Monsanto Made Me a Disney Princess

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My whole life I’ve wanted to be a Disney Princess. In fact, I can say that from a fairly young age I was CERTAIN I would one day actually be one. I just never realized it would come so close to being true.

 

Some days, on the days where I’m not so exhausted that I forget to pause and look around, I stand in my backyard and just take it all in. The sounds. The smells. The animals all running towards me. Leaves and twigs crunching under their feet. The chickens happily clucking to see if I have a treat.

 

Today was once of those days.

 

I stood staring at my backyard in a sort of fairy tale haze, looking at my life and wondering how I got so lucky to be living this amazing fairy tale. Tucked away from the cruel reality of the world, in a way.

 

Tonight, as I wondered how I got this lucky, I walked through the yard and looked over our property line, through the trees, at the field behind our house. My eyes filled to the brim with tears as I choked back a sob. All 80 acres filled to the brim with corn.
 

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As I looked at that field, I realized that I’ve made it. I’m a Disney Princess.

Only… I never expected to be Snow White. And I never expected most of the world to be eating that poisonous apple either.

The apple that will never lead to Happily Ever After.

The apple created by a witch named Monsanto.

 

Why I say NO to Sugar – And Why You Should Too!

It’s that time of year… candy is being thrown into American shopping carts in giant quantities just in time to fill the Easter baskets of children all over the country.

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And I’m THAT mom. The one who showed her kids a MARS animal cruelty video at Halloween, thus inspiring the kids to throw all of their Halloween candy away in exchange for an American Girl toy of their choice.

I feel the pressure every single holiday. I feel it at birthday parties. I feel it at cookouts. I’m *THAT* mom. The one that everyone thinks is crazy for not allowing her kids to eat artificial dyes, high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, aspartame, or any of the other hundreds of thousands of food ingredients that my husband and I don’t want our children to consume.

I can’t understand for the life of me why I get so much negative feedback when I’m just trying to make the HEALTHIEST choices possible for my family. Maybe people just don’t understand the consequences on our health when we consume this much processed sugar.

We are living in a country where 35% of ALL adults are categorized as OBESE. 

1 in 3 US children are either overweight or obese.

But WHY? You might be surprised to hear that it doesn’t have a lot to do with how much food we are eating, but with how much SUGAR we are eating.


The recommended amount of sugar that children should be consuming DAILY is 3-4 teaspoons daily for preschool/early elementary aged children.

For teens and tweens, the recommendation is 5 to 8 teaspoons per day.

But do you know how much sugar our children are actually consuming in this country??

The average 1 to 3-year-old is consuming about 12 TEASPOONS of sugar every single day! (This age group shouldn’t be consuming much, if ANY, added sugar)

The average 4 to 8-year-old is consuming 21 TEASPOONS of sugar each day. (That’s SEVEN TIMES the recommended amount!)

As for adults, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes between 150 to 170 pounds of processed sugars every year! (Just 100 years ago we only consumed about 4 pounds of sugar each year! Look at how much our health has declined in the last 100 years!)

Some studies (like this one) have shown that consuming 75 to 100 grams of simple sugars (about 20 teaspoons of sugar – the amount found in two-and-a-half average 12 ounce cans of soda) can suppress the body’s immune responses considerably.

  • These sugars are known to create a 40 to 50% drop in the ability of your white blood cells to kill germs and bacteria within the body
  • This effect of immune suppression starts less than 30 minutes after eating sugar and can last for five hours
  • If a person is consuming 150 to 170 lbs of sugar each year, this equals about 80,000 hours of immune suppression (That’s TEN TIMES the number of hours in ONE YEAR!)

 

This pediatric neuroendocrinologist even goes so far as to call sugar POISON- and after reading all about sugar and it’s effect on our immune systems, can you blame him? Dr. Robert Lustig, MD explains, “Food was just as abundant before obesity’s ascendance. The problem is the increase in sugar consumption. Sugar both drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry, setting up a ‘vicious cycle.'”  Lustig says that it’s fructose specifically that is the main culprit, which is the main component of the two most popular sugars- table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup.

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Our sugar consumption in this country has a lot to do with the increase in MANY health issues:

  • arthritis
  • behavioral problems
  • cancer/tumors
  • degenerative/organ disease
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • immune disruption
  • migraines
  • mental illness
  • obesity
  • tooth decay

I know that this is a very inconvenient truth. Sugar tastes so good, and it’s added to almost EVERYTHING. And yes- it’s difficult to remove it from your diet at first.

If you still don’t think there’s anything wrong with all the sugar we are consuming, that’s fine. Keep eating your sugar filled foods, keep drinking your sugar filled drinks, keep taking your fluoride filled meds, keep telling me that you eat sugar and you are just “fine.” Just PLEASE STOP criticizing those of us who are making every effort to remove refined sugar from the diets of our children and ourselves.

And then, when no one is looking, please stop and take a cold hard look at the people around you and tell me how “fine” we really are with all of the obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, autoimmune disease, osteoarthritis, gout, gallbladder disease, breathing problems like sleep apnea, asthma, and high blood pressure that are plaguing this country.

 

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10 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM LOOSING MY SON

Today marks 5 years since losing our 4 month old son, Mason. Our life since losing him has been challenging, and at times painful, but it has also been extraordinary.

Last night I had a dream that I woke up from being in a coma for the last 5 years. When I woke up from this coma, I found out that Mason hadn’t actually died. The relief was short lived as I found out that though I still had Mason, my younger son Oliver had subsequently never been born, and the friends we have and love so much now didn’t actually exist, and the farm we live on had just been a dream. The things of the utmost importance to our family now weren’t even on the radar in this dream.

What a symbolic dream. It was like God was trying to tell me that without this painful chapter in my life, losing Mason, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And of course this is true. It doesn’t make the pain of losing Mason lessen, but it certainly illuminates how far we’ve come since that devastating day five years ago.

I realized this morning that there are many things I’ve learned since losing my son that don’t just necessarily pertain to loss or grief. I learned a lot of life lessons, too.

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I learned that the “BIG” things in life that you spend most of your time worrying about aren’t really even the “BIG” things. The “BIG” things are always going to be things you never even truly realized were a possibility. They are the kinds of things that explode into your life on some calm, boring Friday evening and wreck havoc on your entire world, causing you to question who you are, what life is about, where God is in the madness, if you can survive and how you’ll survive.

Worry has a propensity to bring us down, slow us down and hinder progress… but rarely does worrying bring about anything positive. That job, that bill, those extra pounds, that pimple, those wrinkles, the scratch on your new car, the stain on your clean carpet, the fight with your best friend… those things are the little things. Embrace them as such and don’t get stuck on the small things.

 

You can never take enough pictures. Ever. Considering that Mason only lived 4 short months, I’m amazed at the amount of photos we have. I’m also sadly shocked by the fact that I didn’t allow myself to be in many of these photos because I was too self conscious about the way I looked. It’s a decision that I regret deeply.

If in doubt, take pictures! Capture the moment your child discovers their toes, or eats with a spoon for the first. Capture the look of satisfaction on their face as they hold a crayon the “right way”. Capture the big victories, the small setbacks, the scrapped knees, the ice cream dripping down their fingers. Capture the way they hold their blanket as they sleep stroking that one corner that’s tattered and see-through from all the love. Capture the moment your toddler colors all over their face with your lipstick because they want to look like Mommy.

Take pictures of the small, quiet moments of calm and contentment… and sometimes even the moment where things are so crazy you want to scream. Because like I mentioned above, these small moments might actually be the big things.

 

This world lacks empathy. Show MORE empathy to try to make up for the deficit. I didn’t quite understand how truly cold and unsympathetic this world was until I lost my son.

Most of us aren’t very good at being compassionate and trying to understand where other people are coming from or why their view of something may be what it is. Most of us have too much to do, in too little time, and are just trying to make it from point A to point B to point C to the finish line.

I don’t know what anyone around me is going through in their life. I don’t know if they’ve lost a job, gotten a divorce, lost a child, lost a spouse, are stuck in addiction, are considering suicide…All I know is that for several months, I walked around as barely a shell of my former self. I’m sure I might have been unintentionally rude, bumped into people without saying excuse me, let the door fall behind me as I left a store when someone was behind me, etc. Not because I’m a rude, hateful or inconsiderate person… but because sometimes breathing and getting the errand done was already more than I could handle.

We don’t know what battles a stranger is fighting or what Hell they’ve already endured. Because of this, I try to show extra empathy and compassion to the people who seem like they don’t deserve it.

 

Friendships will change- and that’s okay! We lost Mason when we were 23 years old. Most of our friends weren’t even married yet, let alone with children. Even our friends who were married or had kids didn’t quite know what to do or what to say. Many of them couldn’t understand our grief, how we chose to handle it, how we shut ourselves away from the world… or how we changed. Forever.

Whether you lose a child or not, you will undoubtedly change many times throughout your life. Your views of what is most important will change, as will your passions. Friendships will fade and new ones will appear that will align more with what you are passionate about. Know that there is nothing wrong with this and that it is a normal part of life.

Sometimes, during the hardest times in your life, you will watch people you considered to be your closest friends walk out of your life. Maybe it’s because they couldn’t handle it, maybe it’s because they didn’t want to. Whatever the reason, this will hurt deeply. For us, it was just God’s way of making room for all of our new friends to come.

There truly are reason, season and lifetime friends. Not everybody is a lifetime friend… and that is absolutely okay. We have a very distinct need for each of these types of friends over the course of our lives. Accept this and try to remember that there is a time and a season for everything.

 

You NEVER get over losing your child. That empty seat at the dinner table, the blank spot in family photos, the place where that child should be on Christmas morning… nothing will ever fill it in. Not a new baby. Not 1o years or even 50 years. Not the most perfectly executed photography posing during your family portrait session.

Nothing will ever fill the space of the child that was lost. Some days we feel this pain deeply. Other days we hardly feel it at all. And without any rhyme or reason, that sadness will ebb and flow for the rest of our lives. And that’s okay too.

 

Social Media is a REMARKABLE thing. I’ve seen my fair share of social media being used in the worst ways possible… hateful posts that border on harassment, death threats and just downright cruelty towards others just because people can hide behind their keyboards. With so much negativity about social media, it can be hard to remember the amazing power it has to connect people who desperately need support.

When Mason died we were immediately surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of people who wanted us to know they were praying for us. In that moment where you can’t even figure out how to breath, or IF you will even physically be able to move from your bed the next day, those people praying for you mean EVERYTHING.

As a stay at home mom, some of my closest friends were friends I “only knew online,” and I was amazed at the sheer number of those friends that came to Mason’s funeral from all over the country. All because of social media and our amazing ability to connect.

Our online support kept us sane and gave us hope through the darkest days of our life.

 

Real life is not like the movies and there are no perfect endings. We never did have a moment where we got on a wild horse and rode off into the sunset and lived Happily Ever After.

Life is going to thrown you down. Then it will kick you down. And then you’ll probably get knocked back down again. Just keep standing back up, no matter how hopeless and tired you are. I love that old Japenese proverb that says “Fall seven times. Stand up eight.” Write that down somewhere… it’s a good reminder!

Just remember that when and how you chose to get back up when you fall will define how the rest of your life will go.

 

There is no time for hate. Fight for love. Hate solves nothing, builds nothing, fixes nothing and creates nothing but more hate. Losing a child shows you what’s really important, but it also seems to illuminate hate and injustice. For me, losing a son with no cause and no explanation put my brain into overdrive and anything that didn’t make sense to me became incredibly frustrating. Nothing frustrated me more than trying to understand hate in this world.

The week that he died, I saw several babies in the news who died at the hands of abusive parents. One baby was covered with cigarette burns and another was badly malnourished. All I could think about was how anyone could let that happen? How could no one notice? How could no one say anything?

I began to realize that there is a lot of hate everywhere. I realized I was asking these questions constantly. Why do people let these things happen? Why doesn’t anyone say anything? It felt as if I finally realized that most people don’t seem to have a moral compass, and even if they do, they don’t want to create any waves by standing up for what’s right… especially if it doesn’t directly affect them.

Losing Mason taught me to fight for what is right and good. I learned to fight for love, fight for justice, fight for equality, fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Many people all over this country (and all over the world) are living in a Hell that we allow to continue simply because we don’t speak out against things that are wrong or because we are too scared to stand up for what is right.

Life is short and we have to make a difference.

 

Nurses are f-ing superheroes… even if your baby can’t be saved. Nurses deserve a medal. Or an award of some kind. Maybe a trophy? Or their own special holiday. Or a RAISE. (Okay definitely a raise!!)

The night we lost Mason, we were surrounded by some of the most caring, genuine, wonderful nurses I could have ever possibly asked for. (I don’t even remember what the Physician on call looked like.) When we lost Mason, the hospital Bryce took him to wasn’t a full hospital, it was a freestanding ER. Because of this, they didn’t have many things in the way of grief support or even normal things that a maternity unit might have in this circumstance (ink pads for finger prints,etc).

I don’t know why I wanted some of the weird things I wanted, like for some reason in the ER, after they called his time of death, I NEEDED his handprints and footprints on paper to take home with me. I couldn’t even think about anything other than the fact that I needed these prints since I was going to have to leave him at the hospital.

One of his nurses, who I am still in contact with today, found a police officer and asked him to go get ink pads etc. Once he came back with these things, she carefully traced a giant heart on paper, cut it out, and stamped his hand and foot prints for me (multiple times) so that I could have that to take home with me. She never acted like it was an odd request, or questioned why I would want that, she just heard me as I told her my needs and gave to me in exactly the (weird) way I needed.

