FINALLY Loving Myself

Eleven years ago, I married my wonderful husband.  I was a professional, a Doctor of Chiropractic, with my whole career ahead of me. But getting married and the hope of adding children to our family was only one aspect of this change….I was about to embark on an amazing adventure. Marrying my husband meant I was moving to Israel.

Why was that part so significant?

Yes, it meant a new culture, new language, very different lifestyle.  It was exciting and wonderful and stressful and not-so-wonderful sometimes.  I birthed five exceptional children there.  I swam in the Dead Sea, prayed at the Kotel, got to see the Temple Mount, vacationed at the Sea of Galilee, and experienced walking down the middle of what would normally be a busy city street in Jerusalem but was absolutely dead silent on Yom Kippur. Memorable.

I gave up my chiropractic career because of this move. And, while there are aspects to that that sadden me slightly, I have no regrets. I would change NOTHING. I am incredibly blessed to have six children now, all healthy. I had wonderful home births, enjoyed teaching people about health whenever I could, and then one day I started FamilyNatural.com and had an outlet for my creativity in writing. I loved writing this blog and although I would stray when things got too crazy, I always came back to it.

Then, one day, after living in Israel for nine and a half years and taking that long to finally get to the point where I didn’t miss the States so much and could honestly say I was glad we lived there and not the US, we moved back.

Yes, it was a surprise to me. And yes, I was glad. And sad. And glad. And looking forward to all the opportunities available here in the US for homeschooling, and friends, and easy shopping, and so on…

EXCEPT, it was another move, across the world, leaving many of our belongings behind. At the location which was supposed to be a “stop over while we figured out where we would stay”, we stayed almost two years. It was an apartment in a beautiful area, on the beach. But it was on the TENTH floor. We had FIVE children. On the TENTH floor. No back yard, no outside play time, no exercise, no space to spread out unless I took us all out for a walk, which despite my best intentions did not happen more than three times a week and sometimes it didn’t happen at all.  (remember, we homeschool)

And then we were blessed with another child, this time a difficult pregnancy. Still on the tenth floor, still away from our Israel friends and many complications kept us from spending much time with our American friends.

I have heard that next to death of a loved one, moving is the most stressful experience a person can encounter.  And moving to a foreign country is even more stressful. How about pregnancy? Childbirth? Homeschooling? Another pregnancy, another childbirth, times six? Moving three times in Israel and then moving back here? Try flying overseas with five children….

I have basically been under stress nonstop for eleven years. It’s been TOUGH.

But that’s not my point. I’m not writing this to complain, or even to vent. I realized something very important.

When I stopped practicing chiropractic, I began to neglect a very important part of myself. The ME part. The creative part.

Yes, I am a homeschool mom, and I love it. Yes, I have taught and written and learned to bake and sort of to sew and when I’ve made time for it, I exercised and had alone time weekly. My loving husband would sometimes send me on a relaxing “mommy day out” .  And although I knew it wasn’t really enough, I thought it was all I could do, and since this is “only a season in my life”, I went along with it as the professional martyr I had learned to be.

Flylady helped me learn to take charge of my home and my life, and when I get disorganized all over again, I realize it’s time to get back to the basics I learned from her. They really do work, and I don’t know why I ever stop. It’s good to know that I know how to get on top of things again. But there is one part, one MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT that I always sort of glossed over, ignored, didn’t think applied to me, UNTIL NOW.

Finally Loving Yourself.

FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself.

Just like you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first during an emergency on an airplane so that you can then help others, you must take care of yourself first.

I MUST TAKE CARE OF MYSELF FIRST.

I didn’t really realize that I haven’t been. I mean, REALLY haven’t been. I have finally come to the end of my rope. I am empty. I need to be filled. I need some TLC. I need to make sure that I get what I need, and stop putting everyone else before me.

It is time. Finally.

Making time to exercise (regularly), not only because I “should”, not only because I want to change my body look or increase my strength, but because I want to feel good, I need to feel good, and I need to be ready to serve my Creator with all that He has given me stewardship over.

Making time to get alone (regularly) so that I can think, so that I can pray, so that I can just listen and BE. Not only so that I can “have a break” from my children, but so that I can be the mom and the wife I was created to be because I will not be consistently wound up so tightly that every moment I feel like I’m about to burst or snap or scream.

Making time to express myself, creatively. Writing here on FamilyNatural.com, because I love to do it, because I can help and teach people, using the gifts I’ve been given. Because I am not alone, and reaching out to others through sharing my experiences helps.

Making time to PLAY with my CHILDREN. I will learn to have fun with them and not either a) feel guilty because I’m not getting something done that needs doing or b)running away and hiding while they are occupied and I can “sneak” some alone time in. I will have fun with them because it will be scheduled and so will my alone time be scheduled and so I won’t feel like I’m giving something else up to do this.  By doing so, we will all enjoy each other more, and I won’t feel like it’s “me” and “them”, but more like it’s “us.”

Making time to learn something new, plant a garden, dance, sing, draw, and splash in the puddles.

I’m not sure what else it will be, but I am going to find out.

FINALLY loving myself. I am going to be exploring what that means, what that’s going to look like. Feel free to join me.

Finally.

The Movie That Reminded Me Why I Love To Blog

I watched a movie last night with my hubby.  You may have heard of it; it’s called Julie & Julia and it stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  I’d had it recommended to me several times, and found it offered at the library and…I’m SO glad I watched it.

And here’s why.

The movie is actually two stories in one.  How Julia Child became Julia Child” was really interesting to me; I really didn’t know very much about her and enjoyed seeing that even someone of her expertise wasn’t always an expert.  In fact, she didn’t even know what she wanted to do and went from one hobby to another before she pursued her passion.

The other story is about an average housewife; a regular homemaker who found herself frustrated and unfulfilled in her everyday life and wondering what she might be able to do to help herself find that spark, the passion she was missing.  She was a huge fan of Julia Child and loved to cook; her husband suggested that she start a blog about cooking. (She was also a writer though not working in that capacity).  So, she undertook a challenge-type project: to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in one year, blogging as she went.

The movie intertwines these stories and shows their parallels in a most delightfully entertaining way.

And now that I’ve promoted the movie, I’ll tell you why I really enjoyed it.

Both of these women, like me, “didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up.”  At least, that’s how I feel.  I know what I love to do, I know what I long for, but I don’t know how to put it all together and how it’s supposed to look in the end.  And in the meantime days, weeks, and months go by without my moving forward and working on the things for which I have a passion.

I really like blogging.  Part of that is because I love to teach, and have a passion for helping people learn about health.  I also am just like you; I struggle with changes and enjoy the feeling I get from knowing I’ve got friends out there learning and growing , just like I am.

Another side of it that I think really helps me more than it might help whoever is out there reading this is that I  really love to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  I’d say “I love to write”, but I’m not a writer and never aspired to be one.  However, I do indeed like to type it and send it “out there.”  For me.  Sure, I like to know that there’s someone out there who enjoys reading what I write.  But even if NOBODY reads my blog, I want to write it, because it helps me be a better me.  It’s an outlet for my creativity, a commitment to a project of which I can be proud.

So, what can I do to make the progress I like to make?  I’ve probably mentioned it in another post, but the main thing I need to do is to not be a perfectionist.  Just like Flylady says, perfectionism really does rob your life of joy.   If I have something I want to share, then I should do it even if I don’t have the time to do research and answer the questions I may pose.  And even if  my post doesn’t directly relate to health and wellness, I should not skip it.  I do not have the time to run more than one blog and so I’ve got to put it in this one or I won’t write it at all.

I look forward to doing this more often again.

What’s a passion/desire/hobby/goal of yours that you’ve been putting off/neglecting/shying away from that you can start (or re-start) now (or soon)?

What’s FamilyNatural All About, Anyway?

How Deep Is Your Deep End? Or, How Deep Is Mine?

My Dear Husband, who knows all about marketing but has graciously allowed me to do my own thing regarding this blog without sticking more than two cents in (unless I ask, of course-which I haven’t because I want to do this ALL BY MYSELF) asked me a question the other day about my blog. OK, it was a few questions. Simply complicated questions. They went something like this:

“Um…your tag line I really don’t think represents your blog. (I’ve changed my tag line since then) What is FamilyNatural? Who is it for? I mean, you post recipes including sugar, right? Are those things what you really want to promote? What about the BPA in the linings of the canned tomatoes that we use–you promote those in your recipe for tomato sauce, right?…”

Oohh, I started getting defensive. But then I realized that I really don’t have a post or an explanation about exactly what this blog is (and is not) for. So that is what I am going to share right now.

There are many great blogs and sites out there about health. The advice they give and experiences they share range anywhere from “Drinking water is better for you than drinking soda” (Shallow End) to “Don’t use soap when you shower because the toxins from the soap go into your body” (Deep End). Then there’s Off The Deep End. I can’t think of an example for that, but let’s just call it “Off The Deep End Crunchy” Crunchy, of course, meaning someone who lives a “natural” life. I know of a blog called SortaCrunchy. It’s a good blog, you can visit it. I’d say that name fits me pretty well, but as you can see, it’s taken.

Why mention the Deep End? Because I told my husband that Family Natural was for folks who want to raise a healthier family, more easily without going totally off the deep end “crunchy. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

That’s who I am. I’m in the middle, in my opinion. To some, I’m already in the deep end. It’s all about perspective. I won’t falsely portray myself as being completely and totally natural; we eat sugar (sometimes). We eat white bread (sometimes). Sometimes we drink soda&coffee. We love cheese, and chocolate….fahgetaboutit. (say this with an Italian accent for full effect)

I still use an anti-perspirant deoderant, though I know it’s quite toxic. These are examples of things that we could change, and probably will change eventually. The point is that what we do do for our health is more than most people out there, and I want to encourage others to make changes, positive changes.

Here are some positive facts about what we do (not in any particular order):

  1. I give birth at home
  2. I breastfeed my babies
  3. We don’t vaccinate our children
  4. We homeschool
  5. We limit our sugar/dessert intake to 1 or 2 days each week
  6. Same with dairy
  7. Same with meat
  8. We drink fresh whole fruit smoothies for breakfast almost every day
  9. We buy whole grain/whole wheat bread instead of white
  10. I grind wheat & make fresh bread as much as I can. Hopefully more in the future.
  11. We don’t have or watch television. Only purposefully selected DVD’s
  12. Same with computer games. Only educational games with time limits for the kids.
  13. We rarely use any OTC drugs of any kind.
  14. We don’t use antibiotics
  15. We get regular chiropractic adjustments
  16. We use cloth diapers instead of disposables

Now, that’s the “Natural” list. As far as the “Family” is concerned, I also like encouraging other Moms to join me as I figure out:

  1. Meal planning and preparing
  2. Keeping the Home
  3. Raising happy, responsible, obedient children who love to learn
  4. How to live Frugally
  5. Other “Family” topics I’m not thinking of right now
…..All with an attitude of joy

So, that’s who I am. What FamilyNatural is. I hope you’ll join me and we can encourage each other.

My Story

I graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in 1995, and from Life University School of Chiropractic with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in 1999. After practicing a few years in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, I met my husband-to-be, and six months later was married and living in Jerusalem, Israel. Fast forward seven years, and here I am. I have four rambunctious boys, ages 6,5,3,and 1. And baby GIRL #5 is due to join us soon, in August, 2009. Though I’m not actively practicing Chiropractic, I not only adjust my family and friends, but I still teach others the benefits of a natural and healthy lifestyle. Through this blog, I hope to be able to share the benefits of my knowledge and experience, as well as the challenges and adventures of day to day life with lots of “littles” around.