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J ND K’s Donation to the Medicine Hat SPCA

We were very excited to go to the Medicine Hat SPCA and give our fundraiser donation!
Thanks to all those who helped us to raise the money on this website by purchasing books and movies through J ND K
Check out our video of the SPCA donation, and support your local animal shelters if you are looking for a new pet 🙂

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Homeschooling – A Part of Our Passion

An intention of ours at J ND K is to be living our lives in passion, on our terms, and we want to share our experiences as a way to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

An important part of living our passions is homeschooling our children. Natalia is going into Grade 3 and we have found so many learning experiences while teaching her the first 2 school years of her life. However, I wanted to share the background to the decision of this in our lives, in the hopes it may help others who are thinking about making a similar life changing decision, whether it be homeschooling their children, or any life choice that seems to go against the norm of society.

Natalia was in kindergarten in the public school system, because even though we had always said that we wanted to homeschool (even long before we had children) making the actual decision was a hard one. Anyone who has made any decision that goes against the grain in life will be able to relate. It brings up all kinds of insecurities that you didn’t even know were there.

The first year we (mostly I) succumbed to those insecurities – what if I can’t teach her how to read?…. Maybe I should just put her into school to they can teach her how to read, if she struggles with learning because I can’t teach her, I will be setting her up for failure for the rest of her life…. What if I don’t know How to help her with concepts that I didn’t learn about, or don’t remember learning??….Who am I to do this –  there’s ‘professionals’ that do this for a reason – not me……. This is just the tip of the iceberg that was going on in my head. Bottom line was I was insecure in my decision, I second guessed it and talked myself out of doing what I wanted to do, by listing all the reasons I couldn’t handle it.

Combine that with other’s reactions to my mention of home school and it was a recipe for feeling inadequate. The first year in kindergarten was not traumatic in any way for Natalia –  she had a great teacher, enjoyed her time there and gave no indication that she didn’t want to be in school. In fact, she was proud of finding that independence that school seems to provide. This made the decision even harder -the people I told about wanting to homeschool Natalia gave me all the reasons I shouldn’t. ‘You’re already doing enough in life, will you really have the time for that?’ said a good friend. ‘Why would you want to take Natalia away from a school where she gets all the school experiences, like a Christmas concert, and school pictures and so many other typical school experiences?’ – a family member would frequently remind me.  

The actuality of it all was it just didn’t FEEL right – Natalia now missing out on our collective family experiences because she was in school all day. The year of kindergarten was also the year I was pregnant with Dominik, and Natalia wasn’t free to come to doctor appointments with us, go on the road trips we like to take, or we were often just too tired to plan much outside of school activities.

And after spending the first 5 years of life with the freedom of doing what we want with our daughter when we wanted to, it felt like school was a commitment that often made us feel tied down. We missed doing the family activities that we used to have time and energy for, prior to school. The things that we didn’t bother planning anymore with the excuse that she already does that it school. And Natalia also didn’t feel like doing things like she used to because of this new school schedule.

I realized in the midst of that first year in school that this was not the life that was making us happy. Nobody could seem to understand this, yet my heart felt it. That’s the thing with big decisions – we often bounce the ideas off of those around us in a futile attempt to gain confidence in our choices. However, it usually backfires, and we end up hearing other’s insecurities about our decisions as well. Now we have our own self doubt, coupled with other’s opinions, and their doubts.  

It’s natural to want others opinions, and to judge their reactions to our choices- do they approve or disapprove – however, deep in our own hearts, we do know the answer to our own questions in life – those things that we really want to do  –  if we only take the time and courage to listen to our own heart.

So, near the end of kindergarten I made the decision in my own head to not sign her up to Grade 1 at school.  It was a scary choice and I second guessed it numerous times, yet I always reminded myself how the other way (school system) just hadn’t felt right. I put off telling anyone until I had to, and I got the same reactions as I had whenever I mentioned it, but this time I tried not to let it hurt – the fact nobody around me seemed to have faith in my decision. And somewhere along the way, I realized that I am the one who needs to have faith in my decisions, not anyone else.

