Monday, February 29, 2016

Preparing Your Homeschool Philosophy and HOME Convention Info

Deuteronomy 11:19
"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

One of the greatest tips I received when preparing to homeschool was this: know your homeschooling philosophy.  This one thing is the foundation upon which everything else is laid.  For us, the verse above does a great job of summing up our twofold philosophy- life is the classroom; and be good stewards of all that God gives us, honoring him in all that we do.

We talk about scriptures and biblical principles throughout the day, weaving them into the happenings of daily life.  We do the same with lessons on math, science, spelling, physics, geography, history, politics, art, and every other subject you can think of.  Our bookwork is minimal, our life work is great.

What is your homeschool philosophy?  What principles guide the decisions you make and how you spend your time, your money, your resources, and your energy?

For those in Maine who aren't sure what their philosophy is, perhaps a great way to discover answers is to attend the HOME convention next month.  This annual homeschooling convention is something I've been looking forward to since long before we even moved to Maine.  With workshops, speakers, panel discussions, curriculum sales and vendor booths, and so many like-minded folks to connect with, it's sure to offer inspiration and guidance to all in attendance!

It's not too late to sign up, and there are even scholarships available for those in need.  Come with your questions, come with your curiosity, come with or without your children, come ready to learn and explore and discover more about your family's own personal homeschooling journey.  I hope to see you there!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On health, grace and magic bullets.

I promise, this is not a Plexus sell!  There is much more to it, keep reading to the end, you might just be surprised.

A lot of people think Plexus is a magic bullet.  I get it.  I was one of them.  I have struggled with gut health and emotional health for years.  On my journey I discovered the two were related.  When one of my friends shared how Plexus had helped her with anger and rage, I was inspired.  When another two friends lost weight and got brighter and happier looking, I was convinced.  I read all these testimonials from people who "didn't change a thing" other than adding Plexus products to their life and they got healthy and lost weight.  I thought I could do that, too.  After all of the restrictive eating plans that I had tried over the years with yo-yo results, I thought this sounded great.  And so I began.

I started out taking one product at a time, slowly easing into things so I could monitor and make sure I didn't have any bad reactions to anything.  I was committed to not exercising and not making any changes to my diet.  I wanted Plexus to do all the work for me.  I took my "before" photos and prepared for my "Plexus miracle" story that I was sure was about to unfold.  I would lose the weight, get svelte, lose the anger, and be happy.

By about a month in, I was on all 3 products in the TriPlex (Plexus Slim, BioCleanse, and Probio5).  By about 2 months in I was frustrated, upset, convinced Plexus didn't work and I wasn't getting any results.  I added in another 2 products, Plexus Accelerator Plus and Plexus MegaX.  I changed up my regimen of when/how many of each thing I was taking.  I still wanted Plexus to work without me.

A couple of weeks went by and I was still frustrated, still not losing weight, still not seeing results.  Then I started talking about it, about my frustrations, about how if this didn't work I didn't know what else to do since I had tried so many things already.  Between two conversations with two different people in two days, my perspective changed.  I found myself really looking for what was working instead of what wasn't working.  I started to write down all of the "non-scale" victories I was experiencing, and I was amazed.

In those two short months I had stopped needing mega doses of coffee to get through my day.  I had stopped needing afternoon naps to make it till evening.  I had actually slept through the night for the first time in my adult life, on multiple different nights.  I had not yelled at my son as vehemently or as often, and I recovered much faster when I did lose my temper.  I wasn't craving chocolate and carbs at 4pm and 10pm every day.  I could go 3 hours without eating and not be a "hangry" shaky mess.  My back and neck and knee pains were decreasing.  Yes, I was transforming, just not in ways that could be easily seen or measured.

I was newly inspired and decided to add on another product, the multivitamin Plexus XFactor.  I made it through Christmas and New Year's without getting sick- a miracle!  It seems for the last 10-15 years I am ALWAYS sick with respiratory stuff on at least one of these holidays.  Not this time!  Then my son, who wasn't on any Plexus products yet, came down with a high fever and eventually an ear infection.  I cuddled him and cared for him for a week and still I STAYED WELL!  I was ready to share with the world about my Plexus miracle when it happened: I got sick.

First, I had no energy for a couple of days.  None, zilch, nada.  I didn't even want to get out of bed.  Then the cough started in, settling deep in my lungs a few days later.  I was devastated.  How could this happen?  I've been so healthy.  I'm taking all these Plexus products and I was doing so well.  How did I get sick?  I knew the answer.  I had done it to myself.  I had allowed myself to partake in holiday/birthday goodies that I didn't really need or want, it just seemed like the thing to do: sugar overload.  I added a megadose of stress on top of that with the pressure to advance quickly in my company so that I could support my family financially 100%.  I put too high goals on my plate and then beat myself up when I didn't achieve them.  I had just been travelling for a week and had not slept much.  I was burning the candle at both ends running a mile a minute striving for a goal I couldn't achieve.  Of course I got sick.

This is where the grace comes in.  Without grace, we are lost.  Without grace, life is a game full of shoulds and shame and blame and guilt.  There is no winning without grace.  Grace for and from myself.  And Grace from God.  Stress and worry only show lack of faith, lack of trust in God's plan and his mighty provision for me.  When I allow his Grace into my heart, I can rest.  I can listen for His guidance, His plan, His path for me.  I can get my priorities straight.  I can heal.  I let the Grace settle in and I went full on into healing mode, setting work and goals aside and allowing myself to rest and be taken care of by my loving husband and son.

I went to the doctor when the cough got worse.  Virus was the diagnosis, keep doing what I was doing and it will run its course.  I was treating myself with essential oils, cod liver oil, inhaler, nebulizer, steam, lemon/honey/turmeric/garlic tea, homeopathy, echinacea, etc.  I went home and continued on the healing journey.  Then I got worse, I got a fever and earache, and nothing was seeming to help with the cough which had actually gotten worse.  It was a Saturday so off to the ER we went.  I peed in the cup and they took my blood.  They ordered x-rays, suspecting pneumonia.  Then we got the news, there would be no x-rays for me that day because I was pregnant!

Suddenly so many things made sense.  Last time I was pregnant, I had no energy the first few days after conception.  Several of my friends told me the sickest they have ever been was when they were pregnant.  My body was busy growing a new life, building a life support system within me, and so it didn't have as much energy to heal me from the sickness.  Of course!  This new perspective changed everything.  The docs went ahead and ordered antibiotics, since I had been sick for two weeks at this point.  I also got a bag full of IV fluids.  Within 24 hours I was feeling so much better.

But here's the thing.  For the first time in a long time I've been hiding.  I've been ashamed of my sickness, afraid of what people might make it mean about Plexus.  Afraid someone else might not get the help and results they need because of my illness.  They might get turned off to Plexus and not even pursue it, all because I was sick.  I missed out on the opportunity for prayers, for support, for love from my community.  I missed out on a chance to be authentic, which is something I strive for in life and pride myself on- I am an open book, no secrets, nothing hidden.  Only this time I hid.  I've learned from this, and I hope you will, too.  I'm opening up my own vulnerability in sharing this story, my journey.  I hope you can hear my heart and trust me still.  Our own fears, our own inadequacies, just make us human, make us relatable to others who are also imperfect.  I promise never to hide again.

James 4:6
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

Yours in good health,


Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk