Monday, December 16, 2013

An ode to my Mom, the ultimate educated consumer

It's no secret I'm a big fan of my Momma, Missy Flanagan. I'm blessed (or cursed? JK!) with only the best memories of her growing up. I think I may have one single memory of her yelling at me. And it was because I told Ben he was adopted..So, the yelling was probably warranted. haha!

I do my mom an extreme disservice when I answer that my interested in politics come from my Daddy. The true answer, is that my interest on a very deep level, comes from my Mom. As a stay at home Mom, you don't have time to run a phone bank out of your house to remind people to get out to vote. You can't take two toddlers around dinner time every night to knock on doors and promote your agenda or candidate. It's just not going to happen. My mom knew this, so she promoted her own conservative beliefs in her own, genius way. She became an educated consumer. She was an educated consumer before it was cool. Of course she was also making her own bread, grinding her own wheat, buying local and organic, and just all around super crunchy before that was cool also. Love that lady!

I can remember there was a running list on our fridge growing up of companies who were pro-choice who would not get her business. Companies who gave to political candidates she would not vote for. Heck,she even boycotted Disney for years due to some decisions the company made that she didn't agree with. My mom was a genius in her own way, because she knew, that she made all the basic, day to day buying decisions for our family, and she intended to make them count! My Momma fully intended to put her money where her mouth was, on a very organic level. She wanted these companies to know that she did not agree with their corporate activism, and until things changed, they would not be getting the Flanagan households grocery money. I'm sure this seems very small to you-one housewife doing her due diligence and hell-bent on making a difference. Just one. But can you imagine if hundreds of thousands of us girls did this? I'm singling out stay at home moms in this, because that's what I am, but you don't have to even be a Mom or wife at all to be an educated consumer! We research who we want to vote for in the presidential elections, why don't we do the same thing with the corporations who receive our money on a day to day level? Gas stations. Grocery Stores. Clothing companies. Think of the huge difference we could make in this country if we just educated ourselves on who is REALLY getting our money??

Lucky for you, and me, there's an app for that! It's called 2nd Vote.
Check out Or go to this link to download it

2nd Vote is an incredible tool that rates companies based on their conservative values. The App categorizes their "scorecard" either by industries OR issues. It then allows you to vote and promise your support of these companies that share your values.

Got Christmas presents to buy? Want to support companies that actually recognize Christmas? 2nd Vote's got ya covered! Here is a list of companies compiled by 2nd Vote who recognize Christmas, and those who don't.
I know what you're going to ask! Does Missy use this App? She sure does!! At first she didn't know what an App was, but she's pretty savvy these days when it comes to her iphone! Sometimes we even facetime. She's so hip!

Thanks for listening to me ramble folks! Check out this super fun app! Download it, and start making a difference.
And if you think about it, go wish Missy a Merry Christmas :) The educated consumer, before it was cool!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

10 weeks was enough

I had lots of plans for this week. Monday was the Science Center with the kids and Chris to see the new Elmo exhibit. Tuesday morning was my incredible Mom's Bible Study at church. We had thought after naps on Tuesday we would take the kids to IKEA to get me some fun stuff to organized my laundry room. It was my birthday week so that's what I wanted-organized laundry! But why did I want an organized laundry room? Because I was 10 weeks pregnant with our third baby. When I'm pregnant, I thrive on projects that keep me organized. I nest all 9 months! Drives Chris nuts. On Thursday we had a fun play date to see our old neighbors and I was so excited to talk about this third pregnancy with them. Friday was my birthday! I would be 26. So blessed at 26, with three babies, a sweet husband, precious friends, and an amazing church. So very, very blessed. It had been such a season of encouragement for me over the past few months. A season filled with incredible community through our church and our sweet friends. My cup, was, and is overflowing. But at 1pm on Tuesday it all came crashing down on me. My body, gave me away. My finite body, made of clay, 26 years old, my body that was just showing signs of a third pregnancy, let me know that things were not okay. Very suddenly that afternoon, I saw signs of a miscarriage. I tried to walk into the living room to tell Chris we needed to go to the hospital, but I made it halfway before I began weeping. My precious friend Jessie (who was there to keep Ben for me when we had Christopher Robin) showed up soon at the front door with her two little guys in tow, to keep our boys while we headed to Winnie Palmer. I felt such a different wave of emotions come over me as I said good bye to the boys and headed to the hospital. Completely different feeling than when I left Ben with Jessie to bring him home a baby brother. We got in the car and I could not form sentences. My sadness had swept over me. And Chris has learned in the years we've been married, that my instincts are never wrong. He just held my hand. We parked and Chris was walking really fast to get to labor and delivery triage. I begged him to slow down. I could feel I was losing this baby with every step. I just wanted to slow down, I wasn't ready. I needed more time. We finally made it to triage, got in a room, and a doctor confirmed that our baby was gone and I was most likely experiencing a miscarriage. She held my hand as tears fell down my face, told me how sorry she was. "You don't understand" I told her. "I was made for this. I love my babies". She started to tear up and walked out so Chris and I could have some time. I curled into a ball, and felt deep, gut wrenching sobs take over my body as Chris held me. I know life, and I know death, so very well. They are both incredibly intertwined in my life. But I just wasn't ready for this loss. This sweet little life growing in me, leaving my body before it was my time for her to leave. We came home, and I walked through the miscarriage over the next few days. I've never felt such physical pain, and grief at the same time. I felt like it was happening to someone else. Surely, this wasn't my body going through this! I had two healthy babies already! Miscarriages don't happen to people like me. But they do sweet friends. They do. I cried more than I've cried in a very long time. And the truth in all of this, is that I'v felt this grief before. No, not the loss of a child from my own body, but the loss of a brother. As the waves of grief overwhelmed me as each pain hit my body, reminding me, that my sweet baby was gone, I recalled that I've felt loss before. I've felt grief. And I know this to be true even in the midst of real pain and real sadness: 10 weeks was enough. 10 weeks was what brought the Lord glory. 10 weeks seems too short. Not enough time I kept saying. I need more. More. More. More. Please. But our sweet baby was already in glory. While I was weeping in pain and begging for the miscarriage to stop, the Lord has already taken our precious baby into his arms. Our baby knew no pain. She was dancing in the arms of her Uncle Ben, before the King. 10 weeks glorified Him best. 10 weeks was enough time. I find myself very weak and feeling so empty now. I hope to take the next few weeks and months, slowly. My prayer is that we will allow ourselves the grace to grieve this sweet baby. I'll leave you with a quote from Jim Elliot: "So I put you on the altar...But what is to be done with the ashes?" Out of the ashes, beauty will rise.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crunchy Momma