Fast forward to Grade 1 – we found a homeschooling board who planned field trips and activities several times a month – this was a very pleasant surprise, as one of the common misconceptions (that I also bought into and was fearful about at times) was that socialization thing. Well, we came to discover that we had to be cautious not to over plan the activities because there were an abundance of opportunities for the kids to do group activities and field trips. We were also very lucky to discover a group of homeschoolers in our community who frequently get together to socialize and support one another. There was even a facebook page –  we were oblivious to all the support that was actually available!

The neat thing about making such a big decision, is that once the decision has been made, the Universe does seem to have a way to support you in the process. We definitely came across exactly what we needed in our journey. We also came across alot of things that we didn’t even know we needed but immensely enjoyed, like the field trips. Either the other homeschooling mothers took turns planning or the board did, but we have been constantly busy exploring – the water treatment plant, old brick factory, wool mine, recycling centre… and the list goes on.

As a family we have the opportunity to learn with Natalia – it is exciting for all of us.  Javier even got called upon to be Captain Hook in a Peter Pan play (I have the blackmail video to prove it if anyone is interested…;) But if we would have been too scared to follow through with the decision to home school I can see how many cool experiences we would have missed.

And the fear of Natalia not learning was unjustified as well – I’ve came to see that the greatest gift you can give your children is a love of learning, this also re-ignited my love for learning.  Natalia loves to read, has a real passion for art, enjoys sports and says she hates math, even though she is great at it. Of course, there are some days that she doesn’t ‘feel like’ doing school stuff, and we just go with it and turn the day into a ‘fun’ day, of playing different learning games or board games. She thinks she got her way, and I always make a point to tell her while we are enjoying ourselves that ‘guess what Natalia, you are learning’ – she’s starting to catch on, but it always gets a laugh.

The beauty in learning at home, is you can make your own schedule and adjust on weeks you are busy and do school on weekends if you like –  whatever works for you is ok. We initially said that we had tried the school system for a year, and then would try to homeschool for a year and see what we, as a family, enjoyed more. After the first year, there was no decision to be made –  our life was so much richer by creating a constant learning environment in home and in life. That being said, I believe it will always be a year by year decision, as I don’t want to limit us by not being open to options and what life may toss in our direction. I also want to keep Natalia’s opinion always in consideration, and should she ever want to go to a ‘real’ school’ that would be just fine.

My intention is not to encourage everyone to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home –  it is a very personal choice, and just like anything in life, it has to be something you personally feel called to do. But, if the desire is there and you are not doing it because you are insecure, please re-evaluate those feelings and decide what’s more important –  feeding into your fear, or trying to follow your deepest desires.

And this gem of wisdom can be applied to any decision in life – look at what your deepest desires are, what would make you feel like you are doing what you actually want to be doing in life – and ask yourself  – why are you not doing it? What is stopping you? And is listening to your insecurities worth the missed opportunities in life?

Feel free to ask us any questions you may have about home schooling if this is something you are interested in – we are always happy to share the things we are excited about with others.

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Ya But……

Us humans seem to have an innate ability to feel inspired about a certain idea, and then spend a ton of time rationalizing all of the reasons that it would not work for us.

Life seems to give us clues in the form of our passions, talents, thoughts, and ideas and often even puts specific people in front of us who could guide us deeper into the intentions we have, and then we seem to sabotage our selves.

We naturally seem to think the most negative things – all of the reasons that the great idea we just had could not possibility work for us.

Sure – my neighbor seems to be doing good in life working for himself while raising a family – Ya But I couldn’t possibly do that because I don’t have A, B, C or D that he does.

Or Ya -– my friend lost a bunch of weight on this diet, But when I tried that last diet I didn’t lose any weight, so there’s no point in trying this one.

