Category Archives: Living in Mexico

True Love

He loves me,

He loves me not;

He loves me,

He loves me not …

Well, maybe it worked as a young schoolgirl, but I don’t think this is a very accurate way to determine someone’s love!

So, how do you know when someone really does love you?

(And if you love them?)

I’ve been reading through Philip Yancey’s book, Disappointment With God, over the last couple months. When I came across the following quote, it stirred up a lot of emotions and got me thinking about my current marriage – and how it is vastly different from my past marriage. Here’s the quote from page 122:

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

Sacrifice.

To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.

Free Dictionary

It’s a word that has a lot of negativity connected to it. And yet, is the “giving up” always difficult, or is the love that prompts us so much stronger than the sacrifice that it doesn’t feel like anything has been lost?

Looking Back

Originally, our top 5 reasons for moving to Mexico were:

5. To give our kids an overseas experience (and have our own, too!)

4. To get out of the “Rat Race” (which leads to #3)

3. To be able to live off less money than we earn (which leads to #2)

2. To buy a sailboat and learn how to sail (which leads to #1)

1. To travel and recreate our lives!

We have certainly traveled a lot with our 39′ sailboat and 37′ motorhome. Summer trips, sailing adventures, and lots of flights to see family during the holidays have filled our vacation time. We have also enjoyed the slower paced life here (#4 above).

Our Family

But, we had to re-evaluate our priorities after having kids. Realistically, the impact that #5 will have on our ability to see family, especially the grandparents, over the next 18 years of our precious children’s lives, has prompted us to make some BIG changes.

This past June, we decided to move from Mexico up to Flagstaff, AZ. We want to provide our kids with a stable and familiar place to call home. And we want to be able to afford the time and money needed to visit with family. But to do that, we had to consider our financial situation. So, here’s the big question:

How affordable is it to own and maintain a sailboat, RV, and a home?

Well, if you’re a millionaire, it’s probably just fine! But for us normal folk … it’s just not realistic. While discussing this reality a few months ago, I asked my husband which one he would prefer to not have.

And without a thought, he said,

“We’re selling the sailboat.”

He’s sacrificing the dream that led us to Mexico, but he’s replacing it with the greater dream of having a family – OUR FAMILY. (Even now, I’m moved to tears by his love for me and our kids.) I told him I appreciated his sacrifice, but he simply turned it around and acknowledged how much I sacrificed to move here by giving up my booming business and the wonderful life I had in Colorado.

His love is so real to me. Every day I see him working hard to provide for us, spending time loving on our son, giving me hugs and kisses all the time, and telling me how beautiful I am. Washing the cars, taking out the trash, folding the laundry, and the list goes on.

Is it a sacrifice, or is it simply allowing previous dreams to be exchanged for what is “considered to be of greater value”?

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S., Travel

Get Organized!

Yep, I finally did it! After over a year of having the luxury of a maid clean my house (usually once a week), I decided to jump back into the cleaning arena.

I’ve been keeping busy with taking care of Ethan, directing the Christmas and Easter choirs and helping lead worship at church, and the typical household chores. But I really let the house cleaning fall to the capable hands of our maid.

Well, with baby #2 on the way and other bills/debts taking priority, we decided to cut back to having our maid come every other week. But I didn’t really change my routine. Oh, I still got the dishes washed and clean clothes put away, but the dust would pile up and the floors got pretty dirty (not to mention the toilets and, well, everything else!)

So, last week, I finally started getting organized!

Lists and Charts

I’ve had lists and charts for years – chores, menu planning, groceries, to-do’s – but I needed to get motivated again.

My hubby has offered numerous times to help out more around the house, if only I would let him know what he could do on a more consistent basis. He already would jump in and tidy the house, make the bed, put Ethan to bed and change diapers (often!) … but he wanted to do more!

(I know, I’m the envy of all you women reading this post!)

Also, we want to teach our kids that every family member is expected to contribute to our family goals. And one of our goals is an efficiently run household.

So, what was I waiting for?!

I spent less than an hour surfing the web and pulled up a few chore charts. (Then I remembered that I actually had some of my own from several years ago.) I combined the ideas of both and … I created a new Chore Chart!

Getting Motivated

It seems silly, but putting a check in that little box totally motivates me!

Consequently, the house was picked up and clean every day, lunches and dinners were served on time, AND I got a lot of work done for both of my blogs.

What a relief!

Now, I’m happily charging through my weekly and monthly chores, feeling so accomplished.

Like I said …

maybe it’s silly, but it works!

And I’d love to share my charts and lists with you (which also can be edited), so click on the links below to download your copy for FREE!

Chore Chart

Grocery List

Menu Planner

I’d like to know what helps you stay motivated. Will you write a comment below? (It’s nice to know someone actually reads my posts!)

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Filed under Crafts & Kitchen, Life Journal, Living in Mexico

Keeping up with the Joneses

When you live in southern California – namely, Orange County – it’s REALLY hard not to want what it seems everyone else has. Especially when you can’t afford it! I’ll be honest, here’s what I wanted as a young married person (the 1st time around, that is):

  • Nicer cars
  • Nicer clothes
  • Nicer furniture
  • Better vacations
  • Kids and family experiences
  • Buying a house instead of renting

And to top it off, renting included being able to check the traffic by looking out the dining room window of our 1 bedroom apartment to see how packed the freeway was! I was SO ready to move somewhere more affordable and less affluent so I could feel like I fit in.

Hello, Colorado! When my ex and I moved, we rented a 3 BD, 2 BA house with a huge yard for less than that apartment in CA. But, Colorado Springs was still bussling with plenty of Coach bags, high heels and fancy cars, know what I mean?

And then, life happened.

I got divorced, met my sweet husband and we moved to Mexico to start a new life together. Ironically, he also had lived in southern CA with his ex-wife. He did make a good income and had a few nice houses and a fancy sports car. But none of it was very fulfilling because, in the end, his marriage was on the rocks just like mine was.

Well, we’ve had a much simpler life here in San Carlos for the last couple years. Most days I wear shorts and a tank top and sport a pony tail. And no make-up (gasp!). High heels? Maybe on Sundays for church, or if we go out on a date. But for the most part, I’m at home being a Mom, enjoying the basics.

Of course, life happened again and with baby #2 on the way, we decided to move back to the U.S.

But I’m nervous about one thing …

falling back into a lifestyle of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

I must be on a movie kick these days, because I keep thinking of how our lives and choices are often reflected in various movies (read my last post “The Importance of Being Earnest” – another great movie!). Anyway, The Joneses (2009), with Demi Moore and David Duchovny portrayed a family that wasn’t really a family. They were business people pretending to be a family in order to make BIG BUCKS!

That movie was a great reminder that trying to keep up with your neighbors and what the media wants you to think you need is really not what’s important in life. And as we head back to life in the U.S., I want to be fully aware of what my priorities are.

Let’s face it …

we all place value on relationships, things, and experiences.

What I’m willing to spend on a cup of coffee, or a movie, or a pair of running shoes, or the latest cell phone, or a computer, or a car, or a house, or a (fill in the blank) may not be the same as my neighbor. But I need to know what I value, and not feel bad about spending money or not spending money the way other people do (or don’t).

Of course, I’ll be honest, I do want to own a home and enjoy eating at nice restaurants, wear nicer clothes (sometimes) and look beautiful. I want to be able to use my Coach bag (yep, got one from hubby as a birthday gift!) and hang with other Mom’s and talk about our kids (all the while, checking out each other’s trendy outfits, right?!)

But, I don’t want those things to consume me. That’s the difference!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Lady Bracknell: “My nephew, you seem to be displaying signs of triviality.”

Jack: “On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

If you haven’t seen this Oscar Wilde play-turned-movie, rent it for your next movie night at home and be prepared for some laughs! This comedy is set in 1890s London. Two friends use the same pseudonym (“Ernest”) for their on-the-sly activities, which result in confusion and the possibility of losing the women they worked so hard to win over. Ultimately, they both understand the need for earnestness (honesty).

New Beginnings

Another beautiful sailing day in San Carlos

A few days ago, I was thinking of the earnestness these protagonists came to value while thinking about our life here in Mexico. We originally came in 2010 with the intention of rebuilding our lives together after both having gone through divorces. We wanted to have a new beginning and start our own family. We also wanted to escape the “rat race” living of the U.S. and be able to travel.

Before we met in 2009, my husband, M., had the desire to buy a sailboat and live a cruisers life. He hoped to eventually travel down the west coast of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, up the east coast of Mexico, enjoy the Caribbean, then perhaps even sail to Europe.  Most importantly, he wanted to do it all with a woman that loves adventure and also wanted a family.

After much research, he found that there were many benefits to moving to San Carlos, such as a lower cost of living and a huge sailing community of North Americans. Since M. works by phone and internet, he can virtually work anywhere. So, San Carlos was the next stop for him. The first time we met, he talked about his idea. As you know, I jumped on board and after over a year of dating, we made the move to Mexico and got married.

Now, after two years, we have a fantastic marriage, a little tyke of one year, and another baby on the way (due March 2013)! We have a 39′ sailboat, a 37′ motorhome, and many wonderful traveling experiences. We’ve enjoyed building friendships with people from all over the world.

Family Time vs. Travel Time

We’ve had relatives and friends visit us in Mexico, and have spent many hours driving/bussing/flying to visit them in the U.S. Here’s a typical vacation:

  • Drive seven hours to Tucson (or an additional two hours to Phoenix), AZ
  • Spend the night at a hotel
  • Fly to Spokane, WA or Dallas, TX or southern CA
  • Enjoy several days with family or friends
  • Fly back to Tucson (or Phoenix)
  • Spend the night at a hotel
  • Drive around like maniacs and spend A LOT of money shopping for everything we can’t get in Mexico, from clothes to household items to food
  • Spend another night at a hotel
  • Drive seven (or nine) hours back to San Carlos
  • Fall into bed exhausted
  • Wake up to a house full of purchases that need a home in our home

Essentially, every vacation turns into four travel days, one shopping day, and however many more days M. can afford to not work in order to actually be with the people we are traveling to see. Most of M.’s family lives in Spokane, WA and my parents live in Dallas, TX. The rest of our family and friends are in southern CA and Colorado Springs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a trip up to Spokane this summer as originally planned, so M.’s Mom will not see her grandson until Christmas, which will be an entire year from last time. Thankfully, my family has been able to travel to see us several times in the last couple years, both in Mexico and the U.S. this summer (July 2012), but we likely won’t see them for another year until next summer.

Camping with my family in Flagstaff, AZ

We’ve been feeling an aching in our hearts that’s been growing stronger since the birth of our son. And we’ve had to be honest with ourselves about who and what is really important in our lives. We want our kids to grow up knowing their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. We want them to experience family gatherings, especially during the holidays. We want them to have other kids to play with regularly. We want them to have opportunities in the future for education that are not available here.

So, we’ve been rethinking our lives in Mexico and we’ve decided to make a move. Literally. We are moving back to the U.S. next summer and once again redreaming our lives!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to Mexico, Travel

The “C-” word … is it really so bad?

Is it bad? No, it’s not. But we often forget it’s an option!

Do you ever have an argument with someone and think,  “I have to prove my point!” Do you ever make plans and get really disappointed when they don’t pan out? Do you ever set expectations for yourself, only to realize days or months later that they were completely unrealistic?

Why not try thinking, “Let’s make this a win-win conversation”? Or instead of getting disappointed, get creative and work with what you have to make new plans. And by all means, forgive yourself for being unrealistic and set out to establish some good … here it comes … compromises!

Yes, that’s the “C-” word that isn’t so ugly when it’s used well.

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Just hangin’ around at Chocola Tree Restaurant in Sedona, AZ

I can’t believe I wrote the above beginning of a post almost two months ago! And I’m finally getting around to finishing. Well, there you have it. My compromise to having a 1-year-old has been not blogging for the last eight months. But I’m OK with that.

There are several definitions for compromise, of course. The one I’ve been thinking of the past few months has been:

“something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things”

I know “compromise” can have a negative connotation, but in thinking about the choices I’ve made and the choices we’ve made as a family in the last six months, I certainly don’t see our compromises as negative! They’ve certainly made our lives a lot easier and home life more enjoyable. Things like:

  • staying home for dinner or only going out as a family (the afternoon hours were unpredicatable and we sometimes had to leave abruptly if E got too fussy, so hanging out with friends in the evenings was not enjoyable)
  • using disposable diapers (I’m a cloth diaper fan, but E’s little butt was getting rashes constantly from the heat and humidity here. Once the weather cools, I’ll switch back!)
  • starting formula at six months old (a die-hard breastfeeding fan, I finally got converted after months of having a crying baby that breastfed every 1 1/2 – 2 hrs and still wouldn’t sleep! After gulping down his first bottle, we realized it was because he was hungry all the time and my supply just wasn’t cutting it!)
  • cutting down our social activities (do I really have to explain this one? lack of sleep = lack of energy, and baby gets all our energy and time right now, so social activities just aren’t a priority anymore)
  • cutting down on outside commitments (see above … church involvement had to take a back seat to baby. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to not direct our Christmas Cantata last year with a 4-month-old in tow. That was not a great choice, as I had an emotional breakdown a few months later, while getting ready for the Easter Cantata! Thankfully, I did cut out leading worship, but that wasn’t quite enough. Live and learn!)
  • not blogging or Facebooking (there just aren’t enough hours in the day for housework, taking care of a baby, putting time into a marriage, and keeping up with social media – so, the latter had to go)

With all these compromises, we’ve been able to focus on our family and ourselves. I’ve been enjoying exercising fairly consistently since E was about 2 months old. We’ve still been sailing on many weekends and we’ve also had several visitors – my parents, M’s Mom, and M’s friends from southern California. We visited M’s Mom in Spokane, WA, over Christmas. In May, we went to my 20-year high school reunion in Tennessee (which I planned with a friend). And we took our RV up to Flagstaff, AZ, for the month of July and stayed at a campground. We’ve definitely been keeping busy, so compromises have been a must.

KOA Campground, Flagstaff, AZ

Life has many seasons. Remember when summer seemed endless as a child? Playing in the yard and swimming finally gave way to school starting. Then along came zits, cliques, and lots of homework! Not to mention, dating! Many tears and laughs later, graduation completed one era of schooling. Then, it was off to college, new friends, jobs, cars, and parties – and unchaperoned ones, at that! A few years whiz by and all the sudden you’re staring into the eyes of your spouse. What happened? Young love! Responsibilities call and you’re racing off to your “real” job, paying bills, finding other young couples to hang out with, and creating a home.

KOA Campground, Flagstaff, AZ

Now, we’re in the middle of diapers, bottles and toys. This is our season, and we love it. In fact, we love it so much that we’re gearing up for another baby! Yep, you read that right. We’re pregnant with Baby #2 – due on March 14th, 2013!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico