Finding True Serenity

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Dreadlocks October 15, 2008

Filed under: Dreadlocks,Simplifying — findingtrueserenity @ 4:05 pm
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I have always loved the look of dreadlocks… 

Photo by technopolitan @flickr.com
Photo by technopolitan @flickr.com

Certain things just catch my eye…and they are usually things that everyone else deems “odd!”  Quite to the contrary I LOVE the uniqueness of it all.  I love that no one else could have them exactly the way I have them.  They are my own…

After almost a year and a half of debating on whether or not I should get my own set of beautiful dreadlocks, I finally came to the conclusion that you truly only get to live once.  I don’t want to live with “I wish I would have.”  My entire existance is just a mere spec in the history of time.  And the best part about hair is that it grows back!  So, after much debate I decided there wasn’t a good valid reason of why I shouldn’t try something that I have wanted to for a very long time!

Here are some before and after photos…

Before

Before

After

After

You can see the progress of the journey from beginning to mature by clicking here!  
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The Loves of My Life October 9, 2008

Filed under: Family — findingtrueserenity @ 4:03 am
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我家是我的生命 My family is my life!   私の家族は私の生命〔生活〕です

I am happily married to my best friend and lifelong partner, Shawn; and we have two beautiful children, Jonathan is 7, and Shian is 3.  It is so good to be Loved!  As the photo depicts…my husband truly is the backbone of this family.  He is the strongest man I know and I adore him for loving us unconditionally! 

Below are the two biggest influences I have ever had on my life…through ups and downs…I love them so!

My amazing mother, who has shown me patience and unwaivering love with alot of humor!

 

 

 

 

 

And my lil sis, who has a heart of gold and is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some fun shots of us goofing around on our quads….

 

Natural Home

 

Well, after giving up many disposables and replacing them with reusable items we then gradually went to cleaning supplies.  I grabbed a crate and filled it up with all the cleaning supplies and gave them away.

I have to admit this wasn’t a hard one for me to do.  I was one of those people that would get migraines from using bleach, would need to have the windows open and ventilation fans on whenever I was trying to clean and could feel the chemicals burning my skin as I scrubbed away the germs. 

I still to this day can’t believe how many cleaners I had.  We had one for every job and needless to say that cleared up alot of space under the sinks!  We now truly only use a few natural cleaning ingredients.  You can learn more about their uses here, and an even more lengthy list of natural cleaners here.  Vinegar is our standard cleaner that has replaced everything! For windows, we use straight white vinegar and wipe with newspapers. For scrubbing the counter, sinks, tubs, and toilet, I use vinegar with a washcloth.  You could also use baking soda and play with essential oils.  Tea tree oil is known for it’s natural anti-bacterial power and lavender for it’s calming scent.  For a multipurpose cleaner we just fill a spray bottle 1/4 way with white vinegar and then top it off with water.  This is a very simple, basic, and highly effective concoction!

I use a natural soap for washing dishes and I also make a homemade laundry detergent using natural cleaners.  There are lots of recipes out there, but this is one that seems to work for us. 

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
(For light load, use 1 tablespoon.  For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.)
I love how simple this has made our lives.  We’re not out buying all sorts of different products to “clean” our home.  I love the fact that I feel completely comfortable having Jonathan and Shian help me with cleaning.  And by using natural ingredients you will not only be making inexpensive cleaners (I’m saving an estimated $185 annually), you will also realize they are just as effective without the light headed, sick to your stomach, migraine side effects!  🙂
 

The Disposable Choice October 8, 2008

In my first post I spoke of us trying to make changes that will lessen our footprint on Mother Earth.  I would like to share some of the things we have been doing differently since making that decision.

Over the past couple of years we have been trying to get rid of our disposables.  It’s funny how odd you feel when you go against mainstream!  Even family members can have a hard time accepting that you are not using paper plates!  🙂  But, I have always felt a little different, so what’s new!  Here is a list of things that we have chose to change so far!  The list is ever evolving as we are a work in progress!

Paper Plates:  We use our Pfaltzgraff dinnerware set that we bought at a garage sale.  Wash, dry, and they are ready to go for next time!  We even have a stainless steel camping set of plates and cups that we can take with us!

Plasticware:  I hate plasticware.  It just doesn’t hold up.  I’d rather use the silverware my in-laws purchased for us for Christmas any day!

Paper Napkins:  We hardly ever used them, but now I have some homemade cloth napkins that we use occassionally!

Paper Towels:  I have to admit we do keep one roll in the kitchen in case one of the dogs has an accident, but we now have a huge stash of hand towels in the kitchen that we use for a little bit of everything.  (Hint:  dark colors don’t show stains as well!)

Disposable Diapers:  My daughter just started potting training when we added this one to the list so we switched out all of the disposable pullups to cloth training underwear.  I’m so glad we chose to do this one.  It amazes me how much we were throwing away…in the trash and out of our pocketbook. 

Toilet Paper:  The boys in our family haven’t tried this one yet, but my daughter and I have made a huge dent in our toilet paper use and expense per week by using cloth family wipes.  I made our family wipes out of flannel and terry cloth and they are so soft and refreshing!  I actually dread having to use toilet paper now because it is so crumbly and icky!  For those of you out there that aren’t getting the just of it all, just keep reading!  🙂

You take a wipe (dry for pee, wet for poo) and wipe as usual.  Instead of flushing it down the drain we throw ours in a waterproof container to be washed.  Simple!  We do obviously keep a roll of regular toilet paper in the bathroom for the boys and guests, but just us girls making the switch has made a huge difference…give it a try!!!

