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Be Still. (FREE Printable)

Yesterday I was a little frantic and harried trying to scrounge up some way to pay for an unexpected car repair bill.  I put out a plea on Facebook that went like this:

“We got a very unpleasant surprise yesterday in the form of car repairs that are going to cost upwards of $3000. This morning I am in a mad scramble to figure out how to pay for it and so am asking for some help. I have just under 100 coloring books left and if I sell every last one I will be able to cover the repair costs so we can have a car that runs and fits our entire family. If you’ve considered buying one, today would be an amazing day to do so. If you aren’t in the market for one, can you just share this post and give others the opportunity to purchase one? We have had a rough go of it this past year and this seems like the proverbial straw so I am asking for help. Thank you to everyone who has been such a big support to us. I know I could not have made it through this last year without you.”

And then.

In the past 24 hours I sold 36 coloring books and had money donated from dear friends so today I am doing my best to do this…

BeStill8.5x11CLICK HERE to download “Be Still”

And not question my worthiness and whether or not I deserve what has been done.  Enjoy the free printable friends.  You are amazing!

Free Body Positive Printables!

Having struggled with disordered eating for a VERY long time I am extremely passionate about body positivity.  One of my favorite groups that champions body image resilience is Beauty Redefined.  They have an online class that I have been working on for a while now (and teaching my girls about), and they spend a ton of time spreading positive messages about women and their bodies.  I love their work!

A few months ago I was contacted by a friend of mine who admins a Facebook group for women (that I am part of) called “Embracing My Body” (If you are interested in joining you can find it by clicking the link and request to be added: Embracing My Body).  She was wondering if I would be willing to do some drawings to help spread awareness about embracing our bodies and body image resilience.  I was happy to and immediately started thinking about how to incorporate the message into my art.

The words of Beauty Redefined instantly came to mind.  I reached out to Lindsey and Lexie Kite, the founders of the movement, and asked permission to use some of their slogans to make free printables that women could use to reinforce body positivity in their own lives.  The Kite sisters were very gracious and allowed me to use their slogans in these drawings.  They believe that helping women is important and I agree with them so much.  If you want to give a shout out to them just visit their website or their facebook page and let them know how thankful you are for their message.

I hope these images can be helpful and inspire women to view themselves and their bodies in an increasingly positive manner.

These drawings are free.  This is still my art and my time and creativity.  Be sure to regard copyright and use them respectfully!

Please print them and color them and pass them along to women and girls you know who could use a reminder of how important and powerful they are.

Fill in the sign in the drawing with something that your body can DO.

I so easily view my body as an object, something for other people to critique and scrutinize, and often forget all of the wonderful things my body can DO.  My body can do yoga.  My body can enjoy delicious foods.  My body can do wobbly cart wheels.  My body can draw.  The list goes on.  And it does for YOU too!

Post your images to social media and tag Me and Beauty Redefined (if you feel so inclined, I would LOVE to see what you do with these images and I’m sure the Kite sisters would too!) and use the hashtag #mybodycando.

This first one is an example that I filled in for me…I still need to color it.  There are six images to choose from.  I truly hope that every woman can identify with at least one and make it her own.  xoxoxo  Meggan

Before&AfterME

Click the link to download a PDF of Beauty is not a Limited Resource. (Pictured Below)

Beauty

Click this link to download a PDF of I am NOT a Before and After. (Pictured Below)

Before&After

Click this link to download a PDF of My Value is Infinite. (Pictured Below)

Infinite

Click this link to download a PDF of My body is an Instrument, NOT an Ornament. (Pictured Below)

Instrument

Click this link to download I am MORE than just a body. (Pictured Below)

More

Click this link to download My Reflection does not define my Worth. (Pictured Below)

Reflection

FREE Printable: Cinco De Mayo

I am part of an activity planning committee at church.  We are having a big Cinco De Mayo party and I agreed to make a coloring sheet as part of a coloring contest we are having during the event.  I finished the drawing today and couldn’t wait to share it because it is just so fun!  Enjoy this FREE printable and let me know if you have any plans for Cinco De Mayo.  I took Spanish as my language all through Junior High and High School and I’ve always loved Cinco De Mayo parties.  Feel free to share this printable with friends!  Download it HERE.

CincoDeMayo

Self-Care.

