I Quit!! (or rather We Quit!!)

August 25th, 2015 § 2

i-quit

We quit! Yep, my family  just keeps quitting. Quitting has really gotten a bad rap over the years. Of course, we’ve always been told that we should stick with people, places and things, even if we don’t like it! A winner never quits, right? We’ve been taught that quitting is bad and staying and sticking with everything we try is good (and safe), even if it feels bad to us.

 

quit for happiness

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you are sticking with something? Especially if you don’t enjoy doing it. . . or owning it or. . . being with it? Why do we continue to live lives that don’t really serve us? Why do we stick with things and people that we don’t really enjoy? Is it because it feels comfortable? That we think we should? That someone will be disappointed if we don’t? Or is it that we delude ourselves into thinking it’s the safest? These are the questions my family has been asking for the last several years. One thing we are discovering is that life is short. And happiness and enjoyment are our top priorities.

 

So what have we said NO to? What areas of life have we called quits on? Read on. . .

 

quit school

We Quit School!

9 years ago my husband and I quit sending our kids to school. A year after that, we quit trying to “teach” our kids and let them follow their interests, with our help and encouragement of course. And you know what? They know how to read, write, do math and are pretty darned good citizens of the world. The’ve learned HOW to learn – learn anything they like. And they’ve kept their thirst for learning intact by learning what they’re ready for when they are ready.  Not only that, they KNOW themselves. They know what they like, they know what they don’t like and they know how to quit when something doesn’t serve them.

 

food pyramidWe Quit Eating what the Government Suggests!

We know our bodies better than anyone! And everyone is not the same. We cut out sugar and most grains and started feeling better and healthier. We stopped buying most processed foods and try to buy local when we can. Farm fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast every morning is so delicious!! And healthy, I might add.

 

 

I quit boss

My Husband Quit his Corporate Job

My husband has a passion (and wonderful gift) for technology. He was a technology director for a major corporation making six-figures, but he didn’t feel fulfilled or get to work in the areas he really enjoys. So he quit his corporate job a year ago and is pursuing his passion for working with Mac products and servicing small businesses who use them. He loves what he does now and gets to work from home and be his own boss! A lot of the work he does can be done from anywhere. We’re looking at other avenues for making money where-ever we are. This took a huge leap of faith on both of our parts, giving up a secure salary for uncertainty. So far, the net has been waiting for us every time we jump into the unknown. We couldn’t be happier with the decision to work for ourselves.

 

health insuranceWe Quit Health Insurance

This was kind of a byproduct of quitting the job, but when we looked into private insurance which would have cost us over $1,000 a month we elected to go without. We try to keep a cash fund for medical emergencies (put the $1,000 we would have spent on insurance into savings) and we take VERY good care of ourselves. We don’t run to the doctor for every little thing. We pay cash to doctors that we like and who promote wellness (of course these types of doctors don’t even take insurance) We’ve had one emergency room incident since not having insurance and were surprised that cash paying customers get DEEP discounts. Didn’t even phase us to pay the bill! We may elect to get a catastrophic policy sometime in the future but that’s as far as willing to go when it comes to health insurance. Changing our lifestyle has made us FEEL so much healthier and health begets health. A happy day plus nutritious food really makes for a healthy body. Plus, we put the focus on being healthy and luckily so far we have been.

 

home saleWe Quit Paying a Mortgage

After 16 years of home ownership we sold our 2,500 square foot home. And we ditched the realtor and did it ourselves, saving us $8,000. Selling your own home is so simple and my husband will be contributing a “how to” post in the near future on how to sell your home “by Owner” and even how to get on MLS without a realtor. Home ownership was great while it lasted but we’re ready for some adventures that require us to be tied down with less “stuff”, so this made total sense to us. It’s been a week since we handed over the keys and we haven’t looked back! Plus, with the equity we received, we have a very secure nest egg in place.

 

Im a quitterWe’ve quit other things too. Like:

  • * Trying to live the “safest” way
    * Living for what others think we should do
    * Caring what other people think
    * Doing what we’re “told” is best

 

 

There is so much uncertainty in this lifestyle, but if you get down to it, nothing in life is ever certain, including a six figure income. We decided that life was too short to do a lot of things that didn’t bring us joy. Do we ever have to do things we don’t want to do? Of course! That goes without saying. But we’ve minimized those things and we focus on living lives that are inspiring and uplifting and that make a difference on the planet.

We are currently living in the question of where we want to be next. For the moment (or the next two months) we are renting a house on the beach and enjoying every minute of it. Yes. We’re working here. But it’s work we enjoy. And we’re playing and laughing and enjoying life a lot. We don’t know how long we’ll stay here or where we’ll go next, but we do know that in this moment . . .in this most precious moment which is Now. . .All is well. And for us, that means EVERYTHING.

 

 

 

Living in the Question – Taking our Freedom Back One Step at a Time

August 23rd, 2015 § 0

question

Many years ago (nine to be exact), my family started questioning the norms of life. It started with schooling and compulsory education. Our oldest boy, Cameron, was in first grade and our younger son, Caleb, was getting ready to start kindergarten, but already attending a four day a week preschool. I was missing them. Cameron was having trouble in school. He hated it really. Bullies, Boredom and Bad Lunches. So, long story short, (if you want the long version of our school drop out phase read the whisper link) I heard a little whisper that said, take them out of school and keep them at home. I did. That was the beginning of freedom for our family.

As we began our homeschool journey we slowly started questioning everything else: Food, Religion, How Human beings Learn, Spirituality, Work, Home ownership and everything in between. We began to ask ourselves, “Why do we do the things we do?”

We discovered that most of what we were doing was because we were conditioned to do it…send kids to school, work jobs we didn’t like, buy the nice house, etc. The things we did weren’t really things we WANTED, they were what we were SUPPOSE to do. And we did, for many years.

This questioning opened up the world for us. And this new category on my blog (Stepping Into Freedom) will describe our journey and where it has led us. And you will walk with us as we decide what comes next. Because we don’t know. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

If you’d asked me ten years ago where I would be….I would have never in a million years guessed that we would be “homeless” living in a rented beach house indefinitely and figuring out what we want to do next. You see, we just sold our home of sixteen years and are currently staying at the beach in hopes of figuring out what comes next.

Beach House 5 Star

Do we want sell everything and travel the world? Should my husband try to keep building his business which would require us to move back to our hometown of 16 years? Should we live at the beach? Should we buy a “tiny” (or maybe not so tiny since there’s four of us) house? We’re living in the question of life and are ready for anything. Won’t you come along with us?

Tomorrow I will share what led us to our state of “homelessness” and why we are now living at the beach. A deluxe beach house, I might add that we managed to manifest out of shear intention. Hope to see you tomorrow! In the meantime, I’ll be sitting in my new office on the beach.

2015-08-22 18.29.03

Minecraft – Learning The 3 R’s

October 16th, 2014 § 0

minecraft2 minecraft4

 

The first full version of Minecraft was released in November 2011 and since then has taken the world by storm. In less than three years, this game has grown by leaps and bounds. Currently, Minecraft has upwards of fifty million users and is growing at a rate of about 17, 000 new ones every day. Chances are, if you have a child, he’s been exposed to Minecraft.

Despite the popularity of the game, many parents express concern over the amount of time and energy their children spend on Minecraft. Much like the parents of old, who were appalled at the youthful fascination with Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Rock and Roll, they are resisting the hold that Minecraft has on their kids, to no avail. Minecraft is changing the way kids interact in the world, how they learn and how they communicate. Minecraft is a springboard for a change that wants to happen. Like a tidal wave, there’s no holding it back.

With that in mind, perhaps we can investigate what the attraction is and how Minecraft might actually be the tool that your child needs to learn and grow in these ever changing times.

Many of us are so concerned with our child “learning” something that we lose sight of what they already know and are building upon through play. I have observed my own children and countless other children (myself included) as they play Minecraft and have come to the conclusion that the spectrum of learning opportunities is vast. Let’s start with the basics – the 3 R’s, something we all want our children to be proficient in.

If you ask a kid whether they would rather play Minecraft or study in their reading, writing or math book, what do you think the answer would be?

I think we all know what the answer would be. And maybe they are onto something.

READING

I’ve watched my two boys excel at reading playing Minecraft. How can this be?

It’s simple. They’ve found a useful reason to learn to read or to extend their reading skills. It makes sense to them. The motivation to read emanates from their desire to advance in the game.

Websites like WikiHow and various blogs possess valuable information on how to build structures, make tools, set up servers, fight monsters and more. If reading words is the only thing standing in the way of a child getting that information, he will learn to read and do it quickly, perhaps with a little help from Mom or Dad.

The multiplayer worlds are a huge part of the Minecraft experience. On multiplayer servers kids communicate, often through chats. In order to keep in the conversation, they must know how to read. Again, they are motivated. There’s no forcing or coercing to read. They just do it.

As a result of playing Minecraft, my sons have gotten interested in a variety of topics such as biomes, survival, primitive tools and gemstones. We’ve made many trips to the library to find books on these topics. With the reading skills they’ve gleaned playing Minecraft, they are super readers and inspired to read books about the real things in life that correspond with their game.

WRITING

My boys never liked journaling or prompted writing. I tried it with them. They weren’t having any part of it. But Minecraft has awakened their inner artists, inspiring them to draw pictures and write stories about their experiences in Minecraft. . They’ve used online animation programs to create Minecraft stories and shared them with online communities. Spelling has improved immensely because they want to express themselves so that their stories are understood. As time has passed and confidence in their writing skills has increased, they aren’t as resistant to writing anymore. Their writing skills have flowed into all aspects of writing including using email, Facebook , writing letters and making homemade books.

Multiplayer servers rely heavily on the chat section. And believe me, the kids want to communicate. Their writing skills improve on these chat sessions because they have the desire to be heard and to express themselves. The way they do that is through the written word. Minecraft provides lots of practice and practice, as they say, makes perfect.

MATH

One of the greatest adventures in Minecraft is building. In order to build elaborate cities and structures, you can’t help but be exposed to math concepts. I’ve witnessed kids figuring out how many blocks it would take to build a massive building, doubling, tripling and even quadrupling that number in their heads and going on to build a visually pleasing, symmetrical building. I’ve never used flash cards with my youngest but the other day he found a set of multiplication cards and asked me to call them out to him. He got every one of them correct – without ever doing worksheets or working from a textbook. He’s built so many things in Minecraft that he’s taught himself.

I’ve seen kids figure out how many minutes they have until “night time”, average the amount of food needed to go on a mining adventure, divide supplies evenly among players and estimate an area needed to build a city. The math concepts are all around them and they can’t help but learn them if they want to be successful at their game.

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Kids are ready for the changes that are taking place in the world. Whether they realize they are learning or not is beside the point. They are learning. And they’re enjoying it while they do.

We as parents have the opportunity to connect with our kids, play Minecraft with them and look at their game as something more than just a game. Watch for the three R’s while they play. Notice what skills they are acquiring. Listen to them talk about what they are doing there. And relax, knowing that their desire to play is much more than play. It’s learning in the making.

 

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To read more about the benefits of Minecraft, please check out my other articles: What My Kids are Learning While Playing Minecraft, Minecraft Birthday Party, More Minecraft Love

Subscribe to get updates on Minecraft articles – Coming soon!

 

This article was first published in “The Homeschooler” magazine in their Winter 2013 edition. Learn more about The Homeschooler magazine here.

Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience

August 14th, 2014 § 0

meditation

I have meditated for years. Most of the time I don’t do guided meditations, but I DO love the Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience. 

For me it realigns my focus. It gives me new things to ponder or refreshes my understanding about myself. It can be a valuable tool for those who have never meditated or who have had difficulty with it in the past.

The Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation series is happening right now and it’s not too late to join. It’s free and the meditations stay up for 5 days, so you still have time to catch up. We are on day 4 now.

I can’t tell you how much a meditation practice has helped me to cultivate calmness, peace and clarity in my life. It can jump start a meditation practice for you and get you in touch with who you REALLY are.

Here is the link to sign up. You can sign up either by email or through Facebook.

If I could recommend just one thing about meditation:

Just sit and allow the experience to be just as it is. If your mind is busy and you are having trouble focusing, just sit with that WITHOUT judging yourself. Just notice that your mind is busy.

It’s only 20 minutes per day and even if your mind is super busy during meditation you can trust that it is bringing clarity and peace into your life.

The benefits may be subtle at first but if you continue you will see that it can make a big difference in your day to day life experience. So, don’t judge what happens in meditation and keep doing it!

I would love to hear from you if you do try the 21-Day meditation practice. Come back and let me know how it’s going!

 

Finding Life Purpose

August 14th, 2014 § 0

 

 

Hand TreeWhenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

 

Despite years of self development work, workshops and spiritual practices, I continue to ask myself, What is my life purpose? Even in midlife, when you’re “suppose” to have it all figured out,  I still wonder about my purpose. What grand thing am I suppose to do before I die? What gift can I bring to this planet to make it just a little bit better?

And yet, I have had the answer to this all along. It’s just that sometimes in the craziness of life, I forget.

My inner state of consciousness is my life purpose. This inner state of consciousness is what produces the outer purpose. If my inner state is murky, the outer looks murky. If my inner state is peaceful, loving and non judgmental, my outer purpose is shown to me in each and every moment.

Many times I forget and gaze into the future for some grand action that will make me “sure” I’ve fulfilled this purpose.

My purpose is to be present with what IS in my life right now. My life purpose is to bring presence and quality to every single moment of my day. It is to bring at least acceptance, if not excitement and passion to  – washing dishes.

It is to accept my kids right where they are in this moment with love and respect. Even when they’re scowling at me. Even when they are frustrated and my presence doesn’t seem to help them shift to a better feeling.

My purpose is to sit and do my work without regard to the end result. To take my eye off of the end and bring it back to each step that I’m taking. There is great power in this practice, which brings quality and presence into anything we are trying to produce.

Taking time to recharge my spirit is my biggest purpose; meditation, journaling, walking alone in nature, yoga – these are the things that keep me present and keep me grounded. If I don’t do these things, my purpose begins to shift to outer things where stress and discontent live.

When life purpose becomes about being at peace and realizing that I am love; when I can quit looking for these things outside of myself and know that I already HAVE these within me, I am living my life purpose.

I am not a religious person and for many years was turned off by religious texts, but as I reexamine them with new eyes, I can interpret them in new ways. There is a verse in the Bible that has become a kind of mantra to remind me of my purpose each and every moment of each and every day:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ~ Matthew 6:33

That sums it up for me. The kingdom of God dwells within each of us. It’s the peace that passes all understanding. It’s the joy that lives deep within each of us for no reason at all – THAT is the kingdom of God.

When we seek to know that, it is expressed through us into the world and into everything we do. Our inner purpose aligns with our outer purpose and all of life’s gifts are easily given and received. All things that we do from this place of clarity, great or small, have great power in them.

Does this resonate with you? Do you feel that cultivating the inner purpose of  peace and love makes a difference in your outer life? I would love to hear your experiences with this.