Femanine Personals:  I chose to not use tampons and pads anymore.  They were always uncomfortable so the swtich was easy for me.  I started using the The Diva Cup.   For those of you out there that are not comfortable with this idea please keep an open mind here.  Be informed and research what exactly goes into your tampons, (for all products really).  I guess what I’m trying to say here is don’t judge someone on their decisions; make informed decisions for yourself.  🙂  And be happy with them!  This has been a work in progress.  I didn’t make a change until I was comfortable with it myself, and only for myself. 

Paper and Plastic Grocery Bags:  We have several reusable bags that we carry with us.  Now a days, most of the stores are carrying cheap bags that you can buy for less than a dollar and they will reduce the amount of plastic bags used drastically!  Remember, every little bit helps!  I’m not perfect by any means, and this particular one is one that we really do need to buckle down on because we do forget our reusable bags.

Wrapping Paper:  We tried this last Christmas by making a few simple cloth drawstring bags to put gifts into.  It was so easy and such a hit with family.  I actually had to convince some of them to let me have the bags back so they could receive something next year!  tehehehee.  And did I mention cleanup was a snap!!! So after Christmas last year I bought clearanced fabric to make more gift bags this year!  I can’t wait!  This isn’t limited to Christmas however, you can make/buy bags to use for any gift giving occassion.  I love it!

So far to date, making the decision to eliminate as many disposables as possible has been a wonderful experience.  Our family is producing less trash and has been conservatively saving money.

We are still learning though and welcome any advice!  We just urge you to try just one on our list and see if it works out for you.  We added to our list as we become more comfortable with the idea of it all and that has helped us tremendously!

Please, take time to evaluate your options and choose reusable today!

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

Jes

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Downsizing: Clearing out the extra “stuff”

Filed under: Contentment,Moving,Possessions,Simplifying — findingtrueserenity @ 3:15 am
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My husband Shawn and I have been busy trying to clean up all of our extra “stuff.”  I have to admit I am a natural packrat!  I’m torn between getting rid of stuff and hanging onto it, especially when it comes to our kids.  I realize that for me it is just a mental hurdle I have to overcome and I know in my heart I will feel much better when we are down to what we really need.

Our family of four is currently living in a 951 sq. ft. home in town and are preparing to downsize to a home that is half that size on ten acres.  We want our children to grow in an environment that teaches them how to be sustainable and to respect and preserve our Creator’s gifts to us.  Yes, living more simply can involve more work, but no words can describe the gratification you feel afterwards like when you hear that “pop” from a jar you just finished canning!  It truly brings things into perspective. 

So, this week we have been working especially hard at creating a dent in all of our extras.  I feel so wonderful and free.  We have donated and freecycled items and now we are preparing for a garage sale for the remainder of it all.  We have been simplifying our lives, helping others, and extending the life of our things by keeping them out of the landfill.   What an amazing week.

 

Borrowed Earth October 7, 2008

Filed under: Consumerism — findingtrueserenity @ 8:08 pm
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With all of the modern conveniences today it is hard for some of us to imagine how our grandparents or even great grandparents were able to survive.  They can’t imagine a world without McDonald’s or Wal-Mart.  Where will this path that our nation is headed take us?  We have legalized harmful chemicals into our food supply, our cleaning supply, our homes, our transportation, especially our beauty products!  Despite what your dietary ideas are, there are some people out there that didn’t realize chickens had bones and skin thanks to Tyson.  Many people look through the meat department and are completely unaware of what kind of life those animals have led, let alone that they were animals at one time.  They don’t know what the animals have been subjected to.  Produce is quite similar.  How far away was that out of season produce shipped to be available year round.  What chemicals were sprayed on the fields, the plant, and the fruit?

I walked around oblivious to the notion that it was anything different from how I grew up.  Our grandparents cows and chickens grazed on the land.  They were our friends!  We tended to them, cared for them and loved them.  My mother grew an amazing garden.  We all worked hard to plant and care for the delicate sprouts of produce popping through the dirt.  We were greatful for the weather and for the food we were able to eat.  It was only until a couple of years ago that I watched a movie, titled the Rave Diet, that changed my perspective drastically.  I highly recommend you to read and watch anything related to factory farming.  It truly was an eye opener. 

We were so busy enjoying all our liberties and complaining about how expensive everything was without looking more so at the problem.  We are buying and consuming more than what we really need to.  Since dealing with out daughter’s health issues and being more aware of what goes on behind the scenes, our family has strived to be more aware of our actions and we try to change what we comfortably can.  Our ideals are evolving on a daily basis as we gain more knowledge on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.    Small change in big numbers can have a dramatic impact. 

The Native Americans believe that what happens today affects the next seven generations; that we borrow this Earth from our children.  This is so true.  I have experienced some emotional and spiritual growth over the last few years and my family and I have been striving to find small changes that work with our lifestyle and beliefs that reduce our footprint on Mother Earth.  I am going to post more about this further and hope that maybe us sharing our experiences through the internet we might inspire a few others to find their true Serenity!

~jes~