of the memories that make our spirits soar.

Why not?

If that’s what makes you feel good, then I am right here to give you the thumbs-up, my friend.

Won’t you please do the same for me?

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Yes. Yes, I did crop the dirty dishes out of this image of my awesome Harry Potter mug.

And if you decide that you want to come clean to the world about the fact that you ate two dozen donuts during the Superbowl and you haven’t washed dishes in four days… well… no judgement here. As I sit here typing this I realize that my kid hasn’t eaten anything remotely resembling a fruit or vegetable in… hmmm… a while now.

We’re all a work in progress.

That brings things nicely around to my own confession:

I didn’t want to make “resolutions” this year. Instead I made a 2016 to-do list. (I know. Semantics. But it calls to me.) One thing on that list was to post at least two new blog posts each month. This is the first one I’ve written since November, but… you know… work in progress.

I’m getting there.

Won’t you come along for the journey?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

Forty Looms

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It’s my birthday week! Let me know if you need my shipping address. I also accept Paypal. *wink wink*

Seriously, though, I’m getting ready to enjoy the last year of my thirties. How did that happen? I swear I was twenty four a minute ago!

Funny how sixty doesn’t really seem so old these days.

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This coming birthday isn’t something I dread. I don’t feel old. I feel healthier and stronger and more full of purpose now than I ever have in my life. Great things are happening. I have a vision for the future. Which brings me to…

Ten Things I’ve Learned In The Last Ten Years

1. A man without vision will perish.

In my twenties I was full of dreams. I wrote them out in journals. I had so much hope I walked six inches above the ground. Somewhere around thirty all the people telling me, “that’s just not realistic,” wore me down. I was broke. Like… the kind of broke where you wonder where your next meal is coming from. I had a lot of people telling me that my circumstances were all because I’d failed to set my feet firmly on the ground and now it was time to give up on childish dreams and put my nose to the grindstone.

I gave up my dreams.

I was sad. I was sad all the time. I gained weight. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I plodded through my days. I hid from creditors. I yelled at my kids.

Then, God worked a miracle in my life. He sparked a dream in my best friend’s heart. Not long after, my husband got that little light in his eye again. Being with dreamers, you can’t help but dream. Soon, I had a vision again and, you know, it made the sun shine just a little brighter.

Life’s not perfect. We have our trials (most of them brought on by our own foolishness). But it sure is a lot easier to throw back the covers and face the day.

And that leads to…

2. You’ve got to be a little realistic.

Thirty year old me was mad because none of her dreams panned out. But thirty year old me wasn’t willing to lay a foundation under those castles in the sky. I wished and hoped and… well… that’s all I really did. I didn’t know how to do anything else. I love my people, but none of my people had done what I wanted to do. I could see a great vision, but I could see no path to achieving it and so I settled for mediocrity.

But then I learned…

3. Good mentors are more valuable than gold.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear. I didn’t come up with that on my own, but I agree wholeheartedly.

Somewhere along the line I figured out that if you want a specific result you need to seek out a person who has already achieved what you desire and then do what they did. They’re out there, and you may be surprised how willing most successful people are to share their wisdom.

Whether it’s in relationships, finances, creative enterprises, or parenting, there are people out there who have figured things out.

Beware, though. Just because someone speaks loudest doesn’t mean what they say is the best thing to listen to. Look at the fruit on the tree.

Another thing I learned is…

4. People who use hateful or degrading language are not debating. They are arguing. And you can’t win an argument.

My oldest sister and I don’t agree on everything. From household management to political candidates we are different people. But I ask her opinion all the time because she is a woman open to honest, beneficial debate. She will share her beliefs and the reasons behind them. She will challenge me, but she has never once said, “I can’t believe you would be stupid enough to vote for that bafoon!”

She has said, “Oh, no! I don’t think he’s a good choice at all.” And then she went on to explain why she felt that way. Calmly. Respectfully.

See the difference? (If you don’t, may I suggest reading, “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” It will rock your world.)

There are other people in my life who would say the first thing. I used to argue with them. Not one of them ever changed their mind. They don’t really want to discuss a thing. They just want to believe they’ve got it figured out and everyone else is a fool.

My life became happier and healthier when I learned to walk away from those people.

Another thing that added to my general mental well-being was realizing…

5. You can love someone and still have a spine.

I’ll just leave that there and move on to…

6. A year isn’t so long when you’re looking backward.

Eleven years ago my husband and I started a business. We looked into the future. We realized that it would be five to ten years before that business brought us the kind of success we desired. We quit. It seemed too far away.

A year ago we started the same business all over again. From square one. It will take five to ten years before we see the kind of success we desire. (Well, only four to nine years, now. See how that works?) I know that, five or ten years from now I’ll look back and say, “that was so worth it!”

