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I normally say that the days are long and the years are short. Last year, everything was long. If you had told me on January 1st 2012 what we would accomplish in one year, I would have laughed at you and said you were nuts. We launched the Budget Menu Mailer in February, the Gluten and Dairy-Free Training Course in May, the video-based membership site with two different classes in June, started a weekly podcast on PRN in July, grew Nourished Living Network through the year to about 50 members, launched a Real Food Holidays video class in October, launched Organic Living Report in November and much more. We spent December working at breakneck pace, trying to get our website restored and re-upload about a thousand media files and all of our membership materials after our host went AWOL and we couldn’t access our own site. What I haven’t discussed publicly is that it took with it all of our administrative back-end, including our entire business structure where the four of us (Jeff, myself, and our two wonderful assistants, Karen and Kayla) kept all of our documentation, stayed organized, and on track. We also suffered some personal set-backs, including a year of unemployment, the illness and death of a beloved pet, some health problems and other things I didn’t discuss much or at all on the blog. Looking back, I really don’t know how we accomplished it all!
My hope is that 2013 will be nothing but up. Every year, I choose one word to be the theme of the year. Last year, strangely enough, my chosen word was ‘thrive.’ I had a little sign on my computer to remind me, every day, to work to thrive despite the workload and the adversity. This year, my word is ‘community.’ My focus in 2013 will be on building a cohesive, active, vibrant local and an online community. I have a little bright green sign on my monitor now, right in my line of vision anytime I look up from my work.
So, with that, I would like to share my resolutions, and even a complaint about the blogging world, with you.
I resolve to share more of myself with you.
This year, I resolve to continually seek a good balance between work and home. Jeff now works part-time and my children’s studies are beginning to consume more of my time. While I enjoy blogging immensely, my husband, children and home are my top priority. Sometimes it’s difficult to balance it all. I will increase my focus on planning and time management to see it all gets done without disruption to my family and share about that on my blog.
If you’re subscribed to the membership site, you’ll notice that most of the videos are filmed with the kids on camera OR the kids around, helping to make the meal and then voiced over. We do the video assembly and voiceovers when the kids are asleep at night or engaged in a quiet activity like reading. While my children are integral to the business, I’d rather film during chore time, or answer their questions about what I’m cooking and how they can help or listen to my daughter practice the piano or my son read to me aloud instead of shushing them so there’s no background noise and I can talk to the camera. Trying to talk while filming required them to be elsewhere or in their rooms for long periods of time. It just wasn’t doable for my family at their ages and stages without being destructive. They’re still young enough that they need lots of time and lots of guidance. In the videos where I sit down and talk to the camera, we film those when my kids go to visit the grandparents. In everything that I do, I strive to seek a way to meet my family’s needs while still being able to meet my own business needs and my own need for a creative outlet. I don’t believe motherhood has to be one continual pouring out, one continual sacrificing of oneself in order to meet others’ needs while your own needs go unfulfilled. There’s a better balance for those who seek it.
The recipes in the Menu Mailers, membership site, on the blog are chosen and designed with my family in mind. My kids have learned how to set up for photos in a flash so they can eat what I’ve made. If a recipe doesn’t pass muster with them, we re-do it or we move on to something else. When choosing recipes to design and then test, I take their requests into consideration.
I resolve to include more of my own life on my blog, including my day-to-day goings. I’ve had some bloggers tell me recently that I’m the ‘strictly business’ type in my writing. I have come across that way inadvertently, as it was never my intention to only present the facts and just the facts, ma’am, with no humanity or warmth. In trying to keep things short, because I know you’re busy and I appreciate the time you spend here with me, I guess I was too short. Too one-dimensional. That isn’t what I want you to take away from my blog. CTF is comprised of a real family with day to day struggles just like yours.
There’s so much more to a real food lifestyle than just what goes into your mouth. Personal care, cleaners, menu planning, balancing work and home, parenting, homeschooling, homebirthing, natural child care, breastfeeding, attachment parenting after weaning and even through the teen years, dealing with health challenges and so much more. Natural living is a globe, a sphere. Food is only one slice. And having the food right and everything else still in the conventional world, while still a move in the right direction, doesn’t give the fullness of life that so many of us seek.
Personally, our stated goal for our family has always been to go all the way home- sustainable and mindful living. I will blog more about the non-food aspects of how to go all the way back to a sustainable lifestyle. We continually seek the balance that fits all of us in the best way. I need to share more of that, and more of myself, with you.
