Wednesday, March 31, 2010

They Grow Up Too Fast!!!

I can't believe my Megan will be 8 in May!  Around the time she turned 1, I remember reading that children become who they are before they are 5 years old, so parents have until their kids are 5 to 'raise them up in the way they should go.'  When Megan turned 5, I panicked!  In my mind, I had surely messed her up for life!  Thankfully, she is a beautiful, well-behaved young lady with a kind heart and a love for God that amazes me.  I love to find her giggling as she reads her Bible because "I'm just so happy when I read the Bible, Mama!" 

I don't think we lose our chance to shape our children's character after they turn 5, but it does seem like we lose a precious time in their lives.  That time when they want nothing more than to be with you.  I hope I'm not the only Mom out there who feels like I've wasted precious moments with my kids in my busy-ness.  As I look at this picture of my sweet baby, I can only wish for more moments cuddling her, putting together puzzles, reading stories, and doing crafts.  But then I look at my beautiful 'almost' 8 year old daughter, and I know that I have a lifetime of wonderful memories to look forward to. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eating 'Real' Food

Interestingly, this week my students at two different campuses, with two different textbooks, discussed similar articles exposing the harmful nature of processed foods and encouraging readers to 1) buy locally and 2) grow their own food.  The question for many is--how possible is it to do either?  One class came up with several objections--expense, time, laziness, to name a few.  But the benefits outweigh the objections--buying locally is healthier and it stimulates the local economy. 

One of the authors, Michael Pollan (interview on Colbert Report linked here), is quite famous, with several books under his belt.  While Pollan has some fantastic points (really--they sterilize the manure in our meat instead of getting it out!?), he seems to have some circular reasoning.  He blames many of our food woes on government regulations, which limit small farmers' ability to be competitive, yet advocates the creation of more government programs to solve the problems he sees. 

Why not just eliminate the government programs causing the problems?  I find this to be a picture of a larger problem in our society.  When a program doesn't work, we assume that we have to create another program to solve the first problem, rather than simply eliminating the programs that don't work.  We've become so dependent on sources outside of ourselves for everything important in our lives.  We depend on grocery stores for food, the government for health care (now), schools to raise our children...we haven't lost the ability to care for ourselves and our basic needs, but we've lost the confidence in our ability to do so.

Growing your own food, educating your own children, using natural healing methods, etc, is empowering.  America is a land of liberty--but with liberty comes responsibility.  If we want to keep our freedoms, we need to be willing to take responsibility for our lives.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Life of a Working Mom

After being a stay-at-home mom for 7 years (I worked, but from home--keeping books for Ryan's biz, building my own business, and teaching online courses), I'm finding working every day to be rather rough on me.  And Mr. Mom is having a rough time, too!

I once heard that women who work outside the home have higher stress levels than women who stay home with their kids, and men who stay home have higher stress levels than men who work outside the home.  According to the study, it has something to do with the way our brains are wired.  I have to say that Ryan & I are growing tired of the mixed up roles and we are more than ready to get life back to normal!

I used to think that being a stay at home mom was pretty rough, and I envied my friends who worked--after all, they got grown up conversations and a sense of worth and, of course, a paycheck!  But now that I'm teaching ground courses M-F, I'm realizing how much I miss my kids.  I miss the days of grading papers with my laptop while the kids play outside and making phone calls with Josyan in my lap.  I miss taking an hour to play outside in the sunshine or 'dig' in the garden.  And I miss my clean house--the one where the dishes are done, the laundry is put away, and everything is in order.  I feel like my home & my family are falling apart at the seams!

This thankfully short, but necessary experiment in being a working mom has really helped me appreciate even more being a mom who stays home. And it's helped me to understand more fully my friends and family members who don't have that luxury, making me even more passionate about helping moms find ways to be home with their kids.  It's not a piece of cake, but working my own business from home and being available for my kids is worth the extra hour or two I need to spend to grow my business.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Scoop Above

I had a great time with the kiddos today at A Scoop Above--an awesome little gelato place in Cottonwood, AZ.  The kids got a 1/2 pb & j, a banana, milk, and a scoop of gelato for all of $2.99!  Health food for less than McDs--with a wonderful playroom to boot!