I learned something new and I want to share it with all of you!  I’m still participating in online therapy lessons at Bloom for Women (use code “youareloved” for 15% off of their services if you want to join and learn too!).  A few weeks back I was studying self care.  Before I started this journey into emotional health I had never heard that term, self care, but as soon as I ventured into the recovery world, I started hearing it a lot.  Self care encompasses the activities we participate in to keep ourselves physically and emotionally and spiritually healthy.  If my knee is hurting self care could be icing it, stretching out, or going to a doctor.  If I’m having anxiety, self care could be diffusing some lavender oil next to my work space and doing yoga.  Self care is so important especially in a world where being busy can overtake other goals or, if you’re like me, and you somehow learned growing up that doing something for yourself was selfish.

I still struggle with self care.  I’m much better at it than I used to be but through my Bloom for Women classes I learned that I have ways I can enhance it.  One specifically.  In the class I was reading about tough situations and what often happens to self care when life gets really stressful or difficult and I was at first surprised by what I read and then realized that it was true.  The class pointed out that when self care is needed the most is when it is often the most neglected.

For instance.  A month or so back I had a stressful situation happen on Facebook.  I was an admin for a 12-step type group.  The group was secret, I knew a lot of the women in it personally; we used it as a place to share our victories and also ask advice when things were hard.  Someone inside the group shared the identities of women in it, to a group of women outside the group.  The incident is much more in depth and complicated than that but let’s just say I suddenly had the admins from a fairly large Facebook group breathing down my neck and trying to manipulate me into doing what they wanted and they should never had known that I was part of my group in the first place.

selfcare

When this happened, and it got really stressful the first thing I did was stop sleeping well.  Because I wasn’t sleeping I was so tired in the mornings that I stopped being consistent with my morning yoga.  When the weekend came I was still trying to deal with the fallout from this incident so I didn’t pay attention at church and was instead messaging other women from my group and trying to figure out how everything had happened.  In short, when I needed self care the most, was when I abandoned it completely.  If it hadn’t been for the class I was taking, I would not have noticed what was happening.  As soon as I realized what I was doing I did my best to try and combat it by slowing down and being mindful of my physical and emotional needs.  I did yoga even if I was tired, I tried harder to go to bed at a reasonable hour, I put my phone down at church and fed my soul.

From now on I will be much more aware, especially during hard and stressful times, of my level of self care and instead of abandoning it when tough situations arise I will do my best to double up!  When I’m stressed or scared, twice the amount of yoga and deep breathing would be far more beneficial than not doing it.  Haha.  I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that years ago.  Bloom for Women has been such an awesome resource!

My Coloring Book-FOR SALE!

My friends!!!! See all those exclamations points I just typed?! That’s because my coloring books are here. They are here and they are beautiful and they are ready for purchase. I am beyond excited and emotional about this. Please take a look at them, buy them, let me know if you have any questions about them!
IMG_8758IMG_8760IMG_8762IMG_8764IMG_8765
Here is a brief description of the book:
“This is an 11″x14” book or colorable art prints (not just a coloring book!). Each page is printed on heavy cardstock and has a vertical perforation (pictured) so the pages can easily be removed, shared, framed, displayed, gifted, and more.
There are 32 unique prints and one bonus print that is a slight variation on the print before it. Both are included because of the emotional response to the unique aspects of each print…I could not decide to leave either one out.
Pictured is one of the prints included in the book. The print does not come colored, I simply colored it to show what it can look like when it has been colored.
This book is all about sisters. Not just sisters that we are bound to by blood but those women and girls who become our sisters throughout life. “
You can buy yours here:
Share this post with your friends, on social media, and everywhere.  I would love for my Sisters to travel the world!
xoxoxo Meggan

Here is a small sneak peek of some of the images included:

img_8777-1img_8778-5img_8766-1img_8772img_8773img_8769img_8771img_8767img_8770img_8768

For Fun: Two FREE Printables

I know I just did a printable but I have two more.  My son Donnie is a big Pokemon fan.  He has been since long before the game came out.  At his request I’ve done a few quick Pokemon themed pages for him to color and he suggested that there might be other people out there who want to color them.  He is going to bring his to church today and color them while he listens to the lessons and sermons.  Enjoy!  Click the links to download the PDFs and feel free to SHARE with your friends.

Pikachu

PokeBalls

PokeBalls

PikachuE

Fox & Owl FREE Printable

The fourth graders that I work with at school often see me drawing and are constantly asking “Can you draw me (fill in the blank with any assortment of the things from a basketball to a unicorn)?”  So this last week I finally drew something for them to color and figured that I could share it here as well.  Please enjoy this free printable coloring sheet of some foxes and some owls.  Click the link to download…

FoxOwl

FoxOwl

 

Do you listen to your own Advice?

A few years back I went to therapy for the first time.  Donnie and I were struggling in our marriage and neither of us knew how to fix it (believe me we tried a lot of things that did not help) so we turned to a professional. We had weekly meetings with Adam Moore of Utah Valley Counseling via a skype type program because we were in Alaska at the time.  Sometimes we saw him as a couple and sometimes separately.  Seeing a good therapist was life changing for us.  It was a big part of what saved our marriage.  We found out that Donnie suffered from what is classified as a Love Addiction.  This explained why he reacted the way he did to so many situations and we were able to study, read, and work toward a better marriage.  I had a host of my own faulty core beliefs to deal with and counseling was instrumental in helping me understand what I was doing to damage my relationship with Donnie and how I could change it.

After a year and a half of counseling both Donnie and I felt that we had been given the tools we needed to work on our marriage without professional help so we “graduated” from therapy (hahaha, that is not actually a thing).

Not long after that “graduation” my relationship with my parents and siblings got really complicated and difficult.  A sister of mine confided in me about being sexually abused by a family member.  As I stood by her and helped her tell the family, I was put through so many hard things.  The people that I grew up with and that I was supposed to be feel supported by, turned on me.  I have been dealing with the aftermath of that for over a year now.  Just recently I decided to seek out therapy again to help me manage my feelings surrounding the situation with my family.  I found an amazing online resource called “Bloom For Women“.  I have started doing their weekly courses and they have been a great strength to me.  Their price is 1/4th what therapy was costing me before for weekly in person meetings and I can work at my own pace.  I can ask questions that are answered by some amazing therapists and I can connect with other women in a forum they offer.  It’s been just what I need.  I want to get back into in-person therapy some day (because I loved it), but this is working really well right now.

Last week the weekly lesson was about resilience.  The topic seemed perfect considering what I’ve been dealing with so I jumped in hoping to gain some wisdom and comfort.  Each day I watched a short video (5 min) by a therapist and then filled out the associated work sheet.  One of the questions on one of the worksheets asked what sort of advice I would give a friend who was dealing with a similar situation.  I thought “that’s easy!!” and then thought about what I do at school when one of the children comes to me complaining that another child said something mean about them.  I always first ask them “is what that other person said true?”  The child always answers no, every time.  So then I say “what IS true about you?”, and I have them list some things that are true about them…”I am creative, I am a good friend, I am kind, etc.”

advice

The next part of the worksheet basically told me to take my own advice.  Hahahah.  A light bulb came on.  I am constantly telling my own kids, and the kids at school, how to handle a situation where someone tells them things that are untrue about them and I had never considered doing the same thing myself.   I need to listen to my own advice.  Now, when I am confronted with a situation where someone says something about me that’s untrue I try to use what I know.  I stop.  I take some deep breaths.  I acknowledge that what they said is not true and then I list some things about me that are true.  It has helped so much.  I wasn’t sure that an online therapeutic website would be helpful but I am SO glad I am doing it.

This weeks lesson is on “Relationships & Our Process”.  I can’t wait to see what I learn.

If you are at all interested in taking classes from Bloom go to their website here.  You can use code “youareloved” for 15% off.  I would love to know if you join and find it valuable.  I can always associate with more friends who like to talk therapy!

What would I do?

I happened upon a post in a Facebook group I’m part of that followed a tangent into a discussion about corporal punishment. One mother openly and proudly discussed flicking her child on the mouth with acrylic nails to get him to obey. While I would never presume to call this child abuse or say that this mother is abusive, especially knowing very little about her or her children, her comments led me to ponder the reasons I do not engage in such behaviors with my own children.

I remember once as a child wiping a booger on the curtains in our front living room. When it was discovered that I had done it I was punished physically. For the sake of this blog post let’s say I was flicked on the head. After being flicked I decided a few things. First of all, that if I planned on wiping a booger on the curtains in the future I better not get caught and if someone finds it I better lie about having put it there.  And secondly, that the consequence for booger wiping is physical pain. I learned to not wipe boogers or hide said wiping, out of fear. My motivation was all wrong.

