Food Cleanse

Hey Everybody! This vlog is an update of where I’m at with my 2014 LIFE CLEANSE. I’m only 2 weeks into the Food Cleanse portion. This is more of an introduction, will let you know more details in the next vlog update.
Would love to hear about Cleanses and Detoxes you’ve tried and what you think about them in general!

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LIFE CLEANSE: OUTLINE

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“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” Stephen R. Covey

So do you remember a while back, well it would have been at the beginning of the year when I posted we were going on a beach trip and then I was coming back to start my 2014 LIFE CLEANSE?

Did you see my post right after about our crazy stressful trip that, although full of mercy and learning, left me a bit frazzled?

Here’s the deal, I was originally planning a 90-DAY LIFE CLEANSE. Yep, whole thing start to finish from January through March.

Well, here it is April and I’m just now getting to the next Phase!

At first I was kind of getting down on myself, which was definitely not helping the process, and then I thought to myself, “Come on Meg! Who put a time limit on this thing anyway?! You did! Nobody else is imposing these time restrictions! You silly thing, just keep working on improving, stop with the crazy/impossible expectations!”

So, here I am. I went back to the original 2014 LIFE CLEANSE title to relieve my personal anxiety on the subject. Plans are more motivating to me when they have a title;) Also, I’ve taken a more “Move on when you’re ready” approach to reaching the next phase.

Each Phase of my plan has a Section that I can work on exclusively or in connection with the other two sections. Also, each section tries to focus on a different aspect of my being (ie: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, etc.)

Here’s my ORIGINAL plan:

Phase 1: Renew, Revitalize, Reflect

Renew: This is meant to be a more Spiritual and Emotional Section of Improvement. Spiritually I want to Repent and Forgive (mostly myself), moving forward, as if I was starting life anew. Emotionally I want to leave Discouragement and Self-doubt behind and move forward with Hope and Courage.

Revitalize: This is a more Physical Section of Improvement. For myself, I know I need to focus more on self-care, especially rest. Sleep, breaks, and focusing more on where I’m “letting myself go” physically. It’s impossible to fill everyone’s bucket from my empty one. Also, in my surroundings, to make myself more efficient and productive I’m organizing, downsizing, and deep cleaning my home. This “spring-cleaning” is always very refreshing for me.

Reflect: This is a Mental, although touching on the Emotional and Spiritual Improvement Sections as well. This will of course require Heavenly help, my knees will get a workout With this Section I want to focus on three main questions: What do I really need to change in my life ? What is/are the root(s) of what is holding me back from this change? What changes can I make that will make change in my family?

Phase 2: Study, Strengthen, Synthesize

Study: A mostly Spiritual Section, a need to focus more on the quality of my study rather than quantity. I’ve been going through the motions lately and don’t feel the invigoration of learning and inspiration as strongly as I once did. I mostly want to focus on my study of Scripture, being “IN” my prayers and not just habitual monologues, and the topics that I have pondered on during my time of Reflection in Phase 1.

Strengthen: In this Physical focused Section I was to hone my routines/habits. Making sure I “Put first things first” (Stephen Covey), namely my study and self-care. Also, taking a literal interpretation of the section, I want to focus more on changing my exercise routine to include more strength training. I’m finding I can do my daily Mommy tasks when my body is in better condition.

Synthesize: This will be mostly a Mental Section. I want to focus on how I can use the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of my being to work together more efficiently and productively. I believe this will mean paying more attention to timing, and highs and lows of the day/week/etc. For this section I will focus more on receiving guidance through prayer, and daily planning, using a long-term vision. Also I plan to write the things I’m discovering about myself so that I can forecast what, when, and how to do tasks/activities.

Phase 3: Clarify, Cleanse, Create

Clarify: This will be a Mental and probably Emotional Section. At this point in the process I am hoping I can define what really are the roots of my personal vices. The idea being, to kill the problem from the source.

Cleanse: A Physical Section that will focus mostly on food cleansing. Omitting some foods and adding others to cleanse my body of toxins and hopefully find a good food balance that will lessen the “build-up” in the future.

Create: Another Mental, Spiritual and Emotional Section mix. Now that I have found the roots, I want to create a “game-plan” of how I can use my virtues to eliminate the vices. This will probably be an ongoing process but I’m thinking that the earlier Phases will help me get rid of distraction and focus on the things that will empower me to make real change.

