Tag Archives: lifestyle

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

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.

A Day in the Life of … and the Art of Saying “No”

I’m sitting at the computer with droopy eyes, listening to my 5-month-old son’s oohs and grunts while Daddy rocks him back to sleep. It’s been a great day, but I’m tired! With each passing week, I’m getting more of a handle on being a Mom and juggling my new responsibilities. The biggest adjustment has had to take place in my mind … not thinking I can do all the things that I used to do! (That “Wonder Woman” syndrome keeps making appearances in my life – ugh!)

But, I’m happy to report … I have accomplished several of the things on my “To Enjoy List”:

#1 – Working on Ethan’s baby quilt (and other miscellaneous projects)  on Tuesdays with a friend during our quilting/sewing day

This is Tuesday … my friend came over from Guaymas … we sewed! (though not on the baby quilt, I did work on a couple of those miscellaneous projects)

#11 – Finishing Ted Dekker’s Circle Series by reading “Green”

Read the last page last night and I was looking around today for what to read next. It’s an awesome book!

#10 – Blogging at least once a week

I’m doing it right now!

But the most exciting one is … #4 – Using Baby Sign Language to communicate with Ethan (hoping that he signs back!)

Tonight just before bedtime, M. was playing with Ethan on the bed and I went in to the room to feed him. M. signed “milk” and asked Ethan if he wanted some milk. We both caught sight of his little hand opening and closing (we think). So exciting! He’s starting to imitate our signs!

As I read over my list again from last post, it seems overwhelming to think that I’ll accomplish all 21 items, considering that my typical day includes the mundane, such as:

  • a round the clock two-hour cycle of feeding (during which I sneak in my reading) and diapering Ethan
  • rocking/nursing him to sleep 3-4 times daily for his 30-40 minute naps
  • washing a load of cloth diapers (and our clothes, too!)
  • folding and putting away those diapers and clothes
  • buying groceries once or twice a week
  • preparing 2-3 meals (sometimes M. makes breakfast or lunch for us)
  • eating those meals (yum, yum!)
  • washing the dishes by hand
  • tidying and cleaning the house (no more weekly maid … sniff, sniff)
  • taking a shower (most days)
  • a morning run three times a week, and usually an afternoon walk with Ethan and our dog, Dude

So, with all the “everyday stuff” that’s needs to get done, I’ve been learning to expect less from myself or come up with compromises for the social activities that used to be a regular part of our lives. It’s not just 2-year-olds that are good at saying “no” – mommies have to learn the art of saying “no” when appropriate. It sure makes my day a lot smoother!

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To Enjoy List

During my morning run in the beautiful sunshine under bright blue skies with brush-stroked clouds, I was thinking of all the things I’m looking forward to this winter and spring. As I mentioned yesterday, we plan to head to the U.S. for a three month summer road trip in July. Before we go, there are things I’d like to accomplish. And there are people I’d like to spend time with. I’m even hoping to blog about it all!
So, here’s a list of 21 things I’d like to spend time, well, enjoying:
  1. Working on Ethan’s baby quilt (and other miscellaneous projects)  on Tuesdays with a friend during our quilting/sewing day
  2. Sailing on the weekends with my hubby and son (we often invite friends, too)
  3. Running 2-3 mornings a week to train for a half marathon in March and possibly a full marathon this summer
  4. Using Baby Sign Language to communicate with Ethan (hoping that he signs back!)
  5. Directing the Easter Cantata for our church (including 8-10 weekly rehearsals)
  6. Creating an enjoyable home environment (cooking, cleaning, laundry … the regular stuff)
  7. Participating in our church’s six-week journey called, “Hearing from God,” including a weekly devotional and one meal fast (part of the “Touch San Carlos” ministry expansion campaign)
  8. Walking most afternoons with baby in a carrier and dog in tow to get some Vitamin D (which, apparently, you don’t actually get from the sun)
  9. Creating a shutterfly photobook or two to catch up to this year (my version of a photo album)
  10. Blogging at least once a week
  11. Finishing Ted Dekker’s Circle Series by reading “Green” (already on p. 170 out of 392 pages – I read “Black”, “Red” and “White” a few years ago and didn’t know he published a fourth book until eyeing it on a friend’s bookshelf last October! Just looked it up … originally was only a trilogy – behold, Book Zero?!)
  12. Leading worship at church during two weekends (to give our regular worship leaders a break)
  13. Compiling some original recipes on my blog
  14. Making all of Ethan’s baby food, including as much raw food as possible (if you think babies can best digest cooked foods, the raw food world offers another viewpoint)
  15. Completing six months of solely breastfeeding my currently almost 5-month-old baby before starting him on solids (Based on lots of research, it’s supposed to be much better for his health. I sure hope it’s true, because this has been a huge commitment. Not to mention that he doesn’t take a bottle, so it’s just me and him!)
  16. Cooking/making almost all our meals to save money and eat healthier (we have committed to not eat desserts, too – though we sneak in an occasional “undessert” like a banana with PB, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and agave)
  17. Riding my awesome road bike (a gift from hubby!) once a week after a 10-month hiatus due to being pregnant and giving birth
  18. Investing in my son’s life daily through playtime, prayertime, cuddles, and clean diapers (we use cloth, too!)
  19. Investing in my marriage daily through playtime, prayertime, cuddles, and clean clothes (we’ve grown out of our diapers, thankfully!)
  20. Investing in my friendships through walks, phone calls, emails, facebook, lunch dates, and smiles
  21. Sharing God’s love with my neighbors by living a godly life and looking for opportunities to minister to other

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Sailing, Travel

Wonder Woman … or The Invisible Woman?!

As I washed the dinner dishes this evening and scraped up the ebelskiver batter drippings off the stovetop, I was thinking of all the things I am looking forward to and involved in this “season”. (Having been a school teacher and private piano/flute teacher for 15 years, I still think in terms of the American school year when planning and looking back on life events.) We are hoping to travel again this summer from July through September – the hottest months here in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. That means 5 1/2 more months to enjoy the rest of winter and spring, before heading out.

I also realized that it’s been awhile since I last blogged. Actually, it’s been two months and three weeks! Which makes me “The Invisible Woman”! (Do you remember the H.G. Wells book, “The Invisible Man”?)

Yikes! Does being a new mom of only one child really take up THAT much time?! I don’t know how working moms (big shout out to single moms, especially) maintain their sanity. It seems like you really do have to be  “Wonder Woman”!

Life with cool superhero powers could be …

Getting the laundry washed, folded and put away by wiggling my nose (I guess that was technically a witch, not a superhero) … and … Making lunch and dinner while baby sleeps peacefully and having it on the table by noon and five every day, ready for hubby when he walks in the door, by being able to move as fast as lightning … and … Keeping my son from crying in his carseat while driving by being able to entertain him with my elastic arms (think, Mrs. Incredible) … and … Transforming from dowdy homemaker to sexy housewife after completing my morning exercise in record time (oh wait, that’s called having a personal hair stylist and make-up artist!).

Turns out, I’m no Wonder Woman! (But I did make matching Wonder Woman T-shirts for a friend and myself when we went to Tennessee in 2010 to run the Nashville marathon. Does that count?)

 I still have a list of things I’d like to accomplish – or at least enjoy – before summer gets here. Perhaps I’ll even be able to blog about all of them … many of them … well, some of them, at least!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico