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Thursday, February 12, 2015

TRUST

Life is a funny thing. As soon as you think you have it figured out, it changes on you. In reflection, it's sort of like a babies sleeping pattern. As soon as you feel you have it manageable and you are getting more than a few snippets of sleep at a time, they go ahead and change it up on you again; always keeping you on your toes!

Recently, that has been my life. In the past month, I have started a new business. I truly don't know how it's going to go. I've done the research. I've done the ROI. I've run the numbers. I've invested time, energy and finances to it. I've also had to TRUST things will work out for the best.

You see, TRUST is something that is difficult for so many of us to actually have and practice. We are taught NOT to trust ourselves, our children, our spouses. Oh sure, we talk a great game: "Of course I trust my spouse." and then we find ourselves sometimes doubting in the dark recesses of our minds, in the middle of the night, while they are away on yet another business trip.  "Of course I trust my child." Until they follow a path that isn't congruent with what we had imagined for them. "Of course I trust my life will turn out as it should be." Until a curveball comes our way and we are knocked flat on our arse, trying to figure out what just happened.

Let's be honest, Reader, how much do you really TRUST that your life is on the path that it's supposed to be? Right now, that's all I have to fall back on. I have to trust that things are going to work out the way the Universe/God/Goddess-whatever you identify as the Higher Power to be-intend it to be.

So back to starting this job thing..it started by simply sending out a pretty email to a few friends with a concept idea. I already menu plan for my family for three meals a day, why not make that into a business? Sure, there are tons of options out there, but none that are dairy free, corn free AND gluten free.  A friend saw the email, passed it onto another friend who happens to run the Gluten Free and Allergy Awareness Events across the country. They loved the idea! The business was born.

It's not my first time around this block. It's my 4th start up. The other 3 were semi-successful but life has always interrupted them, curveballs thrown and caught and life has taken on another route. This time, things aren't perfect but they ARE going well. Let me share....

I started because Honey Bunny was stable. The most stable she had ever been. (Notice that past tense there?) No cutting for 10 months. No anorexia acting up. No bipolar breaks. Two weeks after starting the business, she cut. Two day later, she cut again. I had to decide whether or not to allow her addiction to cutting to control my dream of starting this business. This is where Whole Life Unschooling comes into play.

She and I sat down together and talked about how her choices were impacting the family and the decision to stop the business. I have always put my kids first. I admitted to her that her safety and her life are more important than any business.  She admitted she didn't want me to stop my dream. She told me that her addiction was her struggle and that if I allowed it to control my life, if I gave up my dreams when the going got tough, how would she learn to pull through them? She would only learn, from me, to give up and give in when things got tough.

Read the last sentence of that that paragraph again.

Wow! Did that open my eyes. To be honest, I wasn't overly productive that week on the business but I was more so than I would have been. Together, the honesty and TRUST that we have in and with one another is why Gluten Free Homemade Meals meal planning business is going forward.

A few days later, Boo Bear came to me and shared she didn't want to be homeschooled anymore. She's bored. She wants more friends. She wants more to do each day. The business was taking time away from her and she didn't want me to stop going after my dream when she could help me find other solutions. Again, I had to TRUST my child to know her wants, needs and ability to communicate it to me.

Together, we found a wonderful agile learning center 12 miles from our home. She'd visited it once before a year ago, but wasn't ready to attend. Now, a year later, she is ready. She is doing her test visits there this week. Yesterday, she came home and was in tears. She was frightened with my not being there. I held her in my lap, let her unwind, allowed her to tell me all her fears and about 30 minutes into her unloading, SHE began to come up with solutions to her fears.

Boo Bear, at age 7, was able to TRUST HERSELF that SHE would be able to come up with solutions to help combat her fears. She dictated her fear and the solution to me. I wrote them for her. I TRUSTED that she knew what was best for her. I didn't step in. I didn't offer to solve it for her. I trusted that she was the expert on her. If Boo Bear didn't want to return to the school, so be it, we'd find another alternative. She shared knowing I trusted her to make the decision which is best for her allowed her to work through it and determine she does want to return and attend. She has a good time there. She has friends. She has a community.

So, where does all this leave me? Well, kinda trusting in the universe. Last week, I saw a request for gluten free bloggers to receive new gluten free products, review them and post their reviews. I entered. What did I have to lose? I had a feeling it would turn out okay. I TRUSTED in myself and my inner intuition.  I don't  really have a foodie blog here. You know that. I'm here talking about my kids and our journey, which just happens to also involve being gluten free. Sure, I could make that my focus, but I don't.

I woke up at 5am to a purring dog (yes, you read that right, the puppy, Major Muttly, purrs us awake. It's the cutest thing). I started a cup of coffee and decided to read my emails. I mean, who reads their emails before coffee at 5am? I just felt compelled to. Like this little voice was saying: "Go ahead. Start your day." So I did. I TRUSTED my instincts.

And there, in black in white was not only my acceptance of the product for review but also I will be receiving 2 boxes to give away! And best of all, this big time blogger...GF Foodie...LOVES my blog! What?! Are you kidding me? I just sit down and write from my heart. That's all I do. No planning. No calendar. Just me, a cup of coffee, some toast, a sunrise and a keyboard. That's it. I just...wing it.  Anyway, back to the awesome gluten free product boxes..I can't wait until they come to see what's in them!  It's a Love With Food by G-Free Foodie box.  It will be like Christmas in February or March!

And guess what else is on the calendar? Next week, the kids and I are driving to south Florida to do our first trade show. Will it bring in business? I don't know. I hope so. I TRUST it will. Then there is another one the month after. And if those two go well, and bring in business, one a month for the rest of the year if I so chose.

Dear Reader, I ask you this as I wrap up my early morning thoughts:

Where in your life do you need to practice more trust? In yourself, your decisions? With your children? With your spouse? With your life?

Today, as you ponder this question, look over all the wonderful things in your life. Give thanks for them. If one comes your way which isn't so pleasant, give thanks for that, also. Why? Because without the rain there is no rainbow. TRUST things will turn out the way they need to be for YOUR life and those around you.

Trust. A small word attached to such fear. Release that fear and let go!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Unschooling & Business

Wow! Has it been a busy month! January flew by faster than geese flying south for the winter!  During the month, the family and I decided to start a new business adventure. I happen to specialize in gluten free, dairy free, corn free recipes. It's my passion and it's something I have done for 5 years. On a whim, I decided to see if there would be interest for meal plans with recipes and a shopping list, which I do for my family anyway, on a monthly basis. Boy did I hit a gem! Within 3 hours of sending out my original test email to friends and family and Facebook friends, I was approached to participate in a nationwide tour of Gluten Free & Allergy Wellness Events. Wow! Guest speaker spots, webinar spots, a table, etc. Thus began the flurry of the activity of starting a new business.

There was a website to design. New software to research, purchase and learn. There was information on how to register for an LLC in my new home state of North Carolina. There was learning how to input the recipes, format them, figure out the right layout for the shopping list. There was discovering what is the best flow on the website, creating pages, taking photographs of the meals as we tested and prepared them, uploading said photographs and linking the pages. And then there was reality: I am the mother of two kids with a large age spread (9 years), I am training a puppy, have another older dog, a house to maintain, a husband who also needs attention and laundry! Oh my gosh, WHERE do all these clothes come from!!!!!????

So, you get my life in January, yes? How does this all relate back to unschooling? Easy. You see, as Whole Life Unschoolers, we see learning as a life long adventure. It's not just for my kids. It's for us as adults too. I didn't go off to a class to learn about how to research recipe programs. I figured it out on my own. I didn't take a class on how to design my website. I researched it on my own. I didn't go to a class or an attorney to file my LLC paperwork. You guessed it, I figured it out on my own.

This is how we live our lives. We figure things out as we go. It's not that difficult. My kids live in the real world. I hear so often how are my girls going to know how to operate in the "real world."  Let me ask you this, dear Reader, how in God's creation will sitting in a room, behind a desk or at a table, with people all the same age, with the same experience levels with 1 person telling them what they should know, is going to prepare them for the world we, as adults live in?

The adult world is varied and vast. We interact with others of ALL ages. We do not live in a cubical of only like age people. If you work corporate, you do not only associate with others within a 12 month basis of your age. You speak with everyone from children to elders. No one gives us a laid out schedule of our time, we have to figure out our days ourselves.

That is what my children do, with our guidance. They figure it out. How is my starting the business affecting my family? To start with, it was Hubby who pointed out all the ways doing this will be educational to the girl. This, coming from a man who thought Whole Life Unschooling was poppercosh before he was home with us for 18 months due to unemployment. Hubby pointed out how this will be a great education in economics, entrepreneurship, budgeting of time and money, actual start up application, photography, reading, math, history, etc.

What is the family learning along this journey?
1) Hubby is learning, first hand, how much I really do around the house because he is having to pick up a large majority of it. He doesn't know how he's going to work full-time, keep the house picked up and clean, dishes done, laundry done, dogs walked and trained and keep the meals going on a regular basis over the weekends. He was so overwhelmed after only 5 hours, he retreated to bed!!! I had to come in and gently speak with him about how it is best to ask for guidance and assistance. It make me frightened when he retreats to bed after telling me to go for it with the business. Together, I showed him ways to accomplish the daily goals without being overwhelmed, how to laugh through it and how to feel proud of it rather than overwhelmed. Sunday was much better, even with the Superbowl!
2) Honey Bunny is my photographer. She is an excellent photographer. She is also helping me plan our "costumes" for the trade shows, assisting in the road trip planning with where to stop and enjoy the drive to South Florida and helping me with the financials - observing and seeing how a budget is important. She has been taking a Dave Ramsey's Personal Finance course and is learning, first hand, how credit works, how it best to operate off of cash, and how having a savings account is important and allows for choices without having to pay interest on those choices. She's also teaching me all about social media! Her boyfriend is even doing my data entry on the website.
3) Boo Bear is helping me with the recipe creation. She is creating her own recipes to test, writing them down as we go, working on her reading and fractions in the process. She is also reminding me when to stop and go enjoy the sunshine, listen to the birds and partake in the smaller enjoyments of life.
4) The dogs? Well, they are reminding I can't sit for too long at the computer and I must go out to throw a ball, walk them and get moving. It's easy to stay at the computer and work all day long when one is excited about what they are doing.

For us, this is a family adventure. It's not just Mom out here on my own, doing this by myself. For us, living in community with one another, on an equal basis with a say in what happens in their lives as well as my own, is what works for us. Mutual respect, listening, caring and allowing THEIR gifts to shine through is what is going to make this work. I'm not telling Honey Bunny what she has to do. She has stepped forward and offered. I'm not telling Boo Bear what she has to do. She has stepped into the kitchen and made up recipes on her own. Yes, at 7 I trust her in the kitchen. She takes professional cooking classes, why shouldn't I?

In the end, Whole Life Unschooling is about adding to our lives, about expanding our horizons and encouraging one another's growth through the venue of love, not fear. Am I fearful this will all be a flop and a waste of time and money? Sure I am. Am I going to allow my fear to control me? No. Because even if the business concept turns out to be a flop and a bust, look at how much more we learned along the way!

Life is learning. Embrace it. See it. Love it. Enjoy it!