Posts I’d love to write if only I had the chance to sleep at night

snails on a boat(A gratuitous picture of snails on a toy boat. You’re welcome.)

This is a list of titles of blog posts I’ve been wanting to explore, but currently do not have the mental capacity or time to actually write. For some of them, I’ve gotten as far as sketching out a rough draft. That’s about it.

Blame the a three-year-old who has got his nights and days mixed up again.

If one of these titles REALLLLLLY stands out to a number of readers, I might make it a priority if we ever get back to a normal sleep schedule.

: : :

Why We Homeschool

When Virtues Turn Out to Be Privileges (e.g. things like spontaneity; having a sophisticated palate; being able to live zero-waste; etc)

Why We Stopped Going to Church (And Don’t Miss It or Feel Guilty About It, Not Even a Tiny Bit)

How Having a Disabled Child Has Brought Me Closer to Jesus

How I’m Getting Schooled by Twitter / Twitter is Making Me a Better Person

Let’s Talk About Ableism and Capitalism

In Defense of Picky Eaters

Why Are We Drawn to Alternative Healing Practices? + My Journey To and Away From the Crunchy Community

Our Favourite Read-Alouds for 4-6-Year-Olds

: : :

Hope you’re having a restful, low-pain summer!

A Very Quick Thanks

morvanic-lee-355170-unsplashPhoto by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash

Dearest readers:

Wow. I was stunned by the encouragement I got after my last post. You really showed up to let me know you’re still here!

When I wrote that post, I honestly thought there weren’t many people out there still reading, who would really notice or care if I quit. Believe it or not, the average post takes me about four hours to complete (between drafting, writing, editing, formatting photos, etc), and I worried I was wasting my time.

Since the comments sections of blogs don’t generally see much action these days, and Facebook doesn’t want anyone to see what I share unless I give them *the cash money,* I often felt like I was writing into the void.

I SO SO appreciate all of you who spoke up to let me know you still care! I got so many surprising words of encouragement in the comments section of the post, on Facebook, and via email. I started out trying to respond to each comment individually but soon became overwhelmed. So I thought I’d send out one big, general THANK YOU. I read every comment and treasured every one.

I have a couple of hard posts in the works right now, and your encouragement gave me the burst of energy I needed to keep moving forward.

Thanks, friends. I guess I’ll keep posting here, even if it’s only every couple of months. I am so incredibly grateful for this wonderful online community. You people are the absolute best.

If Blogging is Dying, What is a Blogger To Do?

sidewalk chalkI have self-identified as a writer ever since I was six years old, when my first-grade teacher told me I was one.

During my elementary school years, I wrote stories. During my university years, I wrote academic papers. And in my mid-twenties, I started blogging.

By my late twenties, I felt like I was finally getting some momentum with my writing. I thought I might be heading towards a career as a writer. I thought I knew what direction I was taking, and could see a possible book in my future.

Then Felix was born. And everything fell apart, including my identity.

Our family has slowly been putting our lives back together since then. But my identity has been a bit harder to piece back together.

Who am I, now that being a “crunchy mom” isn’t central to my identity? And how can I call myself a writer when I can only manage to publish a blog post once every couple of months?

And while I’ve been struggling to figure out where blogging fits into my life, I’ve seen the blogging world change so much that I hardly recognize it.

Many people are saying that blogging (in the form I know and love) is dying. And I worry that it’s true. And I’m not sure where to take it from here.

Many of my old blogging peers have shifted to new formats: email newsletters, podcasts, book deals. (SO MANY BOOK DEALS.)

I can’t seem to find my place with any of these new and different platforms. They all seem to involve learning about and buying all new hardware and software . . . I just don’t think I’m in a place to go in any of these new directions.

The following is mostly just for me to sort out my own thoughts and feelings. But if you feel like coming along for the ride, here goes:

1. Email Newsletters

I’m sorry, but. . . I just cannot get on board with this format. I would like to. It’s the most like blogging. I just . . . hate it.

