Sunday, August 30, 2009

Message in a Bottle: Metablogging

The idea of blogging is fairly new to me. The idea of journaling is not.

Last night I was thinking about the concept of it and how incredible it is.

Whenever I journal, I imagine I am talking to someone...perhaps to God, or in hope that someday someone might read it...although, perhaps many of those pages I don't really want just anyone reading...

Blogging on the internet is more public. Perhaps, I am still writing to "God" in case no one is really reading this.. But, I think, perhaps, many that do blog do have a reader or two or two hundred..

In any case, as I write, it is almost like putting a message in a bottle and releasing it to the sea-to the world. Perhaps someone will find it; perhaps no one will.. I may never know the outcome of it.

There are proably thousands who blog? millions? I don't know.. All these bottles floating out in the ocean looking for a reader. Perhaps some of them are an "SOS to the World"..Many people reaching out..perhaps in loneliness, or simply wanting to connect in a meaningful way. Perhaps someone wants their 5 minutes of fame from it. There are probably countless motivations for it. But my imagination of it is that there are many souls reaching out with blogging- wanting to say something they can't easily say to other people in everyday association.

I think of the movie Powder.. We don't realize how connected we are. We see ourselves as separate, but we are truly connected and we don't "see" it. We are more the "same" than we think we are. Our feelings..our need to connect. This blogging experience IS truly amazing. It is spiritual...each post is like a light out into the ocean..and expression of who we are..and that desire to connect with each other..and perhaps our Creator..

This is my own photo. (-;

Friday, August 28, 2009


My parents next to our HILO trailer

My parents first introduced me to camping when I was one year old.
I do not remember the tent camping stage of that part of my childhood, but I do remember our old Starcraft pop up trailer. I had my own bunk and I couldn't touch the canvas if it was raining or I'd get wet. I loved my little corner of the trailer. We also had a screen house we would set up that would help to keep out the mosquitoes and rain- so we could have our meals in relative comfort. I loved the outdoor cooking, the smell of the meat on the grill, helping my mother shuck (sp) the corn..the campfire popcorn, marshmellows, sometimes strawberries and cream. I loved being outside in nature, the peace, the time to relax and read a book by a lake or river. I loved the nature walks and ampatheater shows/talks, and the new places we were able to explore. Hiking with my dad. Cooking with my mom. Occasionally, we would go camping with my father's parents. I remember exchanging stories with my grandmother as I helped her walk to the bathroom. (she was not very steady on her feet) I remember singing to her "who's afraid of the big bad wolf" (She was very patient and never seemed to mind) Sometimes I'd lie down beside her when she had to put eye medecine and wait for it to work into her eyes and we'd share stories again-episodes of the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. I remember her telling me that she liked the earlier Walton episodes better before they started drinking. I remember clipping some of blond hair into her hair thinking it would make her gray/white hair change back into younger hair and this would make her reverse in age.

Each camping trip was an unique experience. Each was special in its own way and each had its challenges too. When I was about ten, we sold the Starcraft and my parents bought a HILO trailer that would raise with a hydraulic system. As I entered my independent teen stage; I opted to be in my tent and I loved my "own space". I loved listening to the sound of the rain pattering on the canvas as I read or wrote poems or thoughts into my diary. Ahhhh..the endless hours I could spend in my own thoughts back then... (is that child calling to me NOW?)-

my tent on the right

Even after graduating from high school, during college I'd go camping a little by myself. My parents worried, I know when I was on my own..It wasn't quite as fun alone...

One of the first traditions I wished to preserve after getting married was to go camping every summer. We have done that (almost). We tent camp. (I prefer using a tent.) My husband and I camped across the country back in 2002. Then when our son was 3 1/2 months old, we went camping for 8 nights in Florence, Oregon. (a tricky experience because it was cold and we had to lug our food and equipement in a wheelbarrow every mealtime) Our daughter had her first camping experience when she was one. This year we went to the Redwoods for a week and a half. My father was able to join us which felt really special as I owe this important aspect of my life currently to him and my grandfather.
Camping with young children (as parent) isn't the same as when I was a child/teen...It is MUCH more work and less relaxing, but still, it always feels worth the effort as I see my children gain from the experience. Each year, they seem to learn something about nature or become stronger more mature/wise. My son especially is very much at home "outside". My daughter also toughened up quite a bit this summer as we did a lot of "kid hikes" It is good to get away from the TV, the computer, the landline phone..the housecleaning, the toys, the the the... and simplify life a bit..

