Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Embracing Summer...As Best I Can

So I love the idea of summer.  The warmth, the seemingly endless vacation days I had off with my teacher Mom as a child, our many trips to the pool.  I love that I can go for a walk outside with Shane every night and not need any sort of a hoodie (I am the sort of person that normally carries one everywhere as I'm always cold).  I love eating fresh fruit in the summer, especially strawberries dipped in vanilla bean fruit dip.  Above all else I love, if possible, to be near the ocean in the summer.

But oh this summer....oh man...it is HOT!  Now let me say for the record that I lived in Tucson for the better part of a decade and I am well versed in the ways of the sauna.  Usually I can find a way in my mind to make steaming hot days seem spa-like and somehow luxurious.  But since I moved to Utah my expectations have changed.  I expect it to generally not get much hotter than 90 on any given summer day.  I expect it to cool off to some nice, tepid mid to high 70's at nighttime.  And above all else I expect for my air conditioner to work without question as it is supposed to.

This past week and into the current one it has been above 100 almost every day, even as high as 104-105 some days, and my air conditioner is on strike.  It seems she is ill-equipped to handle anything above 95 with finesse.  In an effort to deal until our air conditioner is looked at I am going to be doing a lot of rainy paintings soon to visually cool myself off.  I may even brave our community pool.  I am also distracting myself with some interesting quotes I recently found:

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
-Albert Camus

"Tears of joy are like the summer raindrops pierced by sunbeams."
-Hosea Ballou

"Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you."
-Langston Hughes

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."
-John Lubbock

"Summer is a great time to visit art museums, which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools - only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art."
-Jerry Saltz

Some of my recently painted original paintings:


My Etsy website, Painted Rain Gallery:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintedRainGallery?ref=si_shop

I hope everyone has a beautiful July!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Enemies Becoming Friends, Christmas Trees, and Life

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

So it has been an amazing couple of weekends now.  After my last blog on forgiving people who aren't sorry, I was contacted by the author of the novel I mentioned.  She apologized and said she never expected that I would read the book.  I had already started the process of forgiveness at this point before the apology, but after it an amazing healing took place for me.  With her help I have been able to let go of my feelings over the novel completely, and in the process I have made a new friend.  We write each other (novel length lol) e-mails almost daily of late and I have found out we have a lot in common.  It's such a wonderful feeling!  She is working on new books, which I hope to read, and we have found ways to help each other with networking and that sort of thing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you're harboring resentment toward another person, find a way to let it go somehow.  Find a way to forgive.  Even if you don't end up being friends with the person like I have, forgive so that you can move forward with your life unburdened.  What worked best for me (before the apology) was repeating in my mind "I forgive you and I take back my life".  It's like fake it 'til you make it, like pretending you are a person with confidence until you actually start to believe it.  If you repeat forgiving thoughts toward someone in your head for long enough, the forgiveness will start to actually happen, and over time you will become free of resentment.  Trust me, life shines a little brighter once this crap is gone.

So we had a pretty awesome Thanksgiving with Shane's family.  I especially enjoyed coloring in coloring books with my adorable nieces.  We put up our blue Christmas tree, blue icicle lights outside, blue lights on the bushes, and I have begun wrapping Christmas presents with blue paper and ribbons.  Yes, we are fans of blue.  Here is our Christmas tree flip book if anyone is curious:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200096630521076.2193945.1309437025&type=1  Now we just need a blue wreathe to complete the look.  I promise to take pictures of the blue icicle lights on the balcony soon.  They are neato.

Our Blue Christmas Tree

Here are my random card readings for today.  Felt like some guidance and well the cards are really pretty so I wanted to look at them.  Angel card:  Three of Water.  A celebration!  A wedding, graduation, or birth announcement.  The need to have more fun.  Additional meanings of this card:  Community.  Hospitality.  Entertainment.  Good fortune.  Happy conclusions.

Okay this card is uncannily accurate in one sense of my life right now.  The need to have more fun part.  Now don't get me wrong, what I do is inherently fun (being an artist).  But I have been kind of a workaholic lately, forgoing almost all leisure activities to get more things listed, find more avenues to be discovered at, etc.  Pretty much I have been doing this for most of my waking hours for many days now.  So yes, perhaps I need to have more fun.