I have been thinking about motivation for some time now. And this booger wiping experience has been the perfect one for me to process and study. I try to imagine how different it would have been if I’d been allowed to endure the natural, logical consequences of booger wiping instead of being physically punished. If I had been instructed on how to dismantle, wash, dry, and rehang the curtain, with the bulk of the job left to me, I could have been given the opportunity to see the hard work that goes into keeping things clean. Especially things like curtains that are difficult to take down and put back up. It also would have been a wonderful time to teach me about the hygiene aspect of booger wiping. I could have learned, at a young age, what part boogers play in health, what germs they carry, what sort of viruses they can spread, (I realize this would have been time intensive without the use of google, haha, it’s much easier for me to do this part with my own kids.) and consequently been saved from years of booger picking and wiping and eating. In essence I could have learned to be motivated by love. Using a tissue for my boogies would seem much more appealing if I knew that it would allow me more time to play, something I loved, and less time washing curtains.  And if I had understood the health benefits of tissues I could have, out of love for my health and those around me, chosen to use them.

The motivation I learned very early in my life stuck with me though and I’ve spent way too much time making choices out of fear.  I went to church out of fear for a very long time.  I was afraid that if I didn’t God would hate me and my parents would get mad.  Being motivated by fear made it difficult for me to have any sort of real personal testimony.  I had rules that needed to be followed but a love for the positive fruits that would accompany having a kind moral compass alluded me.  I did things so I wouldn’t be punished, not so I could live a peaceful and joyful life.

School was similar.  I was a straight A student, I spoke at high school graduation for crying out loud.  But in high school when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say this “I don’t know, I’m good at all the classes I take but I don’t like any of them.”  I had a hard time finding something I liked because my motivation for being at school was about good grades so I wouldn’t be looked down on, not love of learning.

As I matured my motivation changed a little here and there but it wasn’t until very recently that I actually realized the power of motivation and started to question why I do the things I do.  Fear governed and still has power over large parts of my life.  I constantly ask myself the question, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”, and the answer is often far from what I actually do.  For instance, at my school there are bathrooms specifically for the staff but I have never used them.  Why? Because I’m afraid that I might bother someone when I do or, because I haven’t been there long, I won’t know the “protocol” for using said bathrooms.  If I was motivated by love though I would use them because it would, on occasion save me time because they are often the closest bathroom, and I would use them out of love for my body…I would stop “holding it” longer than is comfortable.  This example is simple and of limited importance but it illustrates motivation at it’s most uncomplicated.

afraid

Motivation is far more impactful when it comes to human interaction.  I don’t want to get political and start any sort of debate but I often think of the refugee situation or anything having to do with LGBTQ.  When I read through discussions/arguments on those topics (which I don’t do often) and others that are similar I see fear, lots and lots of fear.  How different could our country be if we were motivated by love?  I know this simplifies these issues but I feel like a more whole consensus could be made if fear was not a driving force.

And that is why I am doing all I can to raise children who realize the difference between having fear as their motivation and choosing to be motivated by love.  I don’t use corporal punishment because I believe it teaches children to do things, even good things, and develop habits, even healthy habits, for the wrong reasons.  And while the result may come faster and seem easier and more sure, I do not think that there are long term benefits.  My kids do their own laundry.  I could enforce this by spanking them or hitting them if they didn’t get it done and they could learn that it is important to do laundry to avoid getting hit.  Instead, I let them run out of clean clothes.  They do not have to run out of clean clothes very many times, one maybe two, to realize that they LOVE having clean clothes to wear.  Their motivation for remembering their laundry day and making sure their clothes get done is their love of having the outfit they want to wear be clean on the day they want to wear it.

I once had a child tell me “you can’t tell me what I can or can’t do!” when I asked him to please pick up his backpack.  Instead of using some form of physical punishment to force him to do what I wanted I simply told him “Okay, I am happy to oblige.”  The next day when he asked if he could have a friend over (and needed my help to do so) I reminded him “Remember, I cannot tell you what you can or can’t do so I guess you won’t be playing with a friend today.”  He immediately remembered his words the previous day.  I asked him if he’d like to change his statement and he did.  His motivation for helping out around the house and cleaning his own things became a love for a household where we help each other.  I do not believe that forcing him that first day would have yielded similar results.

I want to live in a house full of people motivated by love.  I want to become that person.  I am still scared a lot.  I hold back because of fear.  A few weeks back I was walking into a shopping center when I saw a woman, alone, unloading a cart full of groceries.  I immediately wanted to help her but I didn’t, I was afraid she wouldn’t want my help.  I let fear win.  I could list many more similar instances.  Being aware that I am doing it is helping a lot.  When I remember to ask myself “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” I make much better decisions.  I want the same for my children and won’t be proudly flicking them on the mouth any time soon.

Love wins friends.  Every time.

xoxox Meggan