The kids earned their $3, too.  $2 was a bribe to try catfish at McAdoos on our trip to Texas--they all loved it, even Tristan, who vowed to order catfish next time around.  Josyan liked it so much that he insisted that he wanted catfish at every other restaurant we went to.  :-)  And the extra $1, well that was for being so awesome on the 18 hour drive home!!!

I love the simple times with the kids.  I know it's not much, but it means a lot to them.  And I'm so thankful for places like A Scoop Above where they offer great products at a decent price.  (50 cents for a scoop for kids 5 & under!!!)  If you're in the area--give it a try.  It's across from the DQ.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Will Healthcare Reform Save Social Security?

Many Americans have been shocked by the blatant disregard for what we want as politicians in Congress pushed this bill through via bribes, back door deals, and lies, lies, lies.  Like Tiger Woods, who stated that he thought he could do anything he wanted because he's a celebrity, members of Congress seem to think that their status in Congress allows them to do whatever they want.  They've forgotten, apparently, or they don't care, that they were voted in as representatives of the people.

While the health care bill still has to get back through the Senate and the storm of lawsuits debating the bill's constitutionality, its passage reflects an uncertain future for American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I personally am worried about many issues within the mandated health care, though I'm glad that (at least for now) my membership in Samaritan Ministries exempts my participation in a health care plan that funds abortion.

It seems to me that the democrats in Congress, rather than admitting that their socialist ideas haven't worked (welfare, medicare, social security), are trying to make things appear to be working.  When Social Security passed in 1935, the average life expectancy for Americans was around 62.  The minimum retirement age?  65!  So, who was to get all those benefits that everyone was paying into the system?  Very few!  Now, our life expectancy is 78.  So, a system that was designed to help a VERY FEW people for a FEW years, now has to support millions for at least 13 years past retirement.  No wonder the system is failing.

So, the response of the government isn't to say, "well, this isn't working anymore--we need to phase this out.  We need to put this back in the hands of the people."  No.  The response is, "let's come up with a new health care reform that will reduce life expectancy and reduce the quality of care so we can SAY that our plan works!"  From Obama's own lips, we have an assurance that people who aren't contributing to society should get a pain pill, rather than life-saving treatment.  Who specifically is he referring to? The elderly and the disabled.  In effect, this reduces the life expectancy, makes Social Security solvent, and makes the democrats the short-term heroes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Thing?

hIn the back corner of a giant souvenir shop in the middle of nowhere, Arizona, is a door with a sign:  "See the Thing!"  What is the thing?  I have no idea!  But billboards for miles created curiosity, and even though we didn't pay $1 each to see this mysterious Thing, we're left wondering...what monstrosity exists in that back room?  Did we miss out on something really cool?  And who came up with this great advertising ploy?

By creating curiosity, he/she attracts customers, which, of course, generates revenue!  This place was hopping--and people were buying more than snacks for the road.  So, how can we create this kind of curiosity in our businesses?  Putting up a billboard on the road to your house is probably not the best way to do it...although I did recently hear an interesting tip about running for a local office so you can put signs in everyone's yards...

How about being your success story?  If your business is in the health & wellness field, be the healthiest, most well person you can be.  People will does she always feel so great?  If your business is makeup--you'd better look amazing all the time.  Kitchen products?  Show off your amazing culinary skills with your company recipes in your cool cookware!  YOU are a walking billboard for your product.  If you represent it well, people will want to try it, too.  They'll tell you how great you look, ask for your secrets, etc.  Create'll attract customers and generate income.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting for Jack--Review

While in California at an Author 101 workshop, I had the opportunity to hear Kristin Moeller speak and meet her in person.  Kirsten speaks from her heart, with a genuine, but authoritative tone.  Her book, Waiting for Jack, reflects her life experiences dealing with addiction and an eating disorder, as well as her professional expertise as a counselor and coach. 

Waiting for Jack calls readers out, in a conversational way, showing us all how we are impeding our own progress in life.  Whether we are waiting for someone (or something) else to bring us happiness or blaming our problems on something outside of ourselves, Moeller reminds us that our happiness and our success are in our hands--not someone else's.  Every day we make choices about what we believe about ourselves and our lives and about what actions we will take. 