Goddess card:  The Prince of Staves.  New ideas, communications.  Important communications.  Need to listen to inspiration, new ideas.  However, these should be weighed according to practicality.

Okay, message received.  I will attempt to filter the myriad of new ideas generally streaming through my head according to their practicality.

Well, back to work I go now.  I will try to make some time for fun today too.  :)

The fam on Thanksgiving

Tree finished!  

Our red poinsettia wreathe (needs to be blue)

Blue lights on the bushes yay

Some new paintings I recently finished in all my creating fervor:


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Forgive People Who Aren't Sorry

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa

“Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Mark Twain

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person's throat......Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.........Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation.........Forgiveness does not excuse anything.........You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness......”
W. Paul Young, The Shack

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim--letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”
C.R. Strahan

Firstly, let me say that forgiving people does not necessarily mean letting them back into your life.  In the case of abusive people who have little or no respect for your feelings and well being, finding a way to forgive them is essential to healing yourself (even and especially if they are not sorry for hurting you), but do not confuse this forgiveness with allowing people who hurt you continually to be a part of your existence.  Forgive them....and free yourself of them.  That is the only way to honor yourself and your well being.

This blog is dedicated to helping those who have gone through or are experiencing something difficult and having a lot of trouble forgiving someone.  Maybe because that person is not sorry, or even seems to be happy about what they did.  I will be detailing here my recent experience in dealing with something particularly hard to forgive with the intention of helping others who may be in similar situations.  At the end of this blog are some great resources for finding ways to forgive, even when it seems almost impossible.  Remember above all else that forgiveness is for YOU, and your own well being.  It is so you can be free of resentment and live your life to its fullest potential, so you can find your own happiness and be free of their sludge.  Forgiveness has very little to do with the person or people you are forgiving at all.

So I have been going through some things lately.  In addition to my Grandpa dying, I was also incredibly sick physically.  The kind of illness that includes a massively sore throat, pounding headache, nose issues I won't even begin to describe, and being up most of the night along with everyone else in your house since you can't seem to stop coughing loudly.  After all that was over I thought I was home free, but no.  I found myself with not one, but 2 styes in...yup, one in each eye.  One of them went away after a few days but the other one was relentless, puffing my right eye up until I thought it would swell shut.  Painful to touch, practically to even look at.  I considered investing in a stylish pirate eye patch to cover it, honing the style of sexy character Elle (Daryl Hannah) in Kill Bill.  Surely it would have been an improvement.

Elle (Daryl Hannah) in Kill Bill

Luckily the stye is beginning to decrease in size and pain a little bit every day.  It will hopefully soon be completely gone.  But I have been left with questions.  Why have I been plagued with so much pain lately?  For one.  I looked up the metaphysical causes of styes on a lark and found this site:  http://www.speedyremedies.com/metaphysical-causes-of-disease.html where it specifies that the spiritual meaning of an eye stye is suppressed anger and anxiety.  On another site it said styes are caused by looking at someone with angry eyes.

Now I'm pretty much in a zenlike calm state most of the time these days and I'm not sure how much I believe in the validity of those types of definitions but I said "what the heck?" and really asked myself...am I angry with someone about something?

The truth is, yes I am.  It is something I thought I let go of a while ago because it is petty, immature, and all around beneath me.  When it happened I said "wow, that is incredibly lame", and thought I had put it behind me.  But it has been gnawing at me like a hungry little gremlin from behind the scenes.  Gnawing at my self esteem, my faith in humanity, and my ability to trust others.  I have learned that just because something is lame, juvenile, and completely undeserved and you are aware of all of these things, it doesn't mean you are immune from the situation and it's immediate/lasting effects on you.

Here is the lowdown on what happened:  I learned recently that a book was published by someone I was very close to for the better part of 10 years (we'll call him 'T') and his wife.  At first I was genuinely excited for her in publishing a book ("Wow!  You don't hear about that happening every day.") and I was curious about what the subject was, interested possibly even in reading it myself.  

See I had a fairly good opinion of her.  She had messaged me a short while back and said she found some pictures of my parents in 'T's things and would I like them?  I said sure and thanked her for being so kind.  I was really impressed that she selflessly thought of my feelings and thought to give me pictures of my family before they cleaned things out.  I found her to be a uniquely kind person and was happy that T had found himself a companion with such great integrity.  That event even made me feel better about humanity in some small way, and I mentioned to her that I was sure they made great parents to their kids since they seemed to have good values.  I soon discovered what a sucker I had been...

You see at first I was interested in reading the book and perhaps supporting her with a good review (she had been kind to me, after all), so I checked out some existing reviews of the book with hopes of maybe finding out what it was about a little and seeing if I wanted to read it.  Then I saw that an ever so slightly changed version of my nickname was the name of a main character in the book.  Now I was kind of confused.  As I read further reviews I learned with horror that this work of 'fiction' was actually based almost entirely on actual non-fiction events.  Most of them involving me down to every last detail, but of course painted in a horrible light.  My first reaction was one of jaw dropping shock, followed immediately by the out loud question I asked myself..."Really?  Who seriously does that?"  It boggles the mind.

This book, which was coincidentally published around the time of my birthday (hmmmm, drama anyone?) attacked my character, beliefs, passion for art and entrepreneurship, physical appearance, and my mentor in great detail.  Basically every tiny piece of my being from appearance to joys in life to spiritual beliefs was cell scraped onto a slide and placed under a microscope with a few drops of 'negative' dye to convince the world to survey me negatively.  The book also strangely attacked T's own family, who I later learned don't have much to do with him these days.  The only parts of the book that appeared to actually be fictional in nature were the monstrous exaggerations of my character who apparently throws things a lot in anger.  Lol.  Since this has not happened once in the almost 4 years since he has known me, my husband and I have at least had some good laughs about this.  We enjoy play fighting and pretending I'm some psychotic being who is suddenly very angry at him and I say something like "I'm so mad at you now...I think I might have to THROW something!"  Then I pretend to eye the room in a mad fit, looking around the room desperately for something to chuck at him.  Haha.  At least we find amusement in it somehow.

And it all does seem laughable by definition.  Like something you would see happening in a movie, not in reality.  And honestly, I wanted very much to find it hilarious and just laugh it off.  I even thought I had at one point.  But there again was that gremlin gnawing at me.  I was hurt, angry, and above all else confused.  It wasn't going away.  

This was a relationship that had ended amicably, I believed.  I was actually even proud of how we finished things.  There was no yelling, no squabbling over who would get which possessions.  There was just agreement and fair division of the items.  I had even helped him pack up his things and helped bring them over to his new place.  I had carefully folded clothes and packed glassware so it would hopefully be protected and wouldn't break in transit.  I had sent him off with a drawing of an eagle he had asked me to do, which said on the back "Love Always", and my name.  I had meant it too because to me the end of a relationship that lasted so long hadn't meant I was angry with the other person or didn't care about them anymore.  It sure didn't mean I hated him.  It meant we were giving each other the space to move on with our lives and hopefully forward to new places where we could grow as people.  It just meant this was for the best as we tried for a good long time and it just wasn't working.  Sure I might have had reasons to be angry.  It felt like he never particularly tried or gave our relationship much effort.  But I had chalked it up to something like "we both made mistakes, it's time for us both to move on and find our new life chapters, this is an opportunity."

But somehow, after years of respectfully not talking to each other and finding new lives for ourselves by all accounts, after years of silence and me finding happiness in my life and genuinely wishing him the same, here I found myself.  Confused, wounded, and questioning what I initially thought about them being good parents, because good parents wouldn't sit for the time it takes to write a book, rehashing their past and villainizing people they used to know in front of their children.  What kind of model does that set for kids, hearing all that negativity, put downs, and laughter at the expense of others.  I'm not exactly sure but probably not a positive one.  I wondered what happened to T as he never struck me as a person capable of doing something so inhuman.  I thought he was in good hands all this time.  Surely someone who is truly happy with their life wouldn't feel the need to write a book like that, right?  When you are happy you don't generally feel the need to justify it in a book by alienating all the people you have ever known in some way who you feel wronged you somehow and talking about how great your present life is.  If your present life is so great, living it should be enough for you, enjoying it, free of serving up a revenge sandwich.

So what does a person do to deal with the unfairness and strangeness of it all.  Honestly, forgive, genuinely forgive.  You forgive for yourself because it is the only way you can truly let go of something like that and not have to deal with repressed anger in the future.  Thus began my research of how to forgive when it is difficult.  This video is the first thing I found.  It is kind of an extreme example as the person in the video actually forgives the other person for killing someone he loved.  But then again, the person who did the killing actually expresses genuine remorse for what he did too, which I always feel makes forgiveness easier:

After that I decided I should specifically research "how to forgive people who aren't sorry", because that was my real hang up.  It wasn't so much that they did something awful to me.  That I could easily forgive.  People do unthoughtful things sometimes, even extreme ones.  It happens.  That wasn't the problem.  It was that they were trying to make money on that crap.  Hell they were doing speeches about it in schools and stuff.  Basically they seemed very proud of what they had written, and wanted to flaunt it all over the internet like no tomorrow.  *Scratches temple and shakes forehead*.   Really?

So I looked up how to forgive others when they're not sorry and I found some gems.  From Wikianswers.com:

Question:  How do you forgive someone who is not even sorry?


Not equipped to apologize.  Understanding that the other person does not possess the tools to offer an apology can help you to forgive them. We all see things from our own perspective and respond based on our own past experiences. Some people are simply not capable of seeing that they have hurt another person. Forgive them for not learning this lesson earlier in their life, and wish them well.
Another problem with not forgiving someone is that it gives them power over you. Think about it. You're upset, maybe even raging about what they did. Probably spending much more time and effort on it than it's worth. Point in fact, you are giving them power over you because you are choosing to devote time and effort to the problem. But... if you forgive them for what they did it's over. Now, I did not say you're supposed to forget what happened, only fools forget. Just forgive them. After all, why should you let them ruin your day any more?
The bottom line to all this is that forgiveness really is a one-way street. Though it's hard to forgive someone who does not show remorse, and may not even feel remorse, it is a decision that we can make regardless. For your own health, '''decide''' to forgive them.

Answer:  Forgiving is unconditional. It nourishes the spirit.

And here is a link to how to Forgive Others: For Your Own Sake, that I found highly valuable: 


And I requote again once more, because it's worth repeating:

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim--letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”

C.R. Strahan

And that is what I intend to do. In fact consider it done, now:

You know who you are, and you know what you have done. You may read this some day, or you may never read it. It doesn't matter to me either way. You seem to be happy about what you have 'accomplished', unaware of the ugliness of it, trying to profit from the pain you caused me and your own family with your so-called work of self-published 'fiction', and that's okay. Honestly, it doesn't matter one bit either way if you ever read this, if you're happy about what you've done, or if you like to drink Earl Grey tea on Sundays. It doesn't matter at all because this blog is mine, and this forgiveness is for me. So here it is:

I forgive you. You are both excused. I forgive you because I realize for whatever reason you aren't able to understand or care about how you hurt others with what you did and you also aren't able to genuinely apologize for it. I feel for you if you are in a place where you enjoy bringing pain to others who have genuinely wished you well, and I truly hope you can find a better, happier way of being.

I forgive you and in that forgiveness I choose to embrace happiness for myself. I am free of all resentment and anger. I forgive you. I forgive you because for whatever reason you appear to be hurting, or were when you wrote that book. I forgive you and in that forgiveness I set myself free. I forgive you, even though you didn't ask for or want my forgiveness. I choose letting go over drama. I forgive you, I forgive you with all my heart. Let's all just get on with our own lives, as the truth is we have no purpose in each other's anymore, and haven't for a very long time now.

Here I picture placing a carefully folded paper sailboat in a river and watching it drift away until I can no longer see it.

*exhales peacefully*

I Love You, Grandpa

This is a short blog of rememberance and honoring the life of a man I looked up to a great deal.  As some of you know my beloved Grandfather passed away recently, on Election Day of all days.  He was a brilliant, loving people person type of man who everyone has commented that they will remember most for his smile.  To me he was pure love and one of his greatest joys in life was talking to someone and making them laugh.  He has a special place in my heart and I will never forget him.

Speaking of which, we returned from his funeral on Saturday to find that my art had been honored in someone's online blog that very day.  Even more astonishing was that the blog was about forget me not flowers, with this quote used:  "Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven, Blossom the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels."

 Here is the blog entry:  Forget Me Nots

I felt like this random blog and us seeing it right when we got back from the funeral was a message from my Grandpa saying "don't forget me."

And in response...I love you Grandpa, and I could never, ever forget you.

My Grandpa Merle and Grandma Jean on their first outing together

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Finding Beauty in the Cycle of Life

So I am feeling a bit down recently.  I have been pretty sick the last 3 days, which is very unusual for me.  It started with a sore throat and progressed through a myriad of nose and head issues in addition to me just feeling really weak and tired all the time.  In addition to that, my Grandpa (the only one still alive) fell this weekend and they found a bunch of clots in his lungs.  They think he fell because he wasn't able to get enough oxygen in with the clots.  He hit his head and has had internal bleeding in/around his brain, and he is no longer able to swallow on his own, talk, or breathe without some help.  My family have all been waiting around lately with bated breath, fearing the worst, not knowing if he will be able to recover or if he will pass any day now.  My mind has been filled with many thoughts.  Many childhood memories of watching the Smurfs with Grandpa while eating graham crackers with frosting, the time he dressed up like Santa Claus to surprise me at Christmas and I pretended not to know it was really him, sitting next to him when I was a little girl while he painted, listening to his intense breathing as he focused entirely on creating.  Yes my Grandpa was an artist too.  I say 'was' as he stopped painting years ago due to loss of eye/hand coordination even though I tried to encourage him to still do abstract works.

My Grandpa hasn't passed yet and is mostly sleeping.  He has machines helping him to do the normal things his body would be doing to keep him alive.  He is still here but I feel those feelings almost like he's gone because I don't know how he will ever be able to be the same again.  I feel so much for my Grandma because how does one deal with someone suddenly not being there after they have been there for 60 years?  My Grandpa is 93 now and they have been together since they were in their 20's.  That is amazing.

I do believe in miracles and I know and hope there is a chance he can get better, but ultimately everything changes in time, everyone must go at some time.  It is perhaps the most difficult part of life to accept.

So today, in an effort to bring myself up and feel better, I'm going to focus on some things in life that are beautiful and/or inspiring.  I hope this will bring others up too that might feel down for whatever reason.

"The rainbows of life follow the storm."  -Anonymous

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon the verdant green hills is the most perfect refreshment."  -Jane Austin

"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain."  -Shakespeare

"Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive."  -Howard Thurman

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."  -Albert Einstein

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."  -Audrey Hepburn

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and science."  -Albert Einstein

"The rich fire of the orange sunset gloriously announces the coming night.  -Susan S. Florence

And with that ending quote, here are some recent pictures of beauty I have seen in my life.  Wishing beautiful thoughts and a calm serenity to all!

A candle I burned recently that melted into an angel or something.  Excuse the painted artist's table lol.

Beautiful friends

Unedited sunset photos from our balcony

Yay another angel candle photo on painted table

Beautiful Kitty

A couple recent paintings I finished

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

So Halloween was a lot of fun last night.  The only things I would have changed would be chillier weather (it is simply not right or Autumny at all to have the a.c. running on Halloween day/night.  It is October 31 and I expect to be slightly chilled while answering the door!) and I would have somehow transported the awesome chili Shane's mom makes over to our place so we could have the pleasure of answering the door while serving up some chili between doorbell rings.  Our place is not the most accommodating when it comes to Halloween as our door is all the way across our home from our office where we spend most of our time, and down a bunch of stairs.  It is actually like a workout.  And some homemade chili would have been perfect to go with that workout. :D

It was a wonderful night though.  I am the type of person who gets just as excited about Halloween now as I did when I was 5, and wishes I could still trick or treat.  Maybe that is one benefit to having kids that I didn't fully consider yet, haha!  I always have to dress up each year and take answering the door very seriously.  This year we were armed with a purple pumpkin-emblemed bowl filled with Skittles packs, Snickers, and Twix.  I even ran out to the store to grab one more bag of mini Snickers just in case.  That is where I found my bunny costume.  I really hadn't wanted to spend money on an outfit this year, but it was only $5 for the ears, bow tie, and tail, and I figured I could wear something comfortable with it, so why not?  I wasn't really going for a sexy bunny look here, more like cute and comfy.  And honestly I had no idea what to do with my hair...what hairstyle does one do with bunny ears?  Who knows?  I went with braids...

Shane was a 3 hole punch again from the Office inspired birthday party we went to for my friend earlier this year.  His costume is simple, yet effective (in baffling everyone), comfortable, and could possibly double as a domino outfit.

Anyway, we had a blast...30 kids came?  50?  (Shane says I overestimate lol).  And no Halloween would be complete without a little music from The Nightmare Before Christmas "This is Halloween!" and The Monster Mash playing while we did a little Guild Wars II online pumpkin carving.  I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween!  Here are some pictures of our outfits and candy bowl.

Attempting the bunny nose twitch


Attempting to scratch my head with my 'leg' (okay I look more like a cat here oops)

3 Hole Punch and Bunny

Bunny ears on bunny ears

Shane trying on my ears

Candy bowl o' goodness

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unselfishness Redefined

Hello all.  Today I am moved to blog about a topic I feel near and dear to.  That of choosing whether or not to have children, and the labels associated with it.

"That couple doesn't want to have children, that is so selfish."

We have all heard that line before, probably more than once, and to be honest I am of two minds about it.  It actually sparked me into action and I did a little online research on the topic of not having children.  I found these interesting articles:

*  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201206/defensive-about-not-having-children-philosopher-says-we-have-it-all-wrong

*  I cannot think of any selfless reason to have a child, if the question refers to a process of reasoning, rather than a biological drive to reproduce, which I assume it does. I used to think that it would help the human race, if a high IQ was possibly passed on. But that is hardly selfless, since ego would be involved, and a desire to have some kind of immortality. This is a desire that is not necessarily going to be fulfilled. What if the child does not reproduce? Why should they, just for a parent's ego to feel it will continue? It would be irrational and wrong to expect grandchildren as a right. So that reason for having a child did not stand up to close scrutiny and I no longer believe it. If, however, we look at 'irrational' motivations for having children, they can be selfless. There is a definite biological drive that seems to go against all rationality, when the pain and expense of childbearing is taken into account. Then there is the love that the child engenders - which is a selfless feeling, where another being's needs become far more important than your own. So there is a selfless element, but it is not a 'reason' in the sense of coming from a process of rational thought. – Mary Hawkes 2 years ago from this discussion:  https://www.knowhowcompany.com/en/question/15067/Give-one-selfless-reason-to-have-a-child

Again, I am of two minds on the topic of having children myself.  On one side, perhaps the more socially 'acceptable' side (like I care! lol), I have felt what it is like to be part of a large family, to be included in that merriment, and honestly it is pretty awesome.  There is something magnificent about brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents gathered 'round the table celebrating holiday events or just having a normal dinner together every other weekend.  It seems something is always happening, never a dull moment.  The love you experience just being a part of this kind of time together, being a part of something larger than yourself...a clan you are part of...well it is simply wonderful.

