01 October 2012

Last Child in the Woods

"How the young respond to nature, an how they raise their own children, will shape the configurations and conditions of our cities, homes--our daily lives."

I just finished reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.  According to Mr. Louv:

"Nature-deficit disorder describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses."

Throughout the book, he provides many examples of how being in communion with nature can decrease stress levels and promote psychological well-being.  Of course, what I was really interested in was not so much the how and why of nature-deficit disorder, but how can we, as parents, prevent or reverse it?  Some ideas include:

  • Limiting screen time
  • Structuring unstructured time into your child's day
  • Going on nature walks
  • Going fishing
  • Skipping rocks and showing your children what's under the rocks you find
  • Taking a walk after it rains and counting worms
  • Watching insects flock to a porch light
  • Starting a nature journal: compare what happens in the same place in different seasons; trace leaves; draw clouds; draw animals; press flowers; describe the weather; write from the point of view of an animal.
  • Tracking bird migration
  • Teaching your children how to spot bird and squirrel nests
  • Planting a family garden
  • Teaching your child how to be still and observe what is going on around him or her
Many of these things are easy and inexpensive for to implement.  I'm sure you can come up with many more on your own!

If you would like to read the book yourself and you're local, you can check it out from the Upstate BirthNetwork office located in Natural Baby in Greenville.  That is, as soon as I return it :)

03 March 2012

Emergency Preparedness

Last night, a tornado warning was issued for our area at almost 11pm that was in effect until 5am this morning.  We didn't know this, and awoke at 1:30am to 40-50mph winds roaring outside our window.  Panic ensued, thinking it was a tornado outside.  I was scared.  While I rushed to grab Adelaide from her crib and sit in the hallway, Spencer grabbed his computer to check the weather report.  That's when we found about the alert issued by the National Weather Service.  We wound up "sleeping" the rest of the night in our bed with the radio turned on low so that we would (hopefully) hear the Emergency Broadcast System, if it went off.

This brings up some serious concerns about our emergency preparedness.  We don't have cable/satellite/network television.  The music we listen to is from pandora, iTunes, or CDs.  We don't have smartphones or even text messaging on our phones.  What steps do we need to take to ensure we know about weather-related alerts?

It goes further than that, though.  Are we prepared to evacuate on short notice, if necessary?  What if a natural disaster did destroy our house?  I've had it in the back of my mind to put together a 72-hour kit; maybe it needs to move up my priority list.

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?  If not, here are some helpful links:

Kitchen Stewardship outlined how to make a bug-out bag in 20 easy steps.  I know that sounds like a lot, but the point is to do one small, easy thing each week.  And here's a great post directed at emergency preparedness for couples, especially those of us who are still in school, young professionals, and living in small apartments.  There are also a plethora of government sources, such as FEMA and CDC.  A simple google search will provide more resources.

23 February 2012

Lenten Meditation

And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.  And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." Luke 7:22-23

Hearing Jesus talk about his healing work reminds me of the extravagant nature of his ministry.  Jesus is not doing anything in small measure.  This is not a man who holds anything back.  I don't imagine he ever looked at the task in front of him and said, "The job is so huge, I don't know where to start--maybe I'll just go back to bed."  I have.

Yet I am uplifted by the knowledge that I am not alone in making Jesus' vision of the world a reality today.  With my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, we can continue in Jesus' healing work, so that one day we can say: "Go, tell the others what you have seen: HIV/AIDS is cured, the children's bellies are full, the mothers survive childbirth, parents can provide for their children."

Please God, let me share in your extravagant vision!

-Margaret Trezevant

This meditation, taken from the 2012 Lenten Meditations provided by Episcopal Relief and Development, really spoke to my heart this morning.  How often do I quit things before I even begin, letting the task build up like an insurmountable object before me?  Too often.  In fact, I had that thought yesterday, in the Ash Wednesday service of all places!  Self-examination and repentance, prayer, fasting, and self-denial, reading and meditating on God's holy Word.  How am I supposed to add all of that to my already busy day?  How selfish of me.

