A good habit that has stuck! NaBloPoMo challenge day 5

Today’s challenge question…. Do you have any good habits that were hard to start but you’re happy you worked to build them?

My family went GMO free about a year and a half ago. Reading about what this country does to our food system makes my blood boil. For a few years, I would read about GMO’s and get mad. Read and get mad, read and get mad. I was walking around mad which wasn’t helping anybody, especially myself.

I had been searching for a solution to the GMO problem but it just seemed so overwhelming that I would just kind of give up. Three out of four of my children have food allergies so I felt like I had to make a choice, purchase products from the big companies who are excellent at labeling ingredients but use all GMO’s, or go with the smaller companies that are organic/GMO free and risk cross contamination and not so great labeling. (Legally companies only need to list ingredients that are IN the food you are eating. They do NOT have to label what else is made in the facility or on the equipment. When dealing with nut allergies and anaphylaxis, this is not optional.) I felt I had to make my purchases through the big companies and just eat the GMO’s. I did this for a long time.

About a year and a half ago I decided that I would choose one product at a time and do my research on it. I chose products that we use the most of first, like cereal and bread, figuring I could make the biggest impact there.

anti gmo

I spent a lot of time on the phone and on the internet and found out that eliminating GMO’s wasn’t going to be as difficult as I originally thought. I started with Kashi’s “non Gmo certified project verified cereals”. More info on that here. There are a few that are nut safe and non GMO that we use.

Bread was trickier. There aren’t a lot of bakeries that are nut safe. I did manage to find two that are organic (GMO free), nut safe, and most importantly, that my kids like.

Organic and GMO free is more expensive for sure! I have had to cut other expenses to make sure we can afford non GMO food and it is worth it.

Instead of walking around angry, I know that each and every purchase I make is making a statement. I am creating a demand for non GMO products and not providing funding towards the companies that use GMO’s and don’t label them. I have also dug a little deeper and have created a list (in my head) of companies that not only use GMO’s but also fund the campaign against GMO’s being listed on products. I will not buy anything from them either. You can find a good list here.

I am so happy I turned my anger into something positive. My youngest son who just turned 7 had the most positive allergy appointment he has ever had, just last month. I think there is a direct link to the choices we have made these past two years and his allergies. That is a different story for another day but I am so very grateful for working hard to build this good habit of ours :-).

We are far from perfect, nor are we 100% GMO free.  My kids still eat pizza and they have snacks that are not all GMO free.  I would say we are closer to 85% GMO free and that is SO much better than we were two years ago.  I hope more people will consider joining us with building this good habit and really cut out GMO’s and having your dollar matter.  🙂

 

*Image from shutterstock.com

That little negative voice in my head…. NaBloPoMo day 4

Daily challenge question: Have you ever tried to break a habit and failed? What made it so difficult to break?

This was a tough question to answer. It stumped me for a few days. I am usually pretty good about breaking habits. I have had some bad ones but have dumped them along the way. How is it that I can’t think of one bad habit I have had but failed? I am so far from perfect, why is this so difficult?

Then it struck me. I am far from perfect, that is what I said to myself over and over again. Then I started to listen to that little voice speaking to me. It never has anything good to say. NEVER. I consider myself a pretty self confident person. I am not all that thrilled with my appearance at the moment but over all I am happy and optimistic.

Then there is that voice. Right now it is telling me this blog post is stupid and makes no sense. It is also saying that I should be cleaning (my house is a mess). It is also telling me I have too much work to catch up on then to sit here and write. It also just reminded me of my laundry, and how I didn’t call my mom back, or visit my mother in law today like I planned. I also didn’t eat healthy enough today. According to this voice, I am a major failure.

Unfortunately I think this little voice begins for a lot of girls when they are relatively young. We are taught to hate ourselves, not sure how it happens but it does. I hear young girls all of the time stating how much they hate their hair, ears, nose, eye color, thighs, belly, height, weight, etc…. It is so wrong but so prevalent. I felt that way about myself for a very long time. Obviously that voice is still there so it is a hard habit to break.

Thank goodness I don’t listen to this voice very much. Or maybe I do listen too much and it is this voice that pushes me to constantly try and better myself.

I think this negative voice is the habit I can’t break. I am trying to incorporate meditation daily in my life. I am trying to quiet that voice and replace it with the positive. This past September I had the honor of attending a Hayhouse weekend seminar called “I Can Do It”, with Wayne Dyer as one of the headliners. It was amazing! Over and over I heard stories about being positive and attracting better things into your life. I have incorporated a lot of what I learned that weekend into my life and have a very long list of books to read that were recommended.