I know that because it seems just a moment ago that we were quitting our first attempt. Sure do wish I’d stuck with it because…

7. Sometimes sheer perseverance is all you need.

In the ninth grade I got called in to a meeting with my mother and my algebra teacher. This is a meeting no ninth grader wants to attend. It was as bad as I expected and, at one point, my teacher made the comment, “You need to do your assignments, even if you already understand the work, because it teaches you to sticktoitivness.”

To this day that term annoys the crap out of me. That is not a real word! *sigh*

But, at nearly forty years old, I have to admit that he was right on one score. I lacked perseverance, and it was a virtue I dearly needed to learn. In the Bible, in the book of James, chapter one, it says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

A note from my experience. If you lack perseverance you will create trials for yourself. No outside influence needed.

The last ten years have been a testing of my faith, for sure. The result is that I’ve gone from being a quitter to being a freaky little pitbull when it comes to something I care about. And, funny thing, when I stopped quitting the hard stuff, the hard stuff got a little easier. When I quit quitting I found success. Or, at least the beginnings of success.

I’m not the best at anything I do. There are better writers, better business people, better parents, better wives – but I’ll quit when my cold body is in the grave and not a moment before and I am confident that, because of that, I’ll go much further than many who are more talented than me.

That ties in nicely to…

8. Single-mindedness is often resisted by others.

They mean well. Really, they do. Consider a runner in a marathon. They  train and work for a very long time.

All the while, people are saying things to them like, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get shin splints?” Or, “I’m not sure it’s healthy to be breathing that cold air outside.” Or even, “My goodness! You threw up while you were running? You’re pushing too hard. That’s just not healthy.”

After all that, the day of the race comes and their people are all there, cheering for them because they love that spunky little runner, goshdarnnit. That runner sure did push through some tough times to get to this big moment!

Then, at mile twenty one the runner starts to show signs of really, truly struggling.

At mile twenty five they collapse, their body trembling.

The people who love that person are loathe to see them hurting and so they run out to help. They want to pick up their fallen friend, comfort them, and ease their pain.

But the runner screams at them, “Don’t touch me!”

Then the wise coach (see #3) comes alongside and starts yelling at them to get up. It seems a little harsh, but this is the voice the runner focuses on.

The runner finds the will to stand and finish that last mile despite every muscle in their body screaming in protest.

Then all the people sing praises in honor of such a powerful spirit. They did it! They’re a champion! They’re a conqueror! They’re a true overcomer!

But do you realize that part of what they had to conquer and overcome was the love of those closest to them?

Those people did not intend harm. Quite the opposite! But they did not share the vision. They resisted the runner’s fierce single-mindedness.

That happens when you get fanatical about anything. You have to learn to love through it because…

9. Only fanatical people really get things done.

I’m talking big things. Do you want to change your family’s legacy? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to live the kind of life that will leave your great-great grandchildren bragging that they are descended from you?
Then you’ve got to be a bit of a fanatic.

All that said, I realize that…

10. Ten years from now I will probably look back at thirty nine year old me and think, “Man! That girl had a lot to learn!”

I kind of hope this one is true because, if that happens, it means I will have spent ten years learning and growing and, as much as anything, I desire always to be moving closer to the standard of excellence set forth by my creator.

There it is. Day one of 14,235 and counting.

There it is. Day one of 14,235 and counting.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Weary (A Five Minute Friday Post)

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The gist of Five Minute Friday is this: We write. For five minutes flat. No backtracking, no editing, just write.

Then strap on your brave, post your words on your blog, link them up. (from KateMotung.com)

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I’ve been working a ridiculous number of hours lately. Balance is out the window. My house is a mess. I haven’t given a thought to the fall yard clean up. I haven’t unpacked from the trip we took last weekend. Or the one we took the weekend after that. Which means we are all down to the threadbare undies with no elastic.

I am weary.

I am exhausted.

I’ve had a headache for days.

I am having trouble concentrating.

I’m getting crap done.

I’m a champion.

I’m a go-getter.

I’m a winner.

Somewhere around age thirty someone sold me a bill of goods that there needs to be BALANCE. You should have time every day for meditation, relaxation, work, household tasks, playing with the children and proper pedicures.

My toenails are a mess but, you know what? I’ve got a dream that’s bigger than painted toenails.

As I approach forty I begin to think that balance is a myth.

When my babies were newborn they commanded 99% of my attention. That left 1% for myself and the rest of the world.

When I was in school, studies demanded 99% of my attention. (#Truth: I only gave them about 50%, which is why I barely squeaked through most of my classes.)

Now I’m once again working toward something big so I am weary, but I’m not going to focus on that. The process is necessary. It’s what I must go through. But the outcome is what’s important.

When I reach that goal I’ll rest.

For a while.

I’ll revel in my success.

I’ll reconnect with those I’ve been missing.

I’ll enjoy balance.

Then I’ll find a new goal and rush head-long into weariness again, because I pretty sure that if you’re not moving forward, your inevitable slow decent backward has already begun and I fear that far more than I fear a few foggy, sleepy days.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!