I’ve always said I didn’t think I was a terribly interesting person, but the more I talk with my readers, the more I find that sharing myself and my own struggles gives strength and inspiration to others. The personal posts I have put on my blog have always drawn the most comments and the most interaction from my readers. Unless it was a recipe with chocolate. 😉
Loosing my beloved Persian, Percy, made for a very difficult holiday season. The grief sucked all of the creativity out of me. He was much more than just a pet to me. Percy had been my lap cat for much of my illness, providing much affection and comfort. Having an affectionate little snuggle buddy helped me get through chelation, the unrelenting nausea and vomiting of dealing with celiac and then heavy metals, my accidental pregnancy and eventual miscarriage last year. I always want a cat around to have something little and loving to snuggle since it sadly doesn’t look like more babies are in my future.
So many of you extended support during Percy’s illness and purchased products during a big sale that I held while he was sick to afford the surgery he needed. Again, I want to tell you how thankful I am that you cared enough to offer that support. Many of you asked after him for weeks to come. I appreciate your support and the condolences you have extended in his loss. In the end, we did everything we could for him, but he had to choose to fight, and that wasn’t a choice he was willing to make. He gave up his will to live. I could give him everything except that. He crossed over peacefully with his entire family there for him, knowing that he was truly loved.
To that end, I took the time I needed to grieve and then at Christmas I began the process of moving on. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to my two Christmas gifts, Jasper and Chloe. They joined our family the day after Christmas. I’ve never had a kitten before, and they have brought such joy to our household. I’ve already fallen in love with them both and we really enjoy watching them play. Jasper is eleven weeks and Chloe is sixteen weeks old. She was born on Percy’s birthday. She’s a petite, shy, sweet little girl. Despite being older than Jasper, he’s already bigger than her. Jasper is Mr. Personality. He’s never met a stranger and he is highly affectionate. Much love in the household brings much creativity. I am thankful to be able to move on from my grief and feel as though I can be creative and happy again.
I resolve to work on the health of myself and my family. While I began working on my own hormonal balance in the Summer of 2012, high stress in my personal life derailed my progress. I developed a classic ‘cortisol belly’ despite lots of work to reverse the problems thanks to what can easily be called some of the highest stress I’ve ever experienced in my life. The high stress has ended and things are now smoothing out and once again I will work towards resolution while blogging my progress. The series I started on hormonal balance last year was very popular and very needed. I will pick back up on it soon. To that end, my diet must change, again, while I find what best supports my detoxification pathways and restores balance to my body.
Even if I’m not going to have any more kids, I need hormonal balance for my long-term health. I know so many women get on the hormonal balance path in hopes of having more children. However, there needs to be more recognition that as women, we need hormonal balance pre-menopause even if more children isn’t the end goal. So much of your hormonal balance controls your health and your long-term functioning. I find myself in a position that I had never considered- so much of the info popularly available about hormone balance is about fertility and it’s all geared towards becoming pregnant. There’s this huge gap of info and support between getting pregnant and menopause that really needs to be filled. The wider conversation needs to be about women’s long-term health, and not just about achieving the goal of a pregnancy. I’ve been through infertility and through repeat miscarriage, I’ve suffered that road and I really do understand what other women are going through. They have my sincere sympathy; I’ve lost five pregnancies including a set of twins. Hormonal balance for the sake of fertility isn’t lost on me. I just wish that the perspective was of long-term health for a while life and that a healthy pregnancy was just one part of that, instead of the pregnancy being the end prize.
Yes, even us women who have to love on little fuzzy kitties instead of holding a baby of our own need vibrant health. And support.
As a mother, I’m bad to put my own needs dead last. Everything else always comes first. I can’t continue to do that or there just won’t be enough left of me to be able to meet my family’s needs as my children enter their teen years. I need to be able to be fully present as their teens begin, since it can be a very difficult period for a child. I know there is much I can do to smooth that transition for us and them both. Most blogs tend to focus on small children. Hearing more about smoothing the bumps of transition into adult-hood would be a Godsend. It seems there’s so much help and support for pregnancy, birth and the early years, but that information stream and support dries up once they’re in school.
I resolve to blog more about my children’s health. I have one child in particular who is having an unusual cluster of mild symptoms that I wish to deal with before it gets worse. Surely I’m not the only one in this boat! I’m finding much in the way of good information as I try to find answers for them both. I will share this journey with you.
Finally, I resolve to put more recipes with pictures on the blog. Last year I realized my photography skills needed desperate work, and each recipe needed a picture. I remedied that in 2012 and now I will try to increase the frequency of pictures AND recipes. We’ve got lots of great recipes and even a challenge lined up for the coming weeks.
So now you see the needs that I see in the blogosphere and how I intend to do my part to stand in the gap this year. Are you dealing with the same issues? Where do YOU go for information and support?