Unless you’ve been through it, you can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to walk into a hospital with your baby (who was perfectly healthy earlier that day) to figuring out how in the Hell you’re going to walk out and LEAVE YOUR BABY in a cold emergency room with the coroner…And so, when it came time to leave, I held his body close and tried to memorize every single last detail of him… his beautiful chubby cheeks, his long blonde eyelashes, his kissable little lips, the dimples in his knuckles on his hands and feet, the soft downy blonde hair on his head. I kissed his cheeks, and his feet, and his hands, and I hugged him close and I didn’t know how in the Hell I could possibly just lay him down on a gurney and walk out. I didn’t know how any of this was even really happening at all.

And in that moment, his nurse walked over to me and said she would hold him when I left so I wouldn’t have to leave him alone. I will NEVER forget locking eyes with her in that moment. I will never forget handing my son to her, knowing that I would NEVER see him again. I will never forget the way she tried so hard not to cry or act upset in an effort to keep me calm. I will never forget how lovingly and gently she held him, wrapping him tighter in the blanket, bouncing him, and rubbing his cheeks, like she would any other baby. I will never forget looking back as we walked out of that hospital, seeing her taking care of my baby until the VERY end.

She, and nurses like her, are the REAL heroes in life. Remember that.

 

Everything happens for a reason. Whether by choice or by chance, because you planned it or chose it on a whim, with good luck or with bad luck… everything in our life happens for a reason.

I’m laughing at myself for even writing that. In the first few months after we lost Mason, I kept a tally sheet of the number of people who said that to me. Really it was a tally of all the people I wanted to punch in the face for saying that to me.

(TAKE NOTE: DO NOT SAY THIS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCED A TRAGEDY. THEY CAN SAY IT THEMSELVES, BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD YOU EVER SAY THIS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCED A DEVASTATING TRAGEDY)

At some point, life does move on, and most of us do realize that our loss propelled us in a direction we may not have chosen to go in otherwise. We learned lessons we might not have learned. We discovered passions we didn’t know we had. And some of us even find our reason for living.

We definitely did.

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Grief is a Lot Like Drowning

Grief is a lot like drowning.

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The second I lost Mason I was thrown into the choppy waves of an angry ocean. I’d never experienced anything like it, and those first few weeks after losing him felt never-ending. As each new wave of grief crashed down over me, I couldn’t help but wonder if there would come a point that I wouldn’t resurface at all.

Over the years I’ve realized that this is my new “normal.” The waters aren’t ALWAYS choppy now. In fact, the more time that passes the calmer the water becomes… and for a longer period of time. But now I’m beginning to wonder if this doesn’t make it even more unsettling when a new wave of grief angrily crashes down on me.

Being trapped in the darkest depths of despair in the first few weeks or months after a loss means that your stability in that moment IS the despair. You know that you will wake up to the sadness, the anger, the frustration, the devastation, the emptiness each and every day. It is the time when all of the people around you will understand your heavy heart and how it literally consumes your soul and has shattered your spirit.

But as time stretches out, you watch the rest of the world go on as usual. People don’t know how deeply you are still affected by your loss and how empty you still feel, even when you’re happy. (Or they condemn you for feeling that way) You realize that you are not like the rest of the world anymore. There is no more “business as usual” attitude for you. You realize that you are now living the rest of your life missing a piece of yourself…

And as you adjust to the pain, and the questions, and even to the emptiness… you slowly start to heal. You wake up one morning and realize that you don’t quite dread getting out of bed in the mornings. You realize that you are used to your child not being there anymore. You realize that your “new normal” has formed and that to the rest of the world, it appears you are truly just back to normal.

But the world doesn’t see the ocean of grief as clearly as I do. (Or like any mother who has lost a child). I can’t blame them… I didn’t see it myself at first either. I didn’t realize that even though I’d healed plenty… I was still treading water in the ocean. I’ve actually started to get used to this calm, almost “normal” feeling. But here’s the thing… another storm always works itself up, and an angry wave (almost as strong and as powerful as the first wave) DOES inevitably slam down on me from time to time.

When I first lost Mason I was immediately plunged into the icy cold, angry waters. When I surfaced for the first time, I knew that I was going to keep getting knocked down by these waves. I learned to be on guard and ready to hold my breath at any given moment while I waited to resurface from the depths. It was a strategy that helped me survive those first few months.

But as more and more time passed, I started to let my guard down. I tried to pretend that this ocean didn’t exist anymore. I tried to tell myself that the calm waters meant I was almost healed, almost done experiencing this pain.

And that was the biggest lie I’ve ever allowed myself to believe.

The truth is, most of the time I am in calm waters for months at a time without a single wave crashing down. Most of the time now, the happiness and “normal” life that I live with my children and my husband is what I spend my time focusing on.

But sometimes… those angry waves return.

When one finally crashes down on me again, it’s like I’m experiencing it again for the first time. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. I can’t figure out how to hold my breath. It feels like I’ve been knocked down under the water, tossed around so much that I can’t even tell if I’m swimming towards the surface or if I’m just swimming deeper. How much longer can I hold my breath? How much longer can I keep doing this? How much more pain can I feel before I just drown in it?

And it’s always at this exact moment that a hand reaches down and plucks me out. Just like that. Someone is able to reach down and help me figure out how to breathe again in between waves. Reminding me that I CAN swim. I CAN hold my breath a little bit longer. I can endure more angry waves. And I will.

 

 

Today I was plucked from the waves by seeing my friends Facebook profiles slowly start switching over to an image I didn’t even think I needed this year. An imagine that was designed by one of my friends the day after Mason died for my friends to use as their profile picture to show support for our family.

I have often wondered if people thought this was insane or weird. I have even started conditioning myself over the years not to expect anyone to change their profile picture to this image. And yet today… I saw that start happening again.

And once again, I’m not drowning in the angry waves of despair anymore.

 

 

 

To the friends who keep reaching in to the water, reaching out when I try to push them away and pulling me close when I say, “I’m fine”… Thank you. To the friends who have allowed me to grieve and grow and change even when it didn’t make sense to you… Thank you. To the friends who have allowed me to move two steps forward and one step back without judging me or questioning my grief over the last five years… Thank you. It’s only because of you that my family has been able to make it through this.

Straighten Your Crown

Life can be so hard sometimes. Fights happen, disagreements spiral out control, you bump heads with someone unintentionally, and sometimes you don’t do anything at all to stir conflict and yet, before you know it, you are surrounded by all kinds of negativity. Worse yet… you might even be listening to someone’s passive aggressive comments.

Passive aggressive behavior is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m one of those people that would much prefer it if you sent a message and directly approach me with a problem than to “vaguebook” about me, where I can do virtually nothing.

I’m seeing more and more of this on Facebook and it’s disheartening. Most of the time, I don’t have a clue who is being written about… but you can tell that there is most definitely ONE person being targeted with the post. If this is happening to you, know that you are definitely not alone!

I remember when my “facebook friends” would do this to me… write a vague facebook status that was obviously about me, yet they named no names and never came to talk to me directly. It was frustrating. It was hurtful. It was annoying. And I wasted a LOT of time and energy thinking about it.

Don’t give anyone that power of your life.

It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard while writing snarky comments, filling the newsfeed with criticism and complaints that you honestly don’t have the balls to say in person. I guarantee that 99 out of 100 snarky commenters absolutely couldn’t spew their nastiness directly to someone’s face… so just keep reminding yourself of that if you’re someone who is the subject of said posts.

I think most of the Negative Nancy’s of social media are just sad, lonely people who honestly can only feel better if they try to beat successful people down and make negative comments. What it boils down to is that they are jealous of you. Don’t react… it will only backfire. Trust me.

Some people have so little going on in their lives that they would rather discuss yours. Accept that as a fact of life and move on. Don’t allow other people’s negativity to bring you down. That’s what they want.

Evil rears its ugly head the hardest when you are happy and successful. Be ready for that always. Then straighten your fucking crown and walk away like the Queen that you are!

 

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White Privilege

People love to get all defensive and worked up over topics that really aren’t that complicated. After Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance… one of those anger inducing topics is white privilege. Let me just lay this out there…

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I am a 28 year old white female… and I have “white privilege.”

A lot of people treat this phrase as an insult or they deny the term altogether and want nothing to do with it. But I’ll admit… As much as I don’t want to have it… I have DO have white privilege.

I have white privilege because I don’t have to consider and analyze my childs name at birth to try to make it sound like it’s “not an ethnic name” because we live in a country where college admissions and call backs for jobs are affected by something as simple as a NAME. In one study on white names vs black names “White names got about one callback per 10 resumes; black names got one per 15. Carries and Kristens had call-back rates of more than 13 percent, but Aisha, Keisha and Tamika got 2.2 percent, 3.8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively. And having a higher quality resume, featuring more skills and experience, made a white-sounding name 30 percent more likely to elicit a callback, but only 9 percent more likely for black-sounding names.” (See the full article: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-names-a-resume-burden/ )

I have white privilege because I learned in school that people of my race founded America and made it what it is today. The currency I carry in my wallet is also covered with the faces of white Americans whose skin matches mine.