Another thing I noticed after I started working was that the Phases kind of overlap. Right now I’m still working on Revitalize from Phase 1, and I’m learning that Renew is something that needs to happen more regularly…. but I’ve moved on to all three Phases in Phase 2, albeit slowly;).

I’m hoping this makes sense. Sometimes my ideas only make sense to me;)
I’ll be posting and hopefully vlogging some of what I’ve been learning in this process of Cleansing my life. My main goal is to find the main roots of change in my life that need to be made. I realize that some may take a life-time to change but I think that the identifying and concentrating on specifics will help me progress more successfully.

Have It All

Image                                             I am so blessed to already “Have It All”

“ My husband and I have been married for 42 years. We never had much (in the way of material things). My husband made minimum wage when we got married and it increased up to 15% as the years passed. We never had a car. We never went to a restaurant. But I never regret my decision to stay home and be a wife and mother. We enjoyed coming home and preparing our meals together. We would go for walks in the park and just enjoy each other’s company. We were happy, our children were happy and I was there whenever they needed me.”

I could feel the tears well up in my eyes as this gentle, smiling woman stood up behind me in our women’s congregation at church to share her experience. She was petite, her clothes were faded and would be considered “out of style”, her face and hands wore the marks of someone that had worked hard and long her entire life. When I thought about raising a family on ONE MEXICAN minimum wage income I hung my head in admiration and a bit of shame. This woman’s contentment and peace radiated from her being and she stood up to share with us, and remind us, what we, as women, came to this earth to do.

The messages that bombard us on a daily basis are often overwhelming, sometimes downright nauseating.

Women should be equal with men, have a career that “fulfills” them, be able to come and go as they please, we travel to exotic locations, we look like a photo-shopped model at all times, we are completely up to date on all social media news, we have a delightful blog that oozes with wisdom and cuteness, our homes immaculate and beautifully decorated, our yards manicured, our gardens from which we home can all of our produce  is free of weeds, our children (2 of course, one boy, one girl) clean and neatly dressed in the latest styles, our meals perfectly balanced and prepared on time, our laundry ironed, folded and put away neatly by color and season(there are no dirty piles of course!), our budget balanced, our investments thriving, our cars (at least one for work and one for family) are washed and waxed and sitting in the spotless garage, we are involved in every sport and extracurricular  activity available, we attend and participate in all local political meetings, on the weekends we are volunteering at the animal shelter or food bank, on Sundays we’re at church, we teach Sunday School as well as facilitate other ecclesiastical meetings, a constant smile on our face and pleasant word on our lips….oh, and didn’t I mention, we’re writing a book….;)

The over-riding theme is that we can “HAVE IT ALL”. If we want it, we can have it, come and get it.

What I’m worried about is that it seems less and less women are worrying about what “IT ALL” really is, and where these messages are coming from. I find myself getting on to the treadmill of trends every so often myself. Sometimes I have to have a near breakdown before I realize I’ve forgotten my purpose.

Thus far, there have been two periods of time in my life where my desire to “HAVE IT ALL” nearly destroyed me.

The first time was as a pre-teen, going on teenager. My idea at the time of “IT ALL” was very much influenced by my passion for dancing. Unfortunately, I gave into the idea that I needed to be a certain way in order to succeed in the world of dance.

Long story short, my obsessive desires and thus behaviors led me very nearly to my death bed. Instead of fulfillment I felt emptiness and self-hatred.

Finding solace in the scriptures and prayer I remember when the sudden and forceful message came to me that I was not here on earth to be “fulfilling” myself, but to be a wife and mother. I remember the feeling that my future children were counting on me to be the mother that they deserve and I could not do that on the road I had taken. Fortunately, my ever faithful family and friends helped and supported me as I back-tracked and got on the right road.

The second time I felt myself getting horribly off track was during my last pregnancy.

As any wife and mother I have many responsibilities. Choosing to Homeschool adds another obligation, along with our extracurricular activities. I am very involved in our church and helping with our family business. Plus for me, pregnancy is hard work! 😉

Instead of pacing myself and setting priorities I started giving into the ideas of the world, of how I needed to be, what I needed to do, and how I was supposed to manage everything.

