Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oregon Trail and a Smartphone

Whew! What a summer! It seems to be flying by; and I've been keeping busy making bee soaps galore, for weddings and baby showers all over the country; which makes me feel really *fancy*; who knew a year ago; when I found the bee mold at the thrift shop; on the clearance rack; marked down to a dollar, that it would facilitate my business! Serendipity indeed!

I'd been so busy all summer; that last week; when I had a lull in my business, and all packages shipped, and nothing pressing; I jumped on the opportunity to take my boys on a little day trip. Now up to now; I'd never driven too far from home; I had a terrible fear of the interstate; and would use surface streets whenever possible. But driving from Las Vegas to Barstow in the middle of the night on our way to San Diego gave me much more confidence in my driving abilities; and I wanted to take my boys somewhere far(ish) away; all by myself. So we set out in the morning with a picnic lunch; and my new smartphone proved it's mettle; as I was able to respond to a customer who contacted me on etsy; and got another wedding favor order while out! We arrived just in time for a gold panning demonstration, in a water trough that was seeded with real gold; although the park ranger reminded us that if we DID find gold; we would not be able to keep it!

I gave it a try myself; it's surprisingly tiring; the heavy pan of sand and water has to be swirled around and around, and then filled back up with water as it becomes dry. All my boys gave up fairly quickly and started playing with the water instead; except Bentley; who was determined to find the gold and stuck it out the longest. After his arms got tired, we went back inside to look at all the exhibits; which are very moving.

I've always wanted a sunbonnet, ever since I was a little girl who was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder; and at the gift shop they had a huge selection of authentic sunbonnets; in fun fabrics; and I just had to have one! I actually loved it so much I wore it the rest of the day, to the embarrassment of my children, and the amusement of the employees of the restaurant we stopped at in Baker City! But, it's one of those things that I HAD to do, on my bucket list!

I'm determined to squeeze every last drop out of summer; because when school starts again my schedule is going to be nearly impossible; so I've been neglecting my little blog! I have kept up with the blogs I follow, though; and I loved this recipe from the first blog I ever followed,  The Vintage Wife and I plan to make it tonight, with a few variations. If it turns out; I'll be posting my "new" recipe later in the week!

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow Your Bliss

Hello readers! I can't believe how much I've been neglecting my poor blog of late; I've been so busy with summertime activities and custom orders for weddings; I hardly know what to think!

Anyway, I recently had an interesting exchange with a group of my online friends; and wanted to share some of my thoughts and realizations from this discussion. It began as a show of encouragement and support for a person who was feeling bad about herself; when faced with trouble with her schooling; she was in her early 20's and had yet to receive her degree; having a year or so of college yet to complete. She was feeling "less than", compared to her siblings; who are all enrolled in a prestigious college; and who felt that they were superior to her because of this.

Now friends, this is where I come in....rightly or wrongly; this has been a hot-button issue for me since I was college age. I've been on my own since I was 17, when I had my first little apartment and a full-time job. I made $9 a hour back then, which was pretty darn good for a 17 year old in those days. Since I was on my own; college was not really an option; and honestly, I wasn't sure if that's what I wanted to do with my life. I've always known exactly what I wanted; to do what I'm doing now. Later, when I moved to San Diego, I considered going to community college; even requesting my transcripts from the correspondence school where I got my diploma. However, life had other plans! All throughout my time as a SAHM, family members and others have asked about my education plans; encouraging me to attain a degree so that I would have "something to fall back on". There's nothing wrong with with being cautious; and I know of some people that have had tragedy befall them and really needed that degree to support their family. I don't discount that view; but I also don't believe in making decisions based in fear; and for me; I would just be going through the motions; as I have no plans on a career that would require a degree. Taking time away from my family to do something I don't want to do; just because I "should", is not my idea of a good plan. I also know of many women in my situation that feel foolish expressing that they're a SAHM. For them, their view of themselves is shaped by their educational status, and in some areas, and in some social groups, it's simply unacceptable to be "just" a Mom; and so they feel pressured to be pursuing a degree in order than when their children start school, they will presumably be able to start a lucrative career. I have a confession to make: when my children go to school; I will not go "back to work". In fact; I can't imagine EVER being an employee of another person again in my lifetime. At this point; even if tragedy were to befall me; as has happened to those I've heard of; I would still be able to raise my children while being at home. That is very important to me; and we've set up our life to allow that to happen. I can imagine my soap business growing over the years; and when my children are in school, and when I become an empty Nester, I will pursue that at my leisure; along with my many hobbies and interests. I don't feel defined by a career; my career is being a mom; and it will always be so. I know that is not a popular or modern attitude; I'm okay with bucking the trends; even though it may pain feminists and career woman to hear another woman say that out loud.