My father, myself, and my 2 children

My father told me the story of how he started camping. It was my grandfather's idea after reading a magazine. I think my father was about 14-15 when they first that would have been the early 1950's.
They found an old tent that my great-grandfather had collected when he was working as a janitor. The rest of the equipment they made themselves.. I think it was very cold/hard sleeping on the bare ground/
I guess that parks were just being built as a way to boost the economy-getting families to sight-see, to travel, spend money, etc..
In any case, it has become our family tradition; and I hope it continues for more generations to come.. I hope we preserve enough of our parks that my great-grandchildren can also experience the awe and spiritual relationship to our world.

my husband and children (drawing/writing in their journals).
Poem I wrote while in my tent and listening to a storm outside:
The Test of Life (8/21/89) 16 years old.
The violent storm raged
Gales of wind whipped the ocean
as lashes struck each wave
A war between land
that wanted to be constant
and forces that made change
The clouds covered the earth
with black malicious eyes
and loud striking commands
So much hate, yet the earth's world is a mirror
of the spiritual trials we follow
The cruel attacking
The merciless striking of lightening
leaving a shock of pain
To look at the clouds
No realization of the malice
that could break you
because you cannot really see
Until it hits you
you can ignore the clouds
fight the wind
but you cannot obstruct the lightening
all their lives
people fight the wind
and deal with lightening
as it strikes close by
If they fight hard enough
they will survive the storm
to be rewarded with a definition
stronger than the hurt
The sunny day seems so much brighter
And the person
so much more whole, confident,
and less wary of survival
If this can be gained
how could those hateful clouds
be seen as so hateful
when they give us a gift
nothing else could giveenjoying nature (me at 14 yrs.)
A little blurb on the history of camping:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This time in Oregon is rich in food from home gardens to CSA's, and Farmer's Markets. I hope to include some things I have learned about gardening these past 3 summers. For now, I will include some pictures of our family gardens this year.



This is our asparagus patch

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beginnings-Brief Overview for Blog

My (first) Nuclear Family
Inspiriations for journal writing and now this blog:
I was born in 1973 in Keene, New Hampshire. I was an only child to older parents.
My father worked quite a bit and I spent a lot of time with my mother who was a stay at home mom. I was a little lonely and longed for a sibling.
My mother read to me every evening and for awhile we had been reading the Little House on the Prairie Series. I adored those books and the spirited Laura. I idealized her and wanted to be just like her, so I decided one day that I would write a book of my life just like her and this is how it began.
To this day, I have continued to journal. (although not as often since I have had my own children to care for) I have volumes and probably thousands of pages of my life written down. Some of it is a time capsule of my life and its happenings, my feelings, my ponderings, and a good bit of it is venting my the hearing, non-judgemental pages before me. I wish to share a bit of it here in this blog, edited of course, to protect the innocent (LOL!) -including myself.

My Extended Family-Dad's side.

Waste Free Lunches

Picture from

My son is about to start the first grade. This is his first year of "full-time" school. Last year he did PM kindergarten. I do not want to feed him PBJ everyday. I remember I got sick of those cold meals everday; and I don't want to pay for the school lunch either except on occasion as a treat. I am starting to do some research into possible lunches; easy lunches, but appealing to his pallate. I am also researching lunch boxes. I am learning that there are types of lunchboxes where you don't have to use plastic bags anymore or juice boxes..hence waste free lunches!

I am turning the lunch making into something fun instead of a chore! Some of the lunches online look really good. I'm not sure how much work they are, though..I don't have "all day" to make lunches either. (-;

Picture taken from:

Here are some sites that were recommended and that I found.