The main problem is: in my brain, email is for business. My email account is where I go to get notifications from my library that my books are due, or from Amazon that a package has shipped, or to set an appointment with a therapist. It is not for reading about how my friend’s week is going. I’m sorry! That’s just not the mindset I’m in when I open up my email.

(How about you?? Is this just a weird thing about me that I need to get over?)

I have optimistically signed up for a few newsletters from people I love and adore, and . . . I always just delete them when they pop up in my email, until I finally unsubscribe. They just don’t belong in my email inbox!

When I want to know how my bloggy friends are doing, I go to their websites, or to social media (Facebook* and Instagram). And I still keep up with blogs via Feedly like an old person.

Email and blogs just don’t mix in my mind.

(I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Am I?)

*I have used less and less Facebook in recent years since they decided to be stupid with their algorithms and make it almost impossible for blog and business pages to get seen unless the owner “boosts” their posts (with cash). It’s so incredibly lame.

2. Instagram

I’ve noticed some people writing short essays as their Instagram captions as a sort of alternative to blogging. But I just don’t feel there’s enough space here to really delve deeply into a subject. You can maybe introduce an idea, but you can’t go much further than that. Plus, the type is way too tiny, and it’s difficult to create paragraphs.

I tend to skim over long blocks of tiny text on Instragram.

I go to Instagram for the pretty pictures (especially of knitting and bread).

3. Podcasting

It seems that all the bloggers who started around the same time as me (or earlier) now have a podcast. So far, I’m not totally sold on the medium. For one, I’ve always preferred writing over talking. I’m a writer. I’m in love with the written word.

And second, I’m more of an essay girl than a conversation girl. I prefer to consume works that are stylized and edited rather than “authentic.” I personally listen to only one podcasts devotedly (The Liturgists); most others are too chatty for me. If I wanted to hear women chatting I would call up my girlfriends.

Plus I would have to learn a LOT of new technology to go this route, and I don’t know how I would even start.

4. Youtube/Vlogging

This shares many of the problems that podcasting has, including the tech issue — I have no freaking idea how it even works. Plus I have very blinky eyes that would be very distracting. (I’m serious. It’s a problem.)

5. Books

Writing a book has always been the dream and the goal. But not only do I not have a publisher, I don’t even have a book in me right now. The experience of Felix’s extended hospitalization hollowed me out so that I don’t know who I am or what I believe anymore. I wrote a whole post on why I’m not writing a book last year.

So I still dream of writing a book someday; but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.


So what do you think? Do you think blogging actually is dying?

What’s your favourite way to consume content?

Is there a form of sharing content that I’m missing from my list?

Should I just get over myself and pursue one of the forms I’m discussed above? Am I totally wrong about them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

A Note on Future Felix Updates

Hello, dear friends!

I recently wrote an update on Felix’s latest big change: hearing aids. And while I wrote it, I found myself reflecting on how much I want to share about Felix’s life from now on.

When Felix was first diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and we found ourselves living in the hospital, I needed you. I needed you to know what we were going through. I needed you to pray for our family. And you all needed to know what was going on, too. I couldn’t just leave you hanging while we embarked on one of the most difficult journeys of our lives.

You supported our family financially, emotionally, and spiritually as we sat at our sick child’s bedside, separated from our daughter and miles from our home. You encouraged us as we traveled across the continent to get a life-saving experimental treatment for him.

And I continued to provide regular, detailed updates as he miraculously improved.

Now that Felix is two years old and doing well, I’m starting to become more aware of how his story is becoming less my story and more his own.

I want to respect him as his own person with his own future. And that’s why I think that from now on, I will be sharing less about his growth and development in this public space. I will probably share fewer close-up pictures, too, than I have been sharing.

You can be sure that I will let you all know if anything really dramatic changes in his health. But otherwise, I think most of the details will stay in our family.

I’ll continue to share about some of our family experiences, which will involve both kids, of course. And my monthly What I’m Into posts will likely often involve my kids’ interests, just because I love sharing the things we’re loving together.