I have white privilege because I live in a country where flying the Confederate flag is still defended as being a part of “Heritage” instead of the disgusting hate crime it really is. But yet, many said that Beyonce’s Superbowl Show was “crossing the line”…

I have white privilege because if my child falls down on the school playground and scratches her knee, the band aid will match her skin color. (The same probably couldn’t be said for a black child)

I have white privilege because when I go to Target to buy shampoo and conditioner for my hair I can find it in the “Shampoo/Conditioner section” whereas my black friends have to look in the “ethnic hair care” section.

I have white privilege because when I dress nicely and speak in an articulate way I don’t “surprise” people.

I have white privilege because I’m never singled out in a conversation with an opening line like, “Hey Kari, you’re white… What do you think about….?” As if I represent the entire population of white people.

I have white privilege because I am able to get a great job without people gossiping, whispering and questioning what I did to get such a good job.

I have white privilege because I didn’t have scholars, historians and the media of another race edit, change and manipulate much of my history just to make it more “pleasant.”

I have white privilege because I can go out in public and not have people assume that I am a shoplifter, drug dealer, thug or criminal.

I have white privilege.

Acknowledging that I have white privilege doesn’t mean that I accept all or even ANY of the responsibility for this problem. It doesn’t mean that I am okay with having it or that I think it’s because of me. It just says that I know, accept and understand that this is a HUGE problem in our country. A problem I’d like to help fix.

I’m ashamed that my white privilege makes other races assume that I’m a snobby, hateful, unsympathetic, judgmental, unhelpful, racist human being who thinks she’s better than others and lacks empathy and sound judgment.

White privilege is real. And even though I don’t speak for my entire race, I speak for a lot of us when I say I’m really sorry that there still isn’t true equality amongst the races. I’m sorry that we are all so hellbent on defending OUR race that we haven’t really made much progress.

The only way anything is going to change is for us all to work together.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
-Buckminster Fuller

 

You Can’t Balance It All

I’m the kind of person that always has 50 web browsers open. I’m always juggling a few too many balls at once. And my balancing act is actually less of an act and more of a survival-style balancing struggle.

Even at this current moment, I am writing this blog, picking out candle fragrances on Yankee candle company, choosing Spring wardrobes for the kids, planning out our garden, buying seeds for Spring, fulfilling orders for my Etsy shop and working on our budget sheet.

I think most of us are trying to fit about 165 hours into a 24 hour day. (I also think we forget to count our sleeping time in that 24 hour period… which leaves only 16 hours into which we try to shove that 165 hours worth of “stuff” to do.)

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If you’re like me, you want to do it all. You want to it all, right now, right when an opportunity arises and you want to succeed at everything.

I wanted to continue being a multi-tasking, farm-running, skincare making, homeschooling, DIY-ing, homemaking, full time working, friendship making, business growing, all homemade cooking, story telling, graphic designing, entertaining, blog writing BADASS.

And I could keep up that pace for about 2 months before I turned into a… half ass tasking, farm-barely running, skincare making, lazy homeschooling, full time working, lame-ass friendship making, business definitely not growing, all homemade cooking (at the expense of yelling at everyone in sight), complaining, miserable, shitty entertaining, depressed, exhausted, blog writing TRAINWRECK.

Why?? BECAUSE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO DO EVERYTHING.

Because at some point, you have to make a CHOICE about what you want to dedicate your time to.. and what you are actually ABLE to dedicate your time to.

As I realized that I had way too much on my plate, I started to slowly disappear from family and friends. It was always, “Oh my gosh, I have so much shit to do…” I stopped hanging out with my friends, I stopped calling my mom to talk and then I suddenly just downright couldn’t function. SYSTEM OVERLOAD.

(INSERT NERVOUS BREAKDOWN HERE)

Obviously the answer to this problem is that you have to choose. But HOW do you choose? How do you choose when you have so much going on, and you love it all, and you’re passionate at all of it, and you’re good at all of it and you just don’t know which one you should stick with RIGHT at this exact moment because WHAT IF YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG THING AND MISS OUT ON THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME???

What if? What if? What if?

So, I’m starting to ask myself one question to decide what fits and what doesn’t…

Will this still be something that I love/am passionate about/get excited about/want/see myself having/doing in 10 years? Or will I be over it in 10 weeks or 10 months?

I know 10 years seems like a long time out… but if it’s a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity, it should still be impacting your life even 10 years out. You should still be able to see the things that you are doing in your long-term plan (unless it’s something you’re doing out of necessity and you know is short term).

Life is way too short to do things that aren’t in your long-term plans.

Make the hard choices.

Go for your dreams.

Be bold, brave and fearless.

Never give up.

Mandela Quote

21 Quotes to Help You QUIT Making Excuses

Boy do I understand making excuses. In fact, this post is inspired by the fact that it’s 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, and despite getting up at 7:45 this morning, I still haven’t done a single thing on my to do list.