For lunchboxes:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Persecution of the Baha'is in Iran

I have started reading the book, OLYA'S STORY, by Olya Roohizadegan.

It is the true story of a woman who was imprisoned in Iran in the 1980's. Her crime: choosing to be a Baha'i. I am choosing to read it now, because there has been a resurgance of persecution of Baha'is in Iran..even this week some Baha'is have gone missing. I am amazed by the strength of this woman and those around her...She wrote not out of bitterness of what she went through. I think she simply wanted others to know what happened to her and her friends and family. The amount of adversity she went through -was willing to go that her Faith would survive.

Integrity-–noun 1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

That word sums her up. She would not lie even if lying would save her life, the life of her family, or the harship of being imprisoned and tortured. Her faith was a part of who she was -heart and soul and she would not "sell out".....and when she was faced with "death" she was filled with joy..the joy of the detachment from this world...and the joy that they did not force her to give up her faith even after torturing her physically, emotionally, spiritually... She did survive and this is her story.


"Counting the seven people in Tehran who constituted the group that was known as the Friends in Iran, at least 31 Iranian Baha’is are in prison because of their religion. The seven “leaders” have now spent a full year in jail, six of them since 14 May 2008 and one since 5 March 2008.
The number of Baha’is in detention in Iran varies frequently as new people are arrested but others released after surrendering business licenses or posting property deeds or cash as collateral. Since March, there have been arrests in Shiraz, Semnan, Karaj, Tokeabon, Babol, Hamadan, Miandoab, Yazd, and Sari.
The collateral, or bail, required for temporary release from custody is often exorbitant. For example, six people arrested earlier this year in Tehran and released on bail in March (including a woman who had worked as a secretary for Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi) had to post the equivalent of more than $70,000 each.
As of 1 June, the cases of at least 220 Baha’is are still active with the authorities. This includes individuals in prison, those who have been released pending trial, those who have appealed their verdicts, those awaiting notification to begin serving prison sentences, and a few who are serving periods of internal exile. Thousands more have been questioned, threatened, or deprived of pensions, livelihood or education."

207 Baha'is have been executed in Iran since 1978.

They were executed simply for being Baha'is.

What does it mean to be a Baha'i.

What We Believe
© Bahá’í International Community
The Baha'i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in Iran in 1844, it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Baha'is come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Baha'i Faith the second-most-widespread religion in the world.
Baha'is view the world's major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.
The central theme of Baha'u'llah's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity’s unification into one global society. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions, Baha'u'llah also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. “A new life,” Baha'u'llah declared, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth.”
The worldwide Baha'i community, composed of people from virtually every racial, ethnic and religious background, is working to give practical expression to Baha'u'llah’s vision of world unity. We invite you to learn more about the Baha'i Faith and benefit from the spiritual and practical insights found in the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, God's message for humanity in this day.

taken from:

This next link is the famous "Mona" video from the eighties about the execution of a 16/17 year old girl.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Swine Flu: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?

picture taken from:

If anyone is reading my blog yet, I would love to hear from you about this. There is a lot of controversy about the safety of vaccines and whether or not the swine flu will become more "deadly" I have two children 6 and 4 years old; and I'm not sure what to do..

Today's headline in the Oregonian urges people to vaccinate themselves, but the vaccine hasn't been fully tested. People had bad reaction back in the 70's over it..which is the lesser/greater evil? The flu itself, or the possible dangers of taking a vaccine that has not been properly tested?

and what about what happened over Thalidomide?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Age 12 (1987) Second to last visit with Grandma

Ok. I did say that this would be a time capsule "eighties" And in my vision of this blog; I imagine a going back and forth between the past and the present time including excerpts from old journals. I took a look at 1987...Yikes. I was a dork. Well, not really a dork, but it is embarassing how much I talked about "crushes" and the such at that stage in my life. I was 12. But here at the end of that diary is a significant memory I have.

So, here goes: (keep in mind that this is in the words of a 12 year old...many spelling (sic) and such errors and probably typos in copying.) and forgive my immature 12 year old perspectives..

