It is finally time to launch the first installment of The Life of a Lady series. Our first contributor is my dear friend Rachelle. She is a talented and driven young woman. Read on to find out more about the life of this lady.
So who am I? I am a thinker. I question everything. I’m also a home-birthing, cloth-diapering, real-food-eating, neuroscience-and-psychology-loving, homeschooling, intentional-parenting, recovering perfectionist. I love food, cooking, art, photography, designing, building, organizing, dancing, reading, chocolate, and chocolate. I’m doing my best to get back to the way things were intended (food, lifestyle, relationships) and focus on what really matters-- while allowing myself to not be perfect at it all the very first time, and every time after. I always have something fermenting on my counters, bone broth bubbling away in my crock pot, tea steeping, laundry hanging to dry, and chaos ensuing in the living room while I try to figure out what to feed my three bottomless pits next, and how to teach them something while I do it.
My favorite recent mindblowing realization: Life is a process. If I have learned anything from my kids, it’s that I make a lot of exaggerated, funny faces to them when I talk (I know this because they make the same faces when they talk to each other), and that the process of learning something can be just as valuable-- if not more-so-- than the specific thing you’re trying to learn. All the parts, all the little steps, all the little bits of progress followed by setbacks, then progress, then setbacks… those teach us so much about ourselves and the world and people around us, and they can build so much character that when you finally reach your goal, or learn whatever it is you were trying to, you’ve gained so much more than just that piece of knowledge or ability. You’ve gained experience, which, as any person who has recently completed a resume or filled out a job application can tell you, is very important to have. But I’m talking about life experience. About appreciating that the little things we learn and accomplish are what the bigger things are built on-- you can’t get to the big things without getting through the little things first.
My 3 year old is determined to write, even though she’s still struggling to identify a few letters in the alphabet. To be able to write (the way she wants to), she has to learn how to hold a pencil properly, she has to develop those muscles in her hands and fingers, she has to be able to picture something in her mind and then make her hand move in just the right way to get that mental image onto the paper, and then there’s the minor detail of remembering which letters are which and how they all go together to form the words that she wants to write, because she is determined to write words, not just letters! Once she’s developed those skills, it’ll just be a matter of muscle memory and the willingness to do it, but for now, it’s all about the little things-- the tiny building blocks of writing that we take for granted 20 years later. She gets really focused on wanting to write, and doesn’t always want to do the little things that will help her develop the skills she needs to have to be able to reach that goal, and then she gets frustrated that she can’t just WRITE! I tend to be the opposite. I can get hung up on the seemingly hundreds of little things between me and my goal, and feel like the end is a million miles away.
Over the last few years as I learned more about how important it is to be careful about what you put in and on your body, I’ve gone from buying the cheapest personal care stuff I could find, to organic personal care, to, “If you need something for your body, go look in the kitchen.” It was a process. There were bumps along the way-- figuring out which things worked for me, for my kids, for my husband, and which didn’t (leaving the apple cider vinegar rinse in my hair for a minute or two instead of a few seconds-- not my best hair day! And don’t even think about trying to put a drop or two of lavender oil in the baking soda and coconut oil deodorant-- hubby will smell it and insist it’s too girly.)
During the same time period, I went from feeding my family from boxes and bags of things that claimed they were whole and healthy, to generally avoiding buying food that has a brand with a marketing budget (or a brand at all, really-- I’d much prefer to get what we can from our local farmer, or better yet, grow it myself). Real food doesn’t need much, if anything, in the way of packaging, and it shouldn’t need to be “sold” to me by some ad campaign.
If you had told me five years ago that we’d be a gluten free, (mostly) grain free, refined-sugar free, yogurt and kefir making, nut and seed soaking, bone broth making, pastured meat and egg eating, butter churning (well, Vitamix-ing), raw milk drinking, ever-growing family, I’d probably have laughed at you and asked what half of those things meant.
As much as I wanted to change everything all at once when I started learning about real food, I don’t know that it’s even possible to go straight from a Standard American Diet to eating real, traditional foods-- and especially not with a bunch of kids hanging on your legs, running around you in circles, and demanding an answer to every “Why?” question known to man (and a few that weren’t) while you’re trying to figure out all the whys and hows of a huge shift in your eating habits, AND how to make them kid and budget friendly. Thankfully my little troupe has a good palate, and they’re generally open to trying new foods, especially if they get to help prepare them.
One thing I was not expecting was how isolated such a huge diet change would leave me feeling. Now we’re the strange people who don’t eat bagels, cookies, or pizza at gatherings, and make people look a tad uncomfortable when invited over to our house for a meal (because we eat all that weird stuff, you know). Thankfully we have a few friends who are big fans of real/traditional food, and even though they live a couple thousand miles away, it’s always encouraging when we get to catch up with each other and share new food ideas, experiences, and recipes. Having support through the whole process really does make it easier. I think the same can be said for any change in life, though.
Having someone to share all those experiences with, who understands the ups and downs of whatever you’re going through, and is willing to listen and offer encouragement and support is so, so important. It took me way too long to figure that out because I totally bought into that Does-it-all American Woman delusion of needing to be able to do it all and have it all, and thought that if I wasn’t able to do it all or have it all, all by myself, it was only because I wasn’t working hard enough or trying hard enough, not because it was a ridiculous, unreachable, unreasonable “standard.” Actually, you probably can have it all and do it all, but not for very long, and not without consequences to your health and relationships-- and really, what is more important in life than those?
Being a mom to three kids (and looking forward to a couple more at some point down the road) and trying to get back to the way life was intended has taught me some truly valuable lessons. It has taught me to seek out what is really important and nurture and appreciate it; to let go of the things that really aren’t important (and there is SO much out there that really isn’t important that our society tries to convince us is), and to cherish and enjoy the people and the experiences we get to have in our lives because they add so much to it-- sometimes in the form of difficulty and character development, but also, and most importantly, in the form of love, joy, and support.
When I stop and allow myself to recognize and savor how far my family has come in the past few years, all by taking one little step at a time, it makes me even more excited for what each day ahead of me holds. It’s the choices and little triumphs we have each day that add up over time and give us that awesome feeling we call progress. It’s amazing the distance we can go when we take one step at a time…
Please leave a comment below to show your support and appreciation for this lady who took the time to share so much about her life!
Photo (both) source: weheartit.com