Because she speaks from personal experience, the advice is a little easier to take.  Overall, this is a well-written wake up call to all of us--a call to start living our lives and stop waiting for life to happen to us. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Myth of "Mom-Time"

"Two girlfriends and I are going to a spa overnight. We have already scheduled our massages and facials, manicures and pedicures. We will enjoy meals that somebody else has cooked and not have to wash the dishes or worry about cleaning up the spilled milk. We'll drink a little wine, soak in a hot tub, catch up on girl talk and stay up late if we want because we can sleep in the next morning!" says Melissa from the ivillage. 

Wow.  That sounds amazing, right, moms?  How many times in the last few days have you thought to yourself, "I just need some time to myself."  You want to read your book or chat with your friends or just go out.  And society says we deserve to have that time for ourselves.  I've even heard mom-time compared to the oxygen masks on airplanes--if you don't take time for yourself, how can you be there for your kids? 

I wonder, though, how many moms who have lost a child or who have an empty nest look back and say, "Man, I wish I had taken more me-time."  I look at how fast my children are growing up, and I'm overcome thinking that I don't have enough time with them.  What if today is the last day I'll have with my kids--do I really want to spend my day wishing for more ME time?  After all, isn't that desire for me time really rooted in selfishness?  We don't want to serve others--we want to serve ourselves.  Or, better yet, have others serve us! 

What if our kids or our husband or our friends couldn't wait to get away from us?  What if God needed Me-time?  The Bible says that we should "take every thought into captivity."  I'm going to start taking my selfish thoughts into captivity.  I'm going to start thinking about how much I love to spend time with my kids--how I can't get enough of my kids! 

Need some quiet time?  Wake up an hour or two earlier--like a friend of mine.  She spends a quiet morning with her coffee and her Bible every morning to prepare herself for the day.  If you're a night owl, put your work away when the kids go to bed.  Instead of watching tv or checking facebook, take a bath and read a book.  Your time is in your hands--and you only have so much of it.  Spend your time wisely, giving of yourself so that you don't regret the moments you missed when it's too late.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

School Board President Can't Write?

I'm not sure what I find more interesting--the fact that the school board president (and former substitute teacher!) can't write, or the fact that people in the community don't seem to care!  Take a look at the e-mails quoted in this article.  It's not just that the e-mails are full of grammatical errors and vernacular English.  The e-mails just don't make sense!   (Remember that these e-mails were sent out to constituents--they are NOT personal e-mails!) A school board president ought to be a well-educated person who knows what he/she is talking about and can express his/her ideas in an exemplary fashion.  According to the NSBA and the Center for Public Education, the job of a school board includes making sure that students are meeting educational standards and preparing those students for college.  How can someone who does not meet the standards himself understand how to help students meet them? 

What is Mathis' example telling the children in his district about education?  That if they want to just slide by, they can simply claim poor self esteem and get their diplomas anyway?  Sadly, I think it's telling children that the adults in the community have given up on them.  Like Mathis, they've all decided that it's not worth it to emulate excellence for the children in their school district.  Sadly, this is a legacy that will impact these kids for the rest of their lives. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Time with the Kids...

If you're like me, you're always busy!  If I'm not working, there's always something that needs to be cleaned or cooked or laundered!  Whether you're a working mom, or a stay at home mom, or a mom working from home, you may be looking for ways to spend more time with your kids.  Sometimes it seems impossible, but I'm so tired of always saying things like "In a minute" "Not right now" and "I'm working, hon."  So, I've been thinking about ways to spend time with my kids--without stopping what I'm doing! 

My kids always ask me to play with them--because that's how they relate to other people right now.  But they are happy just to be with me, even if we're not doing the exact same thing.  For example, the other day I was working on making a new family schedule.  Rather than sitting at my desk, I brought my posterboard, pencil, ruler & markers into the schoolroom.  Tristan wanted to do a math page, and Megan and Josyan wanted to do a craft.  So I set them up with their activities while I worked on my schedule.  We had a great time taking a look at each others' work and chatting about life. 

Just as we create comraderie by working together as adults, we can do the same thing with our kids.  My kiddos didn't need me to sit beside them and do what they were doing--they just wanted my presence in the room with them.  The great thing about this concept is that I feel better as a mom because I'm spending actual time with my kids (and I'm still getting things done!), and my kids feel great because I'm hanging out with them! 

More ideas to come...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Author 101 University

I just got back from LA, where I spent 3 days at the Author 101 University workshop.  WOW!  What an amazing experience!  I came home with an amazing amount of information on writing, marketing, and building an internet presence from some awesome trainers--Tom Antion, Craig Duswalt, Rick Frishman, Ann Evanson, Barbara De Angelis, Mark Victor Hansen, and Steve Harrison, just to name a few!  Not only that, but I met some wonderful women with hearts of gold that I'm looking forward to keeping in contact with.

Besides all the information on SEO and blogs and writing...the most important thing I learned is that if you can be yourself, you'll find gold in the most unexpected places. 

I'm looking forward to sharing some of my new knowledge with you...but for now, I'll simply say keep an eye out for new content on 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Political Statement for the Day

We all know what we should do financially, right?  We all know that we shouldn't go into debt--we should buy our cars with cash, our houses with cash.  No credit cards.  Save 6 months worth of expenses, just in case.  We all know this is sound financial advice. YET we have mortgages, car payments, and credit card bills--and precious little savings.  Why?  Because we 'have' to have things.  No, we 'need' them.  Since when are potato chips and cable tv necessities? 

Another thing we all know is that there are consequences to our actions.  When we didn't study for a test in school, we failed.  The teacher didn't just have pity on us because we wanted to spend time with our friends and give us the average score other people got on the test.  When you don't show up for a job interview, you don't get the job.  This is life.

Yet, somehow, when it comes to finances, we feel entitled to be bailed out of our own poor decisions.  Yes, a lot of people are unemployed right now, including my husband.  But, what if we'd had those 6 months of savings?  What if we hadn't bought a house we couldn't afford?  (If you need a mortgage, you can't afford the house!)  What if we didn't have car payments?  What if we didn't have credit card bills?  Our expenses would be minimal.  And, guess what?  We wouldn't be upside down on our mortgages!  And we'd be ok.  We wouldn't need government intervention.  Don't have the extra money to save?  Really...try adding up the car payments and the credit card payments you've paid in your adult life.  If you hadn't bought the first car you couldn't afford or signed the first credit card agreement--all that money would be in the bank right now.  Times like these show that we can't afford NOT to save.

But now we have the government patting us on the head and telling us we 'need' them.  We are just poor little people who didn't have the sense to make smart financial decisions, and now the big strong government (ha!) wants to help us out.  How?  By taking money from all the people who DID make those smart decisions--by all the people who DO have a job right now.  So now the average American only brings home 1/2 of what they'd earned.  The other half goes to those people who made bad decisions! 

I mentioned that my husband is unemployed.  He has been since December of 2008.  Yes--that's over a year!  Guess what?  He's never taken a penny of unemployment, even though he rightfully could have.  Fortunately, we did save a few months of expenses and used our extra money while Ryan was working to build a garden and plant fruit trees and invest in a side of beef-which has helped cut down on grocery bills.  We put in a woodstove and a whole house fan to eliminate heating and cooling costs.  And we stocked up on necessities like toilet paper.  Still, those things only last so long.  But we haven't asked for government assistance.  Instead, I went back to work.  We started a network marketing business.  We traded in those new cars for less expensive ones with 1/2 the payments.  We turned off the cable and cut out other unnecessary expenses.  Has it been rough?  YES!  But we're making it on our own.  We are dealing with the consequences of our own actions WITHOUT help from the government. 

Several of our friends have done the same.  In fact, people all over the country are going back to school, learning new professions, working more than one job.  Because Americans are hard working.  Americans are innovative.  Americans are strong.  

And those of us who are taking responsibility for our actions will come out of this on top.  (One instance where survival of the fittest actually makes sense!)  Not only that, but we will have learned our lessons well. 

As a whole, Americans need to learn to take responsibility for our own actions.  Deal with the consequences.  Instead of expecting a free ride from the government, go out and do something about your situation.  Go back to school.  Get a job at McDonalds.  Quit asking your neighbors to pay for your mistakes.  Those of us who are working (3 jobs for me) would like to keep more than 50% of our paychecks, thank you very much.  
Isaiah 40:31 
“But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”

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