I still haven’t 100% figured out how this will work, but I just wanted to let you know I intend to keep Felix’s life a little more private from now on.

I am so grateful for all the ways you’ve supported our family over the years. You people are the best. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.

I Don’t Know Where This Blog is Going (But It’s Not Going Anywhere)

As longtime readers know, my life fell apart over a year ago when Felix was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and we spent the next five months living in the hospital with him.

My blog kind of fell apart, too. Or at least, it was transformed into something completely different. Instead of being a home for essays on gentle parenting or do-it-yourself body care, it became a place where I could keep friends and family up-to-date on Felix’s treatments and progress. It became a place for me to wrestle with my shock and grief and anxiety, a place where I could feel heard.

Slowly, life is returning to normal. We’re at home. Felix is recovering. I’m doing normal things like cooking and researching educational activities for Lydia and experimenting with homemade makeup.

So, naturally, my blog is starting to change again, too.

I still plan to keep friends and family apprised of Felix’s situation on the blog as he continues (hopefully) to improve. Many of you only started following this blog in order to keep up with the latest news on Felix.  And those who’d been reading for years after searching for a deodorant recipe or tips on going shampoo-free got caught up in Felix’s story, too. You have grieved with me, worried with me, prayed with me, and rejoiced with me. You’re all my friends now. You care how Felix is doing. So you want to stay updated.

(At least, I know that when I follow a blog that touches on the author’s real life, I become invested in their story. I want them to keep me updated on their kids.)

But I also want to keep blogging about other things. I’m still excited about topics like radical nonviolence, peaceful parenting, creation care, de-consumption, frugality, and health/wellness. I think these things are all connected, and I love to explore these connections, especially as they relate to my faith in Jesus.

But they’re also kind of disparate, too. And not really related to Felix all that much. This blog has become a weird mishmash or different parts of my life and interests.

I need to completely rewrite my About page. I would love to give this whole blog a makeover, and find a way to tie all my various topics together in a cohesive way. But I don’t really have the time or energy right now. I hardly even have the time or energy to create new content.

So . . . I guess what I’m saying is, this blog will probably continue to be scattered and disconnected and kinda shabby. At least for a while. But I’m going to stick with it.

I hope that’s okay. Thanks for sticking around.

A Chance to Chip In for Felix

Hi everyone,

Susanne Froese and Heather Greene writing here. We’re Kathleen’s sister and friend, respectively. We’d like to lovingly hack Becoming Peculiar for a moment, if you don’t mind.

As faithful (and wonderful!) followers, you’re likely aware of the Quiring family’s situation at the moment: their infant son Felix is hospitalized in London, Ontario, where has been diagnosed with SCID. Kathleen has provided more detail in her earlier posts. They’ve found out that none of the immediate family are bone marrow matches, so a transplant is out. Enzyme treatments have been started, which is positive, but it’s only a short-term solution. Ben and Kathy are now considering multiple long-term options, which involve varying levels of risk.

In the background at home, we’ve been collecting donations, cooking to-go meals, planning a fundraiser, and generally marveling at the huge, immediate, and overwhelmingly loving response to Felix’s situation. Not coming from Kathleen’s tight-knit Mennonite community myself (this is Heather writing), I’ve been blown away by the generosity of Kathleen’s family and community, and that includes you folk. We were sure you would want to hear if there were further opportunities to help, so we’re posting the following crowd funding link, where you can contribute financially if you’re able. The website is It accepts any currency through PayPal or credit card. If you have any issues with it, let us know and we’ll see if we can help.

If you’re a local follower and are able to support the Quirings in person, our fundraiser is Saturday, January 31st in Leamington, Ontario (Leamington Evangelical Mennonite Mission Church at 1430 Deer Run Road). There will be a pasta dinner, bake sale, auction, kids activities, and live musical entertainment. Doors open at 5pm and admission is by donation. The event poster is below.

Your continued prayers and good vibes have been such, such a blessing. I’ve been texting with Kathleen sporadically, and in one conversation she mentioned that she could actually FEEL the power of everyone’s prayers working. Now that’s support, people!