I do not put myself down in front of my children, never have. I am constantly explaining how believing in yourself is how to live. One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Whether-you-think-you
Now that I have really thought about this and put it in writing, I have a feeling that little negative voice will soon be a thing of my past.

My Worst Habit…..NaBloPoMo Challenge day 3

I am challenging myself to blog daily with NaBloPoMo’s prompts. Today’s prompt…

Tell us about your worst habit?

This is a question I have grappled with. At the moment I don’t feel I have any bad habits worth writing about. Which is kind of shocking and good.

From a very young age I dealt with lots and lots of abuse. Whether it be sexual, drugs, alcohol, verbal and violence I have had my fair share of them all. By the time I was in middle school I was so miserable with my life I wanted to end it. And I tried.

The good news is I got my act together by my junior/senior year of high school. Although I still enjoyed boozing it up with my buddies the rest of the stuff was a thing of the past. I don’t even like being in the same room with people who do drugs. I am one of the lucky ones.

By far my worst habit in all of my 44 years on this planet was smoking cigarettes. Man oh man I loved them for a very very long time. I started smoking as a teen and continued until the age of 29. I “practiced” quitting for at least a year before I actually did it. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I took the red eye home from Vegas and by the time I got home I had been awake for 24 hours. I was hung over and exhausted. The next two days were a sleepy, hazy blur. By the time I was actually feeling awake, I realized I had gone 72 hours without smoking. I went with it and never picked it up again.

butts

I am grateful every day that I got butts and so many other bad habits out of my life.

*Image credit from shutterstock.com

Keeping up with resolutions…..NaBloPoMo day 2

Today’s prompt:  Do you usually keep your resolutions? Tell us about a time when you were particularly successful.

 

In thinking about resolutions, it isn’t a once a year kind of thing for me.

Being a parent of school aged children, I feel like we are given the opportunity to have a few “new starts”. When school starts in September I always feel like I am starting new and fresh. Having the kids at school gives me a chance to think straight a little bit and get organized. I think a lot of parents start new fitness routines in September and kind of kick start their resolutions on a smaller scale. I do anyway.

It was a year ago this past September that I decided to make our family GMO free. I had also decided to take up taekwondo two years ago this past September.

Spring is another time where I feel like I check in with myself and see where I am at. In the spring we get a few more hours of daylight and the warmth makes me want to get outside and walk, ride my bike or take a hike.

Last year I made a fabulous resolution that I have kept to, and will make it my life rule.  I tend to have a bad book habit.  I purchase more books than I can read.  They pile up and become dust collectors. (embarrassed that I am attaching a real picture of my bedside table with those dust collectors) I love to read, but with four children, a small business to run, and a gazillion other things on my plate, I find that I only have 15-30 minutes to read each day before I drop off to sleep so I tend to take a long time to get through a book.  My resolution was: to not buy any new books until I had read the ones I own.  Once I had finished a book, I promised to either lend it somebody or donate it to the library.  I really stuck to that all of last year and have continued.

 

books!

 

From that picture it doesn’t look like I have given away many but I really made a dent in the pile this past year.  🙂

Keeping resolutions simple and true helps me to stick to them.  Checking in frequently also helps.

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Resolutions…. NaBloPoMo day 1

I have decided to take the NaBloPoMO blogging challenge of blogging daily for a month!  Feeling a little nervous!

Today’s prompt:  What are you New Year’s Resolutions for the new year?  Tell us how you chose them.

I have been on a path of change for a long time now.  I feel like life is like an onion and I just keep peeling back the layers.  Some make me cry and others I am fine with.

I am pretty aware of making better choices for myself year round but I love starting a new year fresh!  I love creating vision boards and fun little resolution crafts with the kids on New Years Eve.  This year we made little people (see image below) and put whatever resolutions came to mind on the shirt.  These little resolution people will hang in our living room all year and we (four kids and my husband) will check in with each other to make sure we are all on the right path.

resolution pic

My personal resolutions are to focus on being more present, meditate daily, play more games with my children, get back to juicing weekly, reduce clutter, cut out processed foods, get out of debt, blog more frequently and learn more about investing.

I have been taking baby steps towards bigger goals for about 10 years.  For example I cut out g.m.o.’s last year, switched to raw milk, and began juicing two years ago.  I cut out gluten in September and am prepared to cut out processed foods now.  I haven’t quite  yet defined what processed food is to me but am working on it.

Baby steps have always worked for me.  I like to practice giving something up just before I go cold turkey.  It’s funny because I feel like I am SO FAR away from my goals but when I actually stop and look how far I have come, I can see real progress.

It is only one day into 2015 and I am loving it already.  It is going to be my best year yet, I can feel it.

 

Writing From Prompts (NaBloPoMo Day 9)

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I’m having a really hard time with these December NaBloPoMo prompts. It’s not them; it’s me. It’s this time of year. It’s my life, this season, this topic- Joy.

I am trying. I’m trying to live. To be. Wife, mommy, boss, colleague, friend. Present. I’m trying to enjoy, while remembering; while missing. Constantly.
I’m trying not to cry when I hear Christmas music. Any music. To remember when it made me happy and go there instead. To dance and sing. To hug and smile. To write.

But, the majority of the December NaBloPoMo prompts just aren’t working for me. I’ll keep writing every day and I’ll try to publish my posts daily, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself when I either don’t find/take the time or (more often) just can’t bring myself to finish or share what I write.

-M ❤

Food=Happiness (NaBloPoMo Day 3)

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt: What food always makes you feel happy while you’re eating it?

As we established in yesterday’s post, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Even with the restrictions my food allergies put on my diet, there are SO many foods that make me happy! (I love food!) I could get all serious and say that having food at all makes me happy. While this is true, I’m just not in the mood. I can’t do that today. Let’s keep it light, shall we?

I love veggie pakoras from pretty much anywhere, Silly’s sweet potato fries and Lime Leaf’s pad Thai. Even the smell of pizza makes me happy, though I haven’t been able to eat real pizza for years. I’m like a crack addict with sugar, but I’m also picky. I’m sort of awesome at baking, so I have high standards for sweets. My brownies make me happy- even more so when other people are eating and loving them.❤

The food that makes me happiest, though, is definitely Oleana’s falafel. I have been known to eat my own double order and then finish any leftovers from my fellow diners. It’s not just the flavor that contributes to my happiness (though it’s out of this world.) When I’m eating this falafel, I’m with my husband- either out with the kids or with good friends. Maybe celebrating, maybe out just for fun- but really enjoying the great company, in a great town, in a fantastic restaurant. It just doesn’t get any better.

My favorite! Falafel at Oleana in Cambridge.

My favorite! Falafel at Oleana in Cambridge.

So Often, It’s the Little Things (NaBloPoMo, Day 2)

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: Talk about a surprise that made you happy.

I tend to lean towards happiness, in general. I just feel like it takes more energy to be unhappy, so it doesn’t take a lot to make me smile and I don’t need grand gestures to feel loved. (But grand gestures are always fun and welcome!)

One afternoon last spring, while I was on the phone (with my Dad?) my son quietly got my attention by showing me a note or a small drawing he was working on. I had just seen him zooming around the house, so I remember being slightly puzzled. He had a little sparkle in his eye and I could see he wanted my attention, so I followed- at some point, getting off the phone. It turned out that he had arranged a series of post-it notes around the house, each one hinting at the next in true scavenger hunt style. The exciting (read “very quick”) hunt around the house ended with a beautiful little love note, written inside a pen-drawn heart, which he had hung from the ceiling using a piece of pink ribbon, by standing on my bed. It was the sweetest surprise and his little sister copies his adorable idea from time to time. Not yet fully understanding the way one hint should lead to the next, her post-its usually just list the next location and don’t end with anything hanging from the ceiling, but it always brings back the burst of love and happiness I felt when her big brother surprised me. So often, it’s the littlest things that bring the most joy. ❤

Finding Joy When It Doesn’t Feel Easy

So, I’ve decided to take BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo challenge for December and post every day. The theme this month is joy- fitting for the season, right? It just so happens that it is the word I have chosen as my mantra these last few months, in hopes of more than just getting through.

This used to be my favorite time of year. This year, it is (as you might expect) very hard. Kicking off my holiday shopping at a fundraiser a friend’s store was having for our school, I found myself wiping tears away so I could see the toys and games. Shopping for the girls and seeing things Josh would have wanted was incredibly painful.
Having Thanksgiving with family, a little extra space at the table, was pretty awful. Hearing holiday music and seeing festive lights on the drive home was even worse.

Here, in this bright and cheerful season, my heart is struggling to feel the joy that usually comes so easily. I find myself cringing when the neighbors switch on their lights and my body tenses when I hear my favorite Christmas songs. It seems impossible to celebrate anything without the boy who brought us so much joy.

And then I hear his sisters laughing. There can be joy with pain. And pain with joy, I guess. This is our journey…

Where do you find joy?