Or, I really want to try a new job, But I need the paycheck in this one, so I couldn’t possibly quit to ‘try’ and ‘take my chances’ at that new position at that new company.

We may even read self-help books, watch motivational videos, listen to that friend who always give us inspiring advice – initially we are definitely inspired to make some positive changes in life – then the Ya Buts creep in.

The Ya Buts are self sabotage at its best – instead of looking at all the reasons things Could work out, we look at all the reasons they couldn’t. What if this and what if that? Those what ifs are the poison that feeds the Ya Buts.

We may even get brave enough to try to make changes that we so desperately want, then the first ‘stumbling block’ hits, we stumble and lie in a daze and remember all the reasons that we knew that this wouldn’t work.

Then we berate ourselves for even trying and the poison infects us deeper. Because the next time, we will be too scared and discouraged from the first time we tried and ‘failed’.

We may then turn to people around us for encouragement to carry on, and despite possible best intentions of our friends and family – we may find further discouragement and more fuel to fire up all the reasons we shouldn’t do something that we desire so badly to do. Such as the parent who tells you that you are better off ‘working’ at a real job, instead of ‘fooling around’ trying to make a living being a musician. Or the friend who is tired of seeing you get hurt and complain that your ‘dream life’ isn’t working. They may not intend to bring your down, only to help you to not get hurt by trying something you may fail at.

Just remember – no one ever fails until they give up. And if you have a desire to do something, that’s your soul trying to message you and say – ‘wake up – you can do this’.

It’s not easy to live your passion – if it was everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately many are too scared to ever take the first step and try. Many others have tried and failed once, or maybe numerous times. But that’s not a reason to surrender to a life you don’t enjoy living.

The Ya Buts are just another test in the road of life. Our oh so human minds are naturally set to keep us in a state of ‘safety’ – and getting outside our comfort zone is interpreted as not safe by our human brain at first. But remember – our mind is like a monkey in a cage – it’ll bounce all over the cage – screeching the Ya Buts – however, you can also train that monkey.

How do you begin to train your ‘monkey in a cage mind’ and start to put the Ya Buts at rest?

1 – Start meditating – it’s the easiest and most effective first step to take. How do you meditate you may ask  – the simplest way is to focus on your breathing.  The breathes in and out – and every time a thought pops into your head, don’t judge yourself or the thought – just bring your mind back to your breathing.  You can start with only 5 minutes a day.   It’s super easy, relaxing and feels like a mental vacation.

2 – Pray – pray to God or whatever higher power in the Universe you believe in and relate to. If you don’t believe in God – reach out to your higher self and form a relationship with your unconscious and the energy of nature however you see it. In my opinion, it’s all related and no matter your beliefs, put it out there and ask for answers – you will receive them.

3 – See the Clues to the Questions Asked – We often struggle with an issue, pray about it, talk about it, obsess about it – and get so caught up in trying to ‘solve that problem’ that we miss any signs that can lead us to the solution. Be aware of the quiet clues that life always sends you. We often get so wrapped up in the busy-ness of life, our social media, texting, and life drama that we are like living zombies. So slow down, get off your phone and listen to life long enough to see a possible clue.

4 – Put The Possible Solution into Action Before Deciding it Doesn’t Work – After thinking about a problem for long enough – our brain decides on a solution. This is our minds way of putting the problem to rest – however, then the Ya Buts start – and we talk ourselves out of the solution we just came up with instead of trying it and putting the possible solution into action. Take the time to slow down and try the solution you came up with before doubting yourself about the fact it may work.

5 – Be Open to Alternative Possibilities – We often decide on a way to solve a current dilemma and get so stuck in our own outcome, that we completely close ourselves off energetically to any other outcome, which may be even better than what we thought of. When we remove that boulder of being stuck in our own thinking we often see many other ways it can work out.

6 – Don’t Rely Solely on Others for Support – That support you feel that you need is often not found in family, friends or even therapists – they can all help in moments, but it ultimately lies in discovering your own power and that begins with changing your own thought patterns.

7 – Think of All the Ways Things are Working Out for You Instead of All the Ways Things Are Not – We all have good days and bad days – days we wake up feeling positive and then we have the dark days. Don’t make important decisions about life on a dark day. If your dark days are outnumbering your light days, be sure to seek the help your soul needs.   Start small by re teaching yourself how to see the light. Set an intention to yourself, that you will see all the positive ways things have worked out in your day (or take a baby step at least and make a point to see at least 1 in a day). If you enjoy writing, start a gratitude journal. If this is just another thing that you will feel down about ‘not getting around to doing it’, don’t give yourself a hard time over that yet – it defeats the purpose. Set an intention in the shower (we all have time for a shower in life, right), or before bed – an intention to see the ways things have went right in your day. It also helps you stay positive going into the next day.

So, no matter what your goals in life at the moment are – Remember, that it is completely normal for the Ya Buts to pop up. It’s just our job to retrain our brain to push the Ya Buts away, loosen up on the outcome of things, and go forward with a bit of faith in ourselves. I’m not sure it’s any human beings nature to be positive, I think we all have a natural tendency to question ourselves and in turn become negative, BUT the more we practise seeing the good in things, the less we see the bad. There is always good in life, we just have to choose to see it!

What Ya Buts did you choose to push away and what good did you choose to see in your day?

Comment below – we’d love to have you share parts of your story that may inspire and help others live a more passionate life!

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Better World Books

JNDK LOGO                                    better-world-books-banner

Here at J ND K – we believe in working with other companies who are also making the world a better place and we have came across a great company called Better World Books!

Founded in 2002 by two graduates who wanted to make a difference in the world, they began a small business with the intention to save books from landfills, donate the books to people who need them, and also to promote literacy worldwide.

Fast forward 14 years, and Better World Books is now a game changer on a world wide platform. For every book purchased from Better World Books, this company donates a book to someone in need. They work with Books for Africa and Feed the Children, and to date they have reused or recycled over 216 million pounds of books (237 650 998 books).

Better World Books collects unwanted books from libraries, and other donations and sells them while giving a portion of the money back to the libraries and literacy programs. They have raised over $23 million dollars for these programs, and it is all thanks to customers who chose to make purchases and support them.

What a better way to get a book – and they have Free shipping worldwide- so no matter where you are, you can help to support an amazing business who also chooses to give back to the world.

Visit our Online Sidewalk Sale at BetterWorldBooks.com. Free Carbon Neutral Shipping on all orders Worldwide.

better-world-books-banner

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How To Live The Life Of Your Dreams

The one thing that we all have in common as human beings is the need to be at peace with ourselves and our lives, and to be happy. However, in this world, true happiness often seems totally unattainable, with the daily stress and anxiety of all life throws at us. Totally happiness at all times is an illusion, as it is not realistic to think that we will never again become upset or anxious – however, what is completely attainable is a contentment with our lives.

So – how can a person come to a place in their lives where they are content – this all starts and ends with following your passion and hearts desire in life. Living your passion requires a lot of faith – faith that life will provide for you, despite circumstances that appear to be setbacks.

The one dilemma that I often hear people say is ‘but I don’t know what my passion is’. This is a very common dilemma – we all want to be happy and live the life of our dreams, but ironically, we sometimes have no idea what it is that will actually make us happy. We often think it’ll be getting that new car or job promotion, however, if we are able to achieve it, shortly after the initial excitement wears off, we are again in a state of discontented and have the desire for that something else that will make us happy. What a sad and vicious cycle we become stuck in.

After years of going through this cycle, I have come to learn a few life lessons in the road to achieving contentment with life.

Ironically, the starting point seems to be where the anger and frustration lie. I’ve come to look at anger as a great indicator that something needs to change in that area. For years I’ve believed that if you are not happy with something – anything in your life, it is a sign that you need to change that thing that is making you unhappy. Whether it is a job, a circumstance or a person – if it draws up such an intense emotion as anger, this is usually a sign that something with the situation doesn’t align with you.

So, start with the anger – look at what’s making you frustrated on a continual basis, and that’s a great starting point in the journey of following your heart.

Now that was the easy part – the hard part is actually following through with changing the thing that angers you, but remember, perspective is everything. Remember, chances are at one time, that thing that frustrates you now, may have been exactly what you wanted – the job that you now hate, the weight you gain from eating that donut you were really craving – at 1 point in your life, chances are that you got exactly what you wanted. The problem is, in the midst of getting what you wanted, you discover for whatever reason, you don’t want it anymore – this is usually because of the repercussions that came with it.

The main part of following your heart involves being willing to take the repercussions along with the benefits. If you want to run your own business, yet you aren’t willing to put in the long hours it involves, that may not ultimately be your hearts desire. Or if you really want to stay at home with your family, yet you can’t handle the daily grind of doing the same routine then maybe you would be better off maintaining a place in the workforce.

The best part of this following your heart thing, is that YOU get to decide. What makes you feel the best. It won’t all be warm fuzzies, because in life every situation has its good and bad parts, however, when you are following your hearts desire then you are willing to accept the bad that comes with the good.

"You don't have to see the whole staircase - just take the first step in faith" Martin Luther King Jr.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase – just take the first step in faith”
Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Now that you’ve identified clearly what you don’t want in your life, it’s time for the fun part – figuring out what you do want and what your passion in life actually is. The first and easiest way is to go back to your childhood – what did you love to do as a child?! This is usually a great clue as to where your passion lies – did you love to draw, did you love cars, animals or writing? Think about it – ponder why on earth you ever stopped doing what you love and figure out small ways that you can bring that old passion back into your life now. Take a class in your passion, start a small business around a favorite hobby, or just get involved in that passions community and meet new people who also share that love. By taking these small steps, you are clearly putting out the energy that you want to re-ignite these passions, and life has a cool way of bringing more of the same energy to you.

If you are still confused about what your passions are, a simple activity that I read about awhile back was to write out a list of all of your interests, hobbies and desires. This list may get long, and initially may seem to add to the confusion, but just keep writing. Write and write until you find a thought that brings tears to your eyes – your passion lies in this.

I believe that if everyone in this world was able to live their passions, we would live in an amazing world. Some may say, this is not a ‘realistic’ way of life, and in ‘the real world’ this is not attainable. We tend to see all the reasons we cannot do something instead of seeing all the reasons that we can.

However, every person’s ‘reality’ is unique and perspective is everything – so what is realistic is only a matter of perception, as are the limits we put on ourselves and on life.

In my reality, I still believe that everyone can and should be living their passions, as it may not change the whole world at once, but one at a time we will change ourselves and therefore the world will change for the better too.

So, I wish you all the good energy in the world to go forth to find and follow your passions too!

 

BONUS ACTIVITY

After you ask yourself what your passion is, just for the fun of it and the good energy that flows from this question – ask someone else – at random (not a random person, although that could be fun too) but in a random way slip in into the conversation– if they could do anything in life, what would it be? Observe the confusion in the initial reaction to such a random question, then see their eyes light up as they begin to answer (some people need to be persuaded to even answer this question – they’ve learnt to bury their heart messages so deep. After their eyes light up, their energy shifts as they start to tell you their dreams, notice the next thing that probably comes out of their mouth – Ya But….. – Us humans are relatively predictable – or should I say the Fear is relatively predictable – push through the fear and look out – the sky is the limit and before you know if, you are on the path to following your heart.

 

Please comment below  – we’d love to hear about the steps you are taking to live the life of your dreams! 🙂