Saturday, April 25, 1987 age: 12

I just finished the paper route with dad. He didn't have to work today. So we didn't have to get up at four. I'm not tired at all even if I wen tto bed at eleven and got up at five. Yesterday the most amazing thing happened to me. We went to go visit Grandma at the hospital, because she had a severe shock almost a stroke leaving her right side paralyzed. This happened Monday just after we had spent the weekend with Grandpa for Easter. Grandpa told us Grandma wouldn't even recordnize (sic) us. She couldn't talk or anything. Excpet somehow deep inside me I couldn't realize that. When mom and I went into her room (which last time we were visiting her I was about eleven and wasn't allowed to see her, because of my age) The first look at her I thought she was dead, I was so scaired(sic). I waslked over to her and she was sleeping. I tried to wake her, but I coudlnt' tell if she was awake or asleep. I tried to talk to her, but she gave no signs of recordnition (sic). I read her a healing prayer(my favorite the one I read when I burned my foot). still no recordnitions I told her over and over how much I love her still no resonse that was when I remembered all the times I told her that and she would kiss me and later on when she went to the convelenscent (sic) home she would squeeze my hand, but she just lay there unrecorditionalble. I started to cry. I have never eally felt this way before, except when I couldn't find Panoochie, (our cat) or when I aw that dead cat. When I cried over Mr. Wyman it wasn't my true feelings or when I cried of Grandma Kennedy it really wasn't real, but this time it was true tears not tears that I thought I should shed.

Then mom came over and said a prayer for her. I then kept talking to her and telling her about camping all the fun we had. When I told her stories about the tv series, Waltons, and Little House on the Prairie. The n the nurse came in and I asked if I could hold her hand, I no longer felt like crying. I tried to hold her hand, but she shook it and didn't want any part of it. She probably thought I was a nurse. So I just put my hand over hers and kept talking ot her. I put my head on her sholder and closed my eyes for a while. I wanted to show her my love and that it was me. that was when she turned her head and looked at me. She moved her hand and I held onto it. She sqeezed my hand! and looked at me directly in the eyes. I knew she had responded to me. I told her about the movie Rags to Rickes and I cold tell she liked that. Itold her again that I love her. The time was running out though, we had been with her for most of the time and had to give dad and grandpa a chance to see her. I told her we had to go and I kissed her on the lips and she kissed me back! That gave dad and granpa only 20 minutes to see her. while we waited in the waiting room I saw people talking to a deaf person in sign language. I wen tover and talked to that person with my hands too using letters. When dad and grandpa came back they said granma was very conscous(sic) and even reached for granpas (sic) hand. I have never felt this good in my life.

I am a Baha'i (Part A)

I grew up in a Baha'i family, so it has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.

During my early teens I questioned whether or not I wanted to be a Baha'i. I needed to find out for myself. I attached myself to my friends, to a boyfriend and made that my world. When that relationship dissolved. I soon realized that I could not make people or relationships be my whole world..So much in life changes..people change, relationships come and go. I felt the only thing that I could truly trust to be with me eternally was my faith.

I started to say prayers every day and I found pieces of a puzzle that had been so random before, come together into a pattern that made sense. It felt magical and I think I owe the insights simply to saying prayers "every day". I had felt so much emotional pain and the prayers brought me insights that freed me from that pain. It gave me a way out through insight..emtional, spiritual, mental insight.

When I was 17; I realized within myself that "spiritual reality" was what was truly real; and that that was where I wanted to "exist". It both comforted and intrigued me. I was hooked and became a very active youth.

After high school, I did a Baha'i youth year of service on the Taylor Rubino Project in Ludington, Michigan. (more on this at a later date). That year gave me a foundation and identity that kept me going and out of trouble through college. I already had a moral core that my parents helped me cultivate, but this strengthened it.

And now as a parent, I hope I can "give" this to my children.

I am sooo glad for the "path" that kept me from wasting my time with drugs, etc.. The "intoxicated" culture did not appeal to felt so false to me. I have only ever wanted to be "real" I never wanted to "play" the game..especially in my relationships. It gave me a sharper edge in my "purpose" that helped direct me to exactly where I really wanted to career, where I wanted to live, and now my family. I honestly owe all I have for that sense of direction.