I also wanted to thank you personally for being such a wonderful community for one of my closest friends. Kathleen and I live an hour apart, and now that we’re not chumming it up in university classes every week (which was years ago now…*sniff sniff*), we don’t see each other nearly as much as we’d like. Babies, renovations, marking dozens and dozens of research essays, making organic tooth powder from egg shells…you know the stuff that keeps us all busy. Knowing that she has friends like you in, to borrow her word, “the blogosphere”, is a comfort to my heart. You keep her company and add joy to her day when I (and our other friends) sometimes can’t. I love all of your comments and jokes and recipes and opinions. You guys rock. Kathleen is a pretty quiet person in “real” life, and the vibrant, lively and supportive community here on Becoming Peculiar is a testament to her writing, her heart, and to all of you. Thank you, again, for making my friend your friend too.

Susanne joins me in thanking you for being with her through this painful season.

Heather & Susanne


Felix poster

It’s Okay If You Don’t Want to Read This (And a Few Notes on the Future of This Blog)


So obviously this blog has taken a dramatic turn since Felix’s diagnosis last month. I suspect I won’t be sharing healthy recipes or tips for natural living for quite some time, if ever again. The events of the last eight weeks have kind of rattled my entire life, and I have no idea where it’s going to go from here.

But I can’t stop writing. Writing is how I process my own thoughts and how I cope. And I’ve decided to continue sharing some of my writing here on the blog, even though it is completely different from what readers have come to expect from Becoming Peculiar. I want to do this for a number of reasons:

  • In part, because I draw hope from the possibility that someone else going through similar things will get encouragement. Like I said in my last post, it’s important to find fellow sufferers and to not suffer alone. This is one way I’m reaching out.
  • To keep family and friends updated. (Facebook alone doesn’t always cut it.) Since we’re currently living in the hospital two hours away from home, this is one way to stay connected to everyone back home.
  • For myself, as a record of my trials. I hope that someday, when all this is over, I can look back and draw strength from knowing that with the love and support of my community, I made it through. I hope that I will be able to see that God was present through all of it, even when I felt abandoned. (Because honestly, most days I feel like God is a total and complete jerk and that there is no meaning to any of this. I’m hoping someday I will feel differently.)

After thinking it over, I am planning to post quite frequently, though my posts will not be nearly as edited and polished as they used to be. I just don’t have the time to edit everything. I’ll share stuff as I write it. It will probably be clumsy and weird at times, with fewer pictures, and zero “pinnable” graphics. It might even be kind of blasphemous at times, and I’m sorry about that. But it will be honest and heartfelt.

And on that note, I also want to add the following:

It’s TOTALLY OKAY if you don’t want to read it.

I’m sorry that most of what I share will probably be rather depressing.  I understand that my blog has become kind of a bummer.

Back when my life was perfect (read: every day of my life until December 2, 2014), I could not and would not read stories of real-life heartbreak.

I refused to read stories about children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, or from families that had experienced loss. I just couldn’t bear it. It was too much sadness. And they reminded me that my own life’s perfection could be threatened at any moment. I didn’t want to think about that. It made me sick to my stomach.

In my blog roll, if anything too sad popped up, I would intentionally skip over it. Sorry, grieving family. I can’t deal with your sadness.

But now that I’m living it, I can’t read anything else. I can hardly stand to read stuff from happy, healthy families. I struggle too much with the envy, and the feeling that they have no clue.  I mostly just want to hear from other families going through similar turmoil. Because if they can make it through, maybe I can too.

So if you’re in the happy camp, I don’t blame you one bit for skipping the sad posts I share here. Seriously. That was me eight short weeks ago. I totally get it. Don’t feel guilty or weird about it.

And if you do still choose to read them: bless you. You are stronger and kinder than I ever was.

Quick Announcement: I’m a Contributor to Red and Honey!

red_and_honey_bannerHello, dear friends!