Where I ended up was one day having a complete melt-down, becoming a completely hellish beast to my family and finally driving off into the country-side, barely being able to see through the constant flow of my tears. I felt completely out of control, like I didn’t even know myself anymore.

Once again I turned to the scriptures and prayer and I felt the answers come. I slowed down. I prioritized and focused, and my patient husband and family road the bumpy road with me as I got back on the right road.

For me, the right road is focusing on the family. I believe women were put here on earth to nurture and guide their families towards Christ. The family is not a trophy nor a hobby, it is the whole purpose of life. We are here as families to return to God as a whole family.

Women are the hearth-makers, with whatever circumstances we are given we can make our house a home. Women set the mood of the home. The husband is the head, we are the neck. We prepare, love, teach, guide, listen, help and nurture. This is our sacred responsibility; this is why we are here.

So, am I against careers, cleanliness, cash, and calisthenics? No, of course not. Nor any of the other wonderful and engaging things this wonderful world has to offer. I just have to remind myself that just because it’s good doesn’t mean its best. And what’s good, or even best, for another may not be the best for me. I have to remind myself what my first priority always must be.

Because when it comes down to it, when all is said and done… if I can look back and see that my husband and family were well-cared for and happy.  If I can say that I did my very best to lead and guide them towards Christ, then that is “IT ALL”, for me.

It’s Your Call

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Walking through “Las Piedrotas” in Tapalpa, Mexico. Can you see the little munchkins waiting on me up there? 

Sometimes answers are like walking out of a cave into the bright sunlight. An instant warmth and sense of deep awareness.

Other times it’s more like waking when it’s still pitch black outside, an then watching as the shadows slowly disappear, and the sun takes its’ rightful place in the sky. Blackness fading away to grey and finally a bright yellow of newness and understanding.

Yep, sometimes the answers come very clearly, very forcefully, there is no doubt. But many times, or should I say, most of the time, my answers come with a little insight here and a little more there. Like a sculptor that methodically chisels away at a block of marble to release the masterpiece waiting beneath its’ surface.

I’m dealing with one of those right now. The second method. The slow elimination and determined chipping away. You see, I know there is a God. I know He is there. I know he listens when I pray. I know He answers. But just as any loving parent, I believe He knows that we cannot just be given the answers to all of our questions and problems. Sometimes He answers immediately and clearly. Sometimes he leads us and guides us almost just as clearly. And sometimes I think he says, “It’s your call”.

I detest this answer. I don’t want to make the call. I don’t know that I’m ready to make the call. All by myself? All on my own? But am I really on my own? No, not really. He’s my Father. He’ll tell me what He thinks, but not directly, not obviously. I must search. I must listen. I must quiet my soul in order to hear.

That is what I’m in the midst of right now. It’s actually a question I ask myself every year. Am I still sure that we should be homeschooling our children?

For the first few years, I really felt a calling. I KNEW it was what we needed to do. As our journey embarked I soon discovered that our first child would have significant struggles in any other school setting, which added confirmation to our decision.

Then a few more moves, a few more children, a few changes of employment and a plethora of changes to our homeschooling….I felt I was starting to “get it”. I felt like we could make this work. I felt a culture forming that I craved. I smiled. We can do this.

But as I just told a dear friend who is struggling with the same decision, for different reasons…Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And just because you shouldn’t now, doesn’t mean you can’t later. There is a plan and a time for everything.

A couple years ago my husband started making the steps and changes necessary to be completely self-employed. At the beginning of this year we made the final and complete leap into the world of self-employment. This means he is working from home whenever he is not attending meetings, giving trainings and/or travelling. It has mostly been a gradual change and we thought that we were figuring it out. I have always tried my best to help with my husband’s work when he was an employee and now even more as we have a family business. But I admit, I am both hesitant and ignorant. Sometimes I just don’t know what in the world I am doing! I really don’t want to mess something up that is that important. Other times I feel like if I put too much into it than I’m neglecting my responsibilities as a mother and teacher. It’s always been a difficult balance, for me.

Over the past few months I have been reflecting a lot on my priorities in order to create a good balance and decide where I need to make improvements. It was amongst this journey that my husband asked one day, “Are you sure we are supposed to be homeschooling?”

At first I was a bit flabbergasted. Though not involved with the process much, he has always been very supportive of my endeavors.

Unfortunately, I continued to react with my natural responses to his critiques….defensive mode on….How dare he… After all we’ve been through? Does he not see I’m trying my best? Doesn’t he see that the kids learn better this way?

Wait….wait for it…ok, now reflection hits….but this is my husband. My eternal companion. My best friend. What if he’s right? What if I’m doing something wrong? What if I need to have my focus elsewhere?…..

Well, very long story short, by the end of the day I was an emotional mess. I have since been spending the majority of my thinking time grappling with this subject. I’ve searched, pondered and prayed….even fasted. I feel my answer is….It’s your call….not really what I was looking for….definitely not the easy route. I have already been guided. For the moment I’ve decided to finish the school year and come to a final decision by our summer break.  I know the answer will come. Hopefully it’s before I become a habitual insomniac 😉

To all of you who’ve struggled with this, or a similar decision….what helped you?

The Blessings of Disappointment

Image  We found out that we were expecting our second child while visiting my husband’s family in Africa. I fainted on the beach!  

 Have you ever heard that song, “Sometimes I Thank God for Unanswered Prayers?” by Garth Brooks? Are you like me and seem to have this little scenario of how things are SUPPOSED to go and what is SUPPOSED to happen in your life? Is it just me or does NOTHING EVER go the way you pictured and then you get peeved and moody and maybe even a little pouty? The last few years when I go through these moments I usually end up laughing at myself because I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONE IN CHARGE. Then I reflect and see how if it had gone my way I would have missed out on A LOT of personal growth.

When we first got married, Marvel and I had a five year plan that included building our own home in rural Idaho, both of us finishing our second degrees, him moving forward in his steady and stable job, me moving forward with my teaching in public schools, and various other goals that mostly involved our own personal growth.

Instead, we had our first child six days after our 1st anniversary, he finished his second degree while I BARELY finished my first, and then he got an opportunity to move his career into an international scene. It wasn’t OUR plan, but we felt almost as if we were being led by angels. Once we gave up OUR plans everything fell into place and we moved forward into an experience that continues to teach and stretch us beyond anything OUR plans had imagined.

Another example was when we set up our “family plan” of having our children with two years between each one. After Engineer was born, we used no forms of birth control. 2 ½ years later we looked at each other and our one child and thought, is this it? I became almost obsessed with the idea that I needed to be pregnant and felt like I had done something wrong.

When I finally poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father and felt his assurances that HIS plan would be best, I let go. Fiesta was born a little over a year later and looking back I can see how HIS plan was indeed the best and I was able to grow and help Engineer get a head-start on academic skills that he has to work harder on than most, to master. It was during this time that we decided to homeschool.

Then there are smaller examples. This past week we had a family vacation planned. It was highly anticipated because we have been saving up for it and waiting for my Mom and Step-Dad to come visit so we could all go together. We had the place, the dates, the activities and the excitement all ready to go.

Well, then our van broke down, we fixed it and decided on a shorter trip. The van broke down ¾ of the way there, at night. BUT, we broke down in a town (not in the middle of a Mexican highway where towns are scattered like those in Montana). We broke down RIGHT IN FRONT AND 10 MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING TIME of a mechanic’s shop. There was a nearby safe hotel and restaurant and a bus station to take us the rest of the way to the beach while the car was fixed. There were about a MILLION inconveniences and I still feel like I’m recuperating from our “vacation” but you know what? We were safe, the kids still had a great time (mom doesn’t let me jump on my bed but the hotel bed…hahaha), we still got to see the ocean, and both Marvel and I had plenty of time to catch up with my parents. PLUS, since we had to shorten the trip Marvel and I got back in time to fix some emergencies with his business and an ESL program we help with, that could have become disastrous in our absence. I don’t believe in coincidences.

All I’m saying is that God is OUR FATHER. He ALWAYS watches out for us and guides us. Is it easy? I know that my life, even with the change in plans is a walk in the park compared to many. I needed to write this to remind MYSELF that MY PLANS aren’t always what’s best for me and my family. So, maybe MY PLAN of by now already having been in the full throws of my “Life Cleanse” for 2014 isn’t the best for me….I’m guessing that because now my kids all came down with the stomach flu in the middle of the night….;)

News!

Hey Everyone! 

Just to let you know that I (finally) updated my “About” page! It only took me a year to introduce the whole family 🙂 Check it out and get to know us a bit better. As I type there is a flurry of preparation to leave for the beach, a LONG awaited short vacation that we’re all looking forward to. When we get back look out for my upcoming posts on my 2014 LIFE CLEANSE, a self-improvement program that I made up for myself this year to revitalize and create change that is needed in my own life. We’ll talk soon!

An Atmosphere of Discipline

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As promised, here’s some more thoughts from my personal “unit-study” on discipline.

When it comes to discipline “training” it’s helpful to use a medical perspective. Prevention is better than medication. I think that most of us would whole-heartedly agree with that train of thought. It is SO much easier and more enjoyable to train ourselves and our families to be disciplined in the present, rather than dealing with all the numerous hosts of consequences and misbehaviors down the road.

Daunting task? Yep. Easier said than done? Absolutely. Complicated? Not really.

The thing is we’re all going to have our weaknesses and different personalities and cultures to deal with but even given all those variables, discipline training really boils down to two key concepts. Model and Method.

#1 The model:

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We HAVE to model self-discipline.This is absolutely essential in discipline training with children. They are still learning all the nuances of language for one and may not completely understand WHAT you are saying. Or maybe you’ve caught yourself like I did with myself the other day yelling at my daughter, “Stop speaking so rudely to your sister!!” Hmmm….see anything wrong with that picture?

But there is even more to self-discipline than anger control and obedience. I’ve been thinking about questions like this:

Do we buy everything we want, right when we want it?

Do we make others in our family wait on their wants to meet our own?

Do we barrage our families with every bad mood/day?

Do we complain and whine whenever we don’t want to do something or are inconvenienced?

Do we eat like there will never be food again?

Do we avoid exercise?

Do we avoid reading/ learning new things?

Do we avoid planning because we don’t want commitments or expectations?

Do we lie? Cheat? (Kids usually can’t tell the difference between a “white” lie and a “lie”)

Do we neglect our family or other important responsibilities because we are thinking of ourselves (ie: “me time”, career development, etc)?

Do we avoid budgeting because we don’t want to have the responsibility of managing our funds?

Well then….what exactly are we expecting from our children?

Now, obviously with some of these questions there are things to consider such as disability, health issues, etc. But when I honestly took a look at myself with these questions in mind I started to realize how much a disciplined home begins with me.

#2 The method:

This encompasses both Work and Patience Training.

For Work, we typically use Stewardships. Ok, I guess they are more commonly known as chores or jobs but to me those words had such a negative connotation that we use “stewardships” at our house instead.  The basic premise is that these jobs create responsibility which gives them a feeling of belonging and significance. They feel needed and wanted. Their contribution matters.

Also, when introducing the “whys” to our kids we explained that God gives us everything we have and in order to show gratitude and have further “responsibilities” we have to take care of the ones we already have.

This should be a step-by-step, little-by-little process. It requires training too! You can’t expect anybody to read your mind. Be honest and specific about what is expected and then follow through with instruction and continued “check-ups”.

Since the world is becoming less and less agricultural we may have to be creative, but find a way to make sure that everyone has something that they are responsible for and that they FEEL it is a responsibility. Work creates self-discipline because one must put off the natural man and train their mind and body to do something they many not WANT to do, but they know it is necessary and good.

This step ties right back in to modeling as well. If you’re not taking care of your responsibilities then….?

Patience Training happens naturally while training your children to work because they have to be patient to see a desired outcome. We can enhance patience in our children pretty simply: Make them wait. And often: Make them work for it. This doesn’t mean withhold needed things. We’re not creating stoics. Although we can make them wait even temporarily to eat, sleep, attention, etc.

This starts in infancy, we can soothe a child with our voice to let them know we will meet their needs but we don’t have to do it in the moment. This is especially true when the “need” is really a “want”, kids must learn from the get-go what is a need and a want and that they will have to be patient for both and generally work for a “want”.

Just like anything else, you CAN have too much of a good thing. Discipline does not mean you should become like a machine. Everything will NOT be perfect. I should make this my mantra 🙂 Sometimes, life happens. BUT, “training” in any sense of the word is an incremental process. Every morning I wake up I’m striving for a “better-than-before” kind of day!