It seems to be one of the final frontiers of acceptable bias to conclude that pursuing a college degree is "the" way to go; and those that choose not to are foolish. I've heard before that a college degree is "the price of admission" to certain things. It's certainly true that it's the only way to attain certain career goals; I'm not denying that; but the premise that simply attending college makes one privy to the finer things in life; is simply wrong.

Prejudice is an ugly word, because of the modern connotation; but I'd like to examine the actual definition of prejudice:

"Prejudice means a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone".

It's certainly true that everyone has biases that are ingrained in them; it's human nature to believe that the way one has done things; the way one chooses to live one's life is "better". Certainly if someone believes that there is a better way; most people would proceed differently. But what I'm talking about is the accepted premise that the higher one's educational level reaches; the better. 

I have no quibble with knowledge; and learning; my "beef" is with those that insist that sitting in a classroom for four years is more likely to result in a happy life than simply proceeding directly to the life path of one's choice; and that those who do not do so are bound to feel unsatisfied  with their lot in life. One argument I've heard is that people often regret NOT going to college; but seldom (if ever) regret going. Something similar could be said about having children; few people express the opinion that they regret having children; and many DO regret not having children. Does that mean, though, that everyone MUST have children; despite having no interest in having children; just to avoid regret down the road? That opinion would not go over well with the childless; however the non-college educated are expected to swallow the same argument. 

There's no denying however, that it's easier to become employed when one has a college degree; and that those with higher education are more likely to remain employed; it's true as well that those with college degrees make more money; and if that is important to you; certainly; college is the way to go. But education has no bearing on "following your bliss" something that I think is the MOST important consideration in any life. Would I be in the life I'm in now; if I had followed the common mold of graduation followed immediately by college? Certainly not. There are many, I'm sure; who would not consider my life to be ideal; fortunately, I'm not one of them! I wish for everyone; that it was more acceptable to take the road less traveled if necessary; in order to follow THEIR bliss; regardless of the opinions of others. If your dream in life is to be in a prestigious college; and positively PAPER the wall with degrees; that's wonderful; and I cheer you on! However, for those are doing things because they're "supposed to", because of family expectations; I think that's sad. Everyone does things daily they'd rather not do; and many jobs supply things besides fulfillment; and that's one thing. But to pour your heart and soul into something you're not passionate about is a waste of a life. A job can be many things; a means to and end, certainly; but my hope for all is that they are able to pursue something that doesn't feel like work; that is enjoyable and fulfilling, all on it's own. I'm not advocating moving into the wilderness and becoming a mountain man (or woman); and I believe education is very important, and critical for brain development especially in children. I'm a very well-read person; who tries to soak up information; I simply maintain that there are many ways to gain knowledge.

For myself; I don't find my life to be wasted because I will very likely never achieve a fabulous career; when I'm old and grey I would hope I can look back on my life and say, at the very least, "I did it my way". 

I hope I haven't alienated my learned readers (if I have any....who knows whether the well-heeled would really want to read all my ramblings); I hope I've outlined a balanced approach both pro and con a traditional education. And it is my hope that everyone could be more accepting of those that are different than them; that is the reason for my post today, that we can all begin to see the value in lifestyles different than ours. 

I'm off to a day trip tomorrow with my boys; which I will blog about when I return; hopefully after a great adventure! 

Happy Thursday!