I also had the time a very short while ago when I thought I might be pregnant.  For the first time in my life I actually felt ready.  Now I have never been a baby person...have never really thought they were cute.  Never really wanted to hold one.  I've always been much more of an animal person.  But for a short while the idea that I could actually be a mother...well it pleasantly shocked me to the core.  I was genuinely excited, and genuinely a little let down when I found out it wasn't true.  I felt I enjoyed that brief nurturing feeling that I didn't know I had.  For the first time in my life I no longer cared much about what becoming pregnant might mean for my physique.  I realized that my misgivings about pregnancy in the past, which I had attributed to not wanting to become less attractive, had actually been more related to my situation.  My situation was that of living with a person who pretty much played video games all day and sat in cat litter on the floor with a mounting pile of emptied 2 liter bottles of Mountain Dew next to him.  Who never offered to help clean anything and lived on Lucky Charms cereal.  Someone who I couldn't imagine would be of any help to me in parenting as he was more of a roommate than a partner in any sense.  A quote comes to mind, actually, "It is better to be alone than with someone who makes you feel alone."  I felt very alone at that time in my life, and the idea of going out of my way to have a child in that situation and raising it all 'alone' seemed outright unappealing.

But things felt very different to me recently as my situation is completely different now and I have a loving partner who would make an excellent dad.  I was actually very excited at the prospect of becoming a parent, and a little let down when it was not to be.  But the let down was more of an "awwww" feeling than an outright "noooo!"  This is because I have other things in my life that are pretty important to me too.  We both do.

For instance, my husband and I would love to travel as much as possible.  And my child in life is essentially art.  Call it a brain child, if you will.  Lonely?  Hardly.  We have wonderful families and friends to hang out with whenever we want to.  And honestly, we are pretty content with our lives.  We work, play, have balance and essentially nirvana in a nutshell...contentment with our lives and life choices, goals we are working toward, love for each other and the world in general.  Speaking of the world in general I will mention here that one argument for not having children is the environmental footprint increasing factor.  Now I know many people out there don't believe there is actually anything affected by the population's strain on the food and water supplies.  That is fine.  I am all for people believing whatever they want.  But just know that many other people believe that our wars 50 years in the future will be over water, not oil.  A larger family uses more of the Earth's resources, including food and water.  Not to mention the larger amount of trash produced, and let's face it not everything is recyclable just yet, and many people choose not to recycle the things they can actually recycle.  Just saying.  Having perhaps just one child or perhaps none from that standpoint seems less selfish than having many.

There is also the peace of mind of not having to worry about someone's needs constantly who is dependent upon you.  Not everyone is cut out to be a parent.  Sometimes I think it is less selfish to take your own stress handling capabilities into account.  To really know yourself and your limitations, and to honor that person and what might honestly be a lot for them to handle.  Personally I find owning cats trying enough.  One of them is pretty old and meows constantly for food, even when he has just been fed.  I find I spend a good portion of each day caring for him.  In addition to not having to worry about meeting a young human's often demanding needs, there is less financial strain, and frankly less chance of messing someone up.  I hear parenting is pretty challenging, and honestly I'm not sure I'm up to that challenge.  Now I know some of the rewards can be amazing...some of the experiences pretty incomparable, but the truth is my husband and I are pretty happy with our own experiences.

So I guess my summary is...let everyone choose their own adventure.  Don't judge them.  There are bonuses and negatives to every life choice.  Having kids can be a unique and amazing experience, but having each other and traveling can also be a unique and amazing experience.  Perhaps the truly unselfish way to live, the best thing we can all do in life is to embrace other's life choices and focus on love instead of labeling.  Whether you have a blooming family of many or a meager family of 2 or 3, be happy with what you've got, where you're at.  If you're truly happy with your life and who you are working on becoming there should never be a need to make waves.  If you find yourself or someone you care about needing to look at other people's life choices and mock or judge them in some misguided effort to bring yourself up, try to get to the root of that feeling.  Ask yourself why you or the person you care about is doing that.  What is the true source of discontent there?  Get to the root of it and from finding that root and awareness, find ways of dealing with that discontentment.  This reminds me of a book I am really wanting to read, You're Never Upset for the Reason You Think http://www.amazon.com/Youre-Never-Upset-Reason-Think/dp/0965137112.  The truth is, people who are truly content with themselves, who they are, and where their lives are going to be happy with and accepting of others.  When we find ourselves discontent and needing to attack, there is something underneath that.  Something we should dig up and deal with to get back to our true bliss.  But that is another blog for another day...