I haven’t gone to the grocery, I haven’t done any laundry. I haven’t cleaned the house. I haven’t vacuumed. I haven’t worked out. I haven’t meal prepped. Basically I’ve spent my day sitting here being a lazy, grumpy, unproductive blob.

I won’t be making any excuses today, though. As soon as I hit “POST” I’ll be going to the grocery and getting my “to do list” done, and doing my workout, before bedtime. I’m not going to enjoy the work, but I’m definitely going to enjoy the results.

So, if you need some motivation not to make excuses… check out some of these awesome quotes I’ve collected for you!

 

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Excuses Quotes 21

This last one is my favorite! I have it on a canvas that hangs in my house as a constant reminder that my success is up to me!😉

10 Kinds of People That Need to Get Their Sh*t Together IMMEDIATELY

  1. Girls that sleep with other peoples husbands.
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    He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t respect you. He doesn’t even like you. He obviously doesn’t love his wife… and he’s not going to leave her for you. YOU ARE TOO GOOD TO BE SOME GUYS second/third/fourth choice. So STOP IT already! You look ridiculous and you are always just going to be his side chick. Nobody likes a side chick.
     
  2. Girls who take selfies down their shirt.
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    “Oh hey look I just got my nails done!” (Nails aren’t even in the picture, all I see are your boobs). “I’m so tired and lonely in bed.” (Are you in a bed? Because it looks like you stuffed your phone down your shirt and took a picture.) I have boobs too and if I want to look at them I’ll just take a peek down my own shirt, thankyouverymuch. 
  3. People who provide a running narration of their life.
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    All day, everyday these people are tweeting, snapchatting, instagramming and posting on all forms of social media exactly what they are doing 24/7. “I’m getting some eggs at the store.” [Instagrams picture of the grocery store parking lot] I just got home from the store. [Snapchats video I’m putting the eggs away. I’m taking the eggs back out and making an Omelet.”
     
  4. People that CHEW obnoxiously loudly.
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    For the love of God, some of us have misophonia and your chewing makes us want to RIP ALL OF OUR HAIR OUT AND RUN AROUND SCREAMING. You absolutely DO NOT need to be walking around chewing your bubblegum like a cow eating hay in heat. The fact that no one has murdered you for this obnoxious chewing is a testament to the fact that you must have angels watching over you! 
  5. People who wear so much perfume/cologne that they are literally being followed by a cloud of SCENT.
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    Did you just try to rob the fragrance counter at Macy’s where you were sprayed down with every perfume/cologne known to man by the poor old ladybehind the counter who used it as her only means of self defense??? No? THEN YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO SMELL LIKE YOU JUST TRIED EVERY FRAGRANCE AT THE FRAGRANCE COUNTER. 
  6. People who say they can’t afford to shop organic but go to Starbucks everyday and are constantly bragging about their gold-level Starbucks rewards status.
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    You can’t afford to buy a $4 carton of my pasture-raised organic eggs but you can spend $10 on a Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino Extra Hot With Foam Whipped Cream Upside Down Double Blended, One Sweet’N Low and One Nutrasweet, and Ice. 
  7. People who have never been active in their activewear but insist on wearing it everywhere.
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    Do you know what that activewear is actually for? Do you know that YOGA is actually a fitness activity and not just a style of PANTS? 
  8. Girls who contour their face until they are a different person.
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    Acne cover up? Yes. Councealing the dark bags under your eyes? I understand. Putting on so much make up that you look like you had plastic surgery and are unrecognizable to even your closest friends without makeup? No. It’s not fair to the guys who will wake up to you in the morning.
     
  9. Morning people.
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    Just NO. It is freaking MORNING! What are you so HAPPY about? It is so early in the morning that it’s DARK OUT! I mean maybe you’re just excited because it’s so dark that you’re just really confused and think the day is almost over…. but it’s not, it’s MORNING. And you are still smiling, and chattering and generally pissing me off with your cheerfulness. Get out. I’m still hitting my snooze button for the tenth time.
     
  10. People who talk about how disgusting being gay is.
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    No. Do you want to know what’s disgusting? The fact that McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are made out of “meat slurry.” Know what else is disgusting? Homophobic bigots who have a God complex.

 

If you have any of these people in your life- I’m sorry. Unfortunately we’ve probably all been someone who needed to get their shit together at some point in our lives! 😂😂

Dear High School Girl

I saw a post that was making its rounds on social media, and I couldn’t help but feel a strong pull to write to you, too. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing advice from everyone, but give me a chance, will you?

It’s been 10 years since I was in High School, long enough that I feel I’m finally in a place to give you advice, but still recent enough that I remember how much it HURT to go through what you’re probably going through right now.