I just have a moment, but I wanted to pop in to let you in on some exciting news (if you haven’t heard already): I am an official Red and Honey Contributor! (See my introduction to the community here).

When Beth first brought up the idea of becoming a regular contributor, I was over the moon. I’ve been a devoted Red and Honey reader for a long time. Beth is just so real and lovable, and her posts are simultaneously amusing and informative. I love how she balances serious research with personal stories and heartfelt feelings. I think I was first drawn in by her clay and coconut oil toothpaste recipe (the only toothpaste our family has used for almost a year. It’s a winner, you guys). Check it out and you’ll see what I mean: so informative, but also  down-to-earth and enjoyable to read.

Anyhow, I’ll be contributing my words once a month. I’m excited by the chance to engage with a wider audience of like-minded folks. I feel like I fit right in: we’re all there to learn from each other about living thoughtfully and responsibly, sharing ideas about frugality, natural living, and caring for each other and the planet.

I only hope I can live up to awesome reputation Beth and the other contributors have built!

If you don’t already, I highly recommend you follow Red and Honey on Facebook, and be sure to add the blog to your reader so you don’t miss a post! If you’re into the things I’m into (which you must be, otherwise why would you be here?), you are sure to love Red and Honey.

See you there soon!

Meet the Spouse (And Introduce Yours!)

meet the spouse

Hey there, bloggy friends! So I had this idea.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about writing a post introducing my husband.

I read a lot of blogs written by married women, and every now and then their husbands make short appearances in their stories. Their kids show up all the time, getting regular photos and full stories. But the husbands rarely get much stage time. I’ve found myself wishing I knew more about these men who obviously play such huge roles in my online friends’ lives. I feel like I know the bloggers themselves so well, but I hardly know a thing about their partners!

That’s when I decided I should introduce you all to the love of my life and the father of my darling daughter.

And I wanted to invite you to do the same. I figured, What better month to share stories about our spouses than February?

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it, dear friends, if you’d consider sharing something about your husband (or wife!). In my next post (when I introduce my husband), I’d love it if you shared something in the comments, or shared the link to your own blog post. If you write a blog post of your own, feel free to use the birdie image I put together (Just save the above photo to your desktop and upload it to your post. Or not. It’s up to you).

(If I figure out how to use a Linky Tool, and if it seems worth it, I might make a carnival out of it. Whee!)

What do you think? Are you with me?

Here are a few questions for inspiration:

(Note: I’m using the masculine pronoun, because I know most of you are women; but if you’re a guy blogger, you’re equally invited to share about your wife!)

  • What’s his personality like?
  • What does he do for work?
  • What are the qualities that made you fall in love with him?
  • What makes him a good fit for you now?
  • What are some of your favourite qualities in your spouse?
  • What are some of his hobbies/interests?
  • How long have you been together? How old were you when you met? How have you both changed since then?
  • What’s his family background like, and how does it differ from your own? What do these differences bring to your relationship?
  • What are your favourite activities to do together?

Feel free to use or scrap these questions as you please.

Will you join me? It’ll be fun!

Image Source

Shampoo Bar Winners! (Also: Giveaways Are Fun!)

shampoo bar 002

Hi Folks! Just a quick note to announce the winners of the shampoo bar giveaway: Emily W and Ryann! Wooo! I used to select two random numbers from the comments. Thanks for playing, everyone!

(I’ve emailed the winners, and am waiting for mailing addresses so I can send them off).

I learned two things from this giveaway.

(1) Folks are still surprisingly enthusiastic about winning things, even when I’ve offered only a so-so review. I was afraid that my “I wasn’t completely dazzled” review would result in a lot less interest. I was wrong! You still wanted to give it a try!

(2) Giving away stuff is fun! I loved hearing from people who wanted to give my handmade soap a try. I’m so excited to pack them up and head for the post office to send them off. I only wished I had more to give away!

From now on, whenever I make anything to review for the blog, I’m going to make an extra or two, just to give away. Just for fun.

I hope everyone is having an excellent weekend.  Love you all!

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