It wasn't easy to reach this point, but now that I'm here, I am very grateful.

There is sooo much more I could say, but for now, I will settle for this to be a part A (brief) intro-

For more information on what the Baha'i Faith is, visit:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thirteen Tips Toward Sustainability

I do wish to write more about sustainability and healthy living on this blog. There are ways to afford being able to eat organic foods.. To begin, I would like to simply include a list of tips that I have found helpful in changing my own lifestyle. (I am far from where I would like to be), but this is a good starting point. This is a very informal list and at some point I'd like to add more details and facts, links, book recommendations.. I highly recommend clicking on the link for "story of stuff" It is lifechanging information.

1. Join a local CSA (community supported agriculture)-eat local as much as you can. Eat organic. This can be a more offordable option. We are a member of Birds and Bees Farm near Oregon City. Eat local and in season. In season food is cheaper. Look at the prices. Don't buy fresh strawberries from Mexico in January...wait until you can buy them local/in season..or go crazy in the summer and pick away/jam/freeze them so you can enjoy them during the winter that way. Think about the fuel cost in having the food shipped from so far..and the loss of nutrition anyway.. "think about your ecological footprint" in your buying choices.

2. Buy grains/beans/rice in bulk. We buy most of this from Azure Standard. You will save money this way and better be able to afford organic options.

3. Avoid plastic and recycle everything you can. Plastic is horrible to the environment. Use those reusable bags at the grocery store. Plastics are also filled with chemicals that are harmful...plastic toys that babies put into their mouths, etc.. Try to avoid as much "packaging" as you can even it is recyclable...think about bulk..all that packaging had to be created which involved polluting someone's backyard..and then again, it will be thrown away-creating more waste.. Make a goal of reducing your garbage. We use a smaller garbage can now since we compost, buy in bulk, and avoid processed foods=smaller garbage bill! I also buy bar soap and shampoo to avoid the plastic packaging.

4. Try not to depend on a grocery store too much. (if you have other options) buying clubs, co-ops. etc.. (Portland Green Parenting) In grocery stores, you will be paying marked up prices for not so good food-and getting more packaging to only be thrown away. Farmers markets are wonderful during the summer as are trips to a local farm for u-pick..

5. Try to make food from scratch as much as you can. Avoid processed foods. Enjoy the creativity. Processed foods are "dead foods" and have many harmful aspects to them...oils that are heated to extreme temps that become non-food to our bodies= cancer. I can't emphasize enough to avoid these processed foods like the plague. Even boxed cereals that claim to be healthy are still HIGHLY processed. Instead eat oatmeal or other whole grain "actual grains" there are many ways to prepare them that are not hard and are delicious! (I am still learning about this and some day hope to phase out those boxed cereals (almost completely)

6. Grow a garden in your yard, patio, window, etc.. or use pots, grow vertically if you lack the space. (Check out the book Square Foot Gardening) for starters. Compost your scraps=great for your garden, flowers, lawn, trees, and less waste going into landfill.

7. Drink raw milk from a local farm that is reputatable..has clean practices, feed their cows only grass. the enzymes are needed in our diets.. So much of what we put into our bodies is "dead"..we need some living things to help us digest our food, protect us from harmful bacterias. Truly raw honey is good too! Eat your veggies raw when you can.. The fresher they are, the less processed/cooked that they are the more nutrition they will provide you.

8. Have fun with the process and take it one step at a time! So many things to try-making your own bread, grinding your own wheat/grains, making yogurt, kefir, kombucha, creme fraiche, granola, canning and preserving-jams,

9. De-clutter your home and your life. Live more simply. Your things are more of a burden than you might think. (I am working on this step right now-and it is my biggest challenge)

10. Try to buy things used. Don't support the trend of "throwing things away" Don't support the industries that are making too much toxic throw-away "stuff". Things made today are made to break within a short amount of time. Try to get things second-hand..less will have to be "made" if more people re-use. Yard sales. consignment. freecycle. craigslist. goodwill outlets/thrift stores. borrow. use the library rather than buying books.