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High School really DOESN’T last forever. I know that you know this. And I knew this, too. It’s just that it’s hard to separate feelings from the facts… but you need to know that this feeling and this period of your life WILL NOT last forever. I remember that something about the entire experience felt eternal, and I swear I would have sold my soul to the Devil at the time if it meant I wouldn’t have been so miserable, depressed and lonely.

The #1 thing that I wish you would know and believe is that NO GUY IS WORTH YOUR VIRGINITY IN HIGH SCHOOL. TRUST ME. Hold onto that and wait for someone amazing (preferably when you’re married).

My High School experience can best be described as a combination of “Easy A” meets “Juno”… I thought sex would make guys like me. (I know it’s dumb.. but I also know you’ve thought this, too.) So, I started telling people I’d had sex and done things that I hadn’t actually done. Not so shockingly this resulted in me having quite the reputation. Even though it wasn’t true, it was a reputation that lasted “forever.”

After realizing that this reputation wasn’t going to go away, and with my history of being sexually abused, I decided to Hell with everything! I was going to have sex then! It gave ME control, it temporarily made me feel wanted, and it is what everyone THOUGHT I was already doing anyways. So I did it.

It didn’t take very long before this mindset came to a screeching halt. I got pregnant. As I scrambled to make sense of it all in my 16-year-old mind, I couldn’t believe I’d gotten myself into this mess. What in the WORLD was I thinking?

(To make that long story short, I had my daughter when I was 17 and was a single mother. My parents helped me raise her while I went to school (until High School got so bad that I stopped going), then I got my GED just to be done, met my now-husband, started college and then got married to my husband who adopted our little girl.

Since getting married, my husband and I have had 3 more children, had one of our children die when he was 4 months old, moved three times, bought a farm, started our own businesses, and have generally gained a LOT of life experience.)

Again, let me repeat… SAVE SEX FOR SOMEONE WHO IS WORTH IT!! Do you know what it felt like when I met my husband and had to tell him that I’d had sex with other people when he’d WAITED to have sex? It was so embarrassing. It was humiliating. It was devastating to him. I was ASHAMED of how stupid I’d been.

And you know those guys you think are “so hot” and so amazing right now? The ones you would literally kill someone if it meant you could date them? They aren’t going to be hot in 10 years. I know I sound old when I say this, but the guys that I thought were “so hot” are bald, fat and mostly unhappy almost 30-somethings that didn’t amount to much of anything. And I let THOSE guys determine my self worth.

Also, Your BFF will probably not really end up being your Best Friend Forever.

I know that you think all of your best friends from High School are going to be your bridesmaids and your best friends for life…. But that’s probably not true either. The thing is… college changes things. So does growing up. You move to different states, discover passions you didn’t even know you had, start pursuing your dreams and look back and realize you’ve outgrown a lot of your friendships.

It’s okay, though. Because I really do believe that every single friend or enemy, every person that’s been on your path in your life, was there for a reason and a season that you wont fully understand until it’s over.

Only SOMETIMES do those friends truly stay around for a lifetime.

BE NICE TO EVERYONE YOU MEET. You honestly have NO IDEA when you are going to run into people from High School and possibly be at their mercy. This isn’t the only reason to be nice to people, but seriously, BE NICE TO PEOPLE.

Do you really want to rekindle some HS bullshit in the Emergency Room one night 10 years from now when you’re kid is really sick and your enemy from High School turns out to be your ER physician? Awkward…

I’ve also heard many stories over the years about students who were so depressed they were considering taking their own lives… but then someone was nice to them. You have no idea whose life you might be saving when you make the choice to be nice instead of “cool”. (When “cool” means insulting people, gossiping and hurting people on purpose then I PROMISE that you do NOT want to be “cool.” That person doesn’t go anywhere once they grow up.)

You have no idea who you will reconnect with later. Some of my CLOSEST friends are people I either didn’t know well in High School, OR who I actually HATED (and who HATED me!) Life works in the strangest ways, and you NEVER can tell who you will cross paths with again.

There are a million other things I’d like to tell you not to do—don’t drink, don’t do drugs, if you do drink don’t DRIVE, call for help when you need it, tell the truth, don’t cheat, respect your parents, appreciate your parents, tell your best teachers that they’ve made a difference in your life, believe in yourself, etc.

But today, I just want you to remember to be nice to everyone you meet and respect yourself enough not to have sex with people you think are so wonderful in High School. Dedicate your time to figuring out your passions, your dreams and your goals. And then go out there and make it happen!

Trust me… 10 years goes faster than you think! And you won’t believe what can change in those 10 years😉

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