17 February 2012

Lenten Discipline: Gluten- and Dairy-free diet

This Lent, Spencer and I have decided on an elimination diet.  We will be going gluten- and dairy-free for 40 days.  The main purpose is to test for gluten sensitivity and heal any digestive disorders we may have.  We are loosely following the "rules" of the GAPS diet and The UltraMind Solution (pdf links here and here) and are looking to eat real, whole foods instead of relying on gluten-free substitutes.  We've done a pretty good job eliminating processed foods from our diet, and we'd like to keep it that way.  To that end, we'd appreciate any recipes or meal suggestions you may have, especially for breakfast and lunch.

I recently ordered two books on following a raw foods diet.  I was hoping it would have some new and different ideas, since I know they follow a gluten- and dairy-free concept.  Unfortunately, 90% of the recipes require the use of a dehydrator, which I don't have.  I know that I can use my oven on a very low setting instead, but that would require the oven to be on for 8 hours at a time, and I'm just not willing to do that.  So frustrating!

Do you have a Lenten discipline?

26 January 2012

1 Down, 11 To Go

One of my goals for 2012 is to read twelve books this year.  And I don't mean non-fiction books, self-help books, or anything related to work or school.  I need something that will take me away to another place, something that I look forward to reading every night, something that I just don't want to put down.  That being said, I just finished my first book of the year.

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, particularly the second and third sections on India and Indonesia, respectively.  I felt that these two sections really spoke to my heart and that there may really be a take-home message there.  This book has especially encouraged me to look into including meditation into my prayer life.  I'm looking forward to reading the "sequel", Weddings and Evictions .

Next up on the reading list: The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

View all my reviews

19 September 2011

No 'poo

I've been thinking of trying this whole no 'poo (i.e., no shampoo) method for quite some time, but I've been too chicken to actually try it.  I'm afraid of the transition period and what it will do to my curly hair!  So I told myself I'd give it a try if my shampoo and conditioner ever ran out at the same time.  Since this pretty much never happens, I thought I had given myself an indefinite "out".  However, yesterday the inevitable happened.  I'm thinking about getting my hair cut on Thursday (can you tell I'm still procrastinating?) and then it will be experiment time!  Here's the plan:

  1. Have a jar of baking soda in the shower.  Combine baking soda with water to make a paste and massage into scalp.
  2. Rinse well.
  3. Make a 1:4 solution of apple cider vinegar : water in a spray bottle.  Spray on hair.
  4. Rinse with cold water.
We'll see how it goes.  Anyone else out there have any tips for me?

16 September 2011


This has been a horribly unproductive week.  Let's recap, shall we?

Baby girl and I were both sick on Monday.  I dragged my butt to class and then straight home.  I tried to write in bed, but is just wasn't happening, so I gave up and laid on the couch instead.

Tuesday was better.  I actually finished my to-do list, started training for a 5k I want to run in October, and felt ahead of the game.  Unfortunately, that productivity, drive, and motivation was short-lived.

Wednesdays are usually my most productive day because I head out to my office after class and work until dinner at church -- a good, uninterrupted 4 hours!  However, this week I had a once-a-month group meeting that lasted at least 2 hours.  I then met with my advisor to go over notes for the class I'll be teaching next week while he's in China.  Before I knew it, I had a half-hour until I needed to take the shuttle back to campus in order to exchange a textbook.  Spencer picked me up from school and we headed to church early.  We had a great time socializing with everyone, but didn't leave until probably 8pm.  I got maybe 1-2 hours of writing done all day, but at least finished the homework that's due today.

I don't know what happened yesterday.  I wasted the entire day!  I knew I had many things to do and that I would regret being lazy today, but I just couldn't focus.  Hopefully this isn't a sign that my depressing is returning (or hasn't left).  Maybe it's time to find a new counselor?

Today isn't looking wonderful on the productivity front, either.  Between classes, meetings, and commuting time, I'll probably only get 1-2 hours of writing in.  I wish working on the bus didn't make me sick!

What I'm really trying to get at here is that I'm bummed.  Because of my laziness, I need to work all weekend instead of spending quality time with Adelaide, Spencer, or my friends.  But enough of this pity party.  Next week is a new week, and it will be better!