11. If you buy meat, find a farmer you can order part of an animal from to keep in your freezer. We've been buying grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as chickens this way. It is much cheaper and you have the comfort of knowing where your meat comes from-You can see the quality of life the animals have had. I think this kind of meat is much safer..considering the horrible meat recalls lately..and it is much tastier and cheaper!

12. Drink your own filtered water. Nothing is better than water. Not juice, certainly not soda, not coffee..and it is MUCH cheaper. Our bodies need the water, not all the sugar and additives. Once you start primarily drinking water, you will not crave the sugar so much. (I do still drink coffee often and the others I mentioned as "treats" but in general, this is the ideal I am striving towards.

13. Think about how you use energy, oil, and water. How do you travel to work? Are there better ways to conserve energy that you haven't tried yet? biking, walking, public transportation. Turn off those lights when not using them. don't run the water while brushing your teeth. Take showers moderately. Keep your thermostat lower than what is luxurious.

I will most likely revise/add to this list, but this is a start..

Monday, August 17, 2009

Core of Self: Unapologetic

I've been thinking recently about how I identify myself and how I have related to other people for years..

I often find myself in a role of looking for assurance from the people around myself. Am I okay. Am I lovable. Is my existence worth something to them? Do I often try to impress them, or share a piece of who I am with them from this locus?
In my life this search for assurance has taken on so many forms. And I realize that even my personality is (slightly) altered depending upon who I am with. Often their energy sways my energy; and I try to fit in with them.. This isn't' the case always. I do not think I do this so much with my husband, or when I already feel accepted and loved.

Alas, though, when I do not get this assurance; I wonder about my own value-or feel hurt that I don't think I am liked. (Isn't this silly) It is not who I want to be.. I should not depend so much on assurance from other people.

I want a strong "core" I would love to not care so much what others think. I "know" I have value. I am proud of who I am and where I have taken my life. I don't think everyone is proud of me..I don't think everyone respects that I chose to be a stay at home mom at this point in my life. I don't think everyone appreciates that I am really into gardening, violin, my about what goes into our bodies, into the air, the soil, etc.. I think many people might not even agree with the principles of my Faith/and or the things I choose not to do for my faith such as not drinking alcohol.

Many people may look down on how I parent...That I believe in nurturing them/the relationship.I also do not believe in over-scheduling them (but we are still busy) I am also not always a die-hard disciplinarian...I also know I'm protective of them.. perhaps too much.

There are so many points where someone could disagree or look down on how I choose to live/raise my children, etc.. I can do the same thing, probably do...Seems inside our "shell" we think we are doing things in a "better" way. I am living and raising my children in the best way I know how, within my own conscience...and I am not saying it is better than anyone else's way. but I am so often plagued by the "feeling" that I am not approved of.. I wish I could be like Philip Glass and just laugh at the criticism-see it as a sign I am doing something right. And I pray that my children grow up to be okay, well-adjusted, etc..

Inside my heart, I am not apologetic. I am on this path honestly...and I adapt as my children I learn better.. Some of my "protectiveness" is making way to encouraging their autonomy, independence. I am NOT set in stone.. I have changed so much in this journey and I continue to change when I feel the path is "right" for me..when it seems I am doing the "right" thing. But I hate skepticism/and or drains me..especially when a part of me is looking so hard for assurance..the skepticism hurts. I already know I'm not perfect. I am doing the best I can. And sometimes I long to hear "I'm doing just fine" and that my children are doing just fine, etc..

I'm rambling.. But I suppose that is the point of the blog. It is the journal I am willing to share. Personal, but not too private. (-;

In any case, I wish for a stronger that is not swayed..I think it is stronger from just realizing the limitation of "seeking assurance" from other people. I don't want that to be the place where I am coming from. I wish to transcend that. Perhaps I already am transcending that..I can see myself leaving that limitation behind..flying above it to something else more solid and real..


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