Well friends. This has been a LONG time in coming. Three years of living in Florida have made me one crunchy Momma! It really shouldn't come as a surprise to me. I was RAISED by a crunchy momma, before it was cool. My Mom made home made bread, grind-ed (ground??) her own wheat. She and Jimmy had an INCREDIBLE organic garden. We had free range chickens. Horses. She was always trying to get us to take our daily vitamins. She was "amaze-zing" as Ben says. She was super Mom before that became a thing. So really, I owe most of my crunchy ways to Mimsey. By the way, all this talking about my incredible Momma has me watching this HILARIOUS video!! I'm not kidding, I die every time I watch it. It's so southern momma! Okay, now that you've relived my early 20's with me while watching Miranda Lambert mess up her hair... Let's get into the REAL stuff. Trust me, you don't want to wait around to hear me start gushing about Eric Church. It gets a little ridiculous. So...People are always asking me about our crazy lifestyle. No, not the children who run down the street naked with me screaming behind them. The Real Food Lifestyle. Since this is a TON of info, I'm going to break this into four blog post: This first post is introducing you to the basics of WHAT we eat. 2. WHERE we get our fod. 3.HOW we afford it. and 4.How I make the time to make all this crazy stuff. and I'll be posting recipes as well. THIS book pretty much gives you every thing you need to know about REAL food. It is amazing. And it will also blow your mind. Fat is GOOD for you?! You betcha! Raw milk?! Not gross. Downright yummy. So go buy this book if you want healthy babies, a better immune system, and you want to look and feel..nicer? Nicer is good.Trust me. Also- it's got all the science-y stuff in there that I'm too hyper to sit down and type out as to WHY we eat like this. Just read the book. It's wonderful. So without further ado; Here are the basics of the Merrifield fam diet: Grass fed beef Pastured chickens We cook in grassfed butter, coconut oil, and beef tallow or pork lord. (are you jumping out of your chair right now because I said lard?! It's a scary word I know) We drink home made kombucha (flavored with some amazing fruit combos so far. Blackberry strawberry and blueberry cherry have been so yummy! My tummy is pretty happy) iced herb tea sweetend with local raw honey and raw milk. We actually go through THREE gallons of raw milk a week. Christopher Robin has a raw milk problem. Do they have meetings for that?? I think the first step is admitting that you have a problem... I make hot chocolate with the milk for Ben and he drinks a cup every morning. SO YUMMY! We eat about 2 dozen eggs a week. Free Range y'all. Free range eggs are actually preferred over organic. We boil em', scramble em', fry em' get the picture! Breakfast is our big meal around here since Chris isn't home for dinner because of work. I make home made chicken broth with left over chicken, and any veggie scraps lying around. It's SO good for you. It seriously heals you! I make home made yogurt in my crockpot with raw milk. And I'm super excited to be making kefir for smoothies soon. We buy our local and organic produce from an amazing place called Market Place Deliveries. they deliver produce to our doorstep every Saturday! If you DO live in our area, I highly recomend these guys, and if you join my virtual co-op we ALL get great discounts! But if you don't live in Orlando, check out your local farmers market OR even craigslist! You'd be surprised what you find. Instead of snack foods, we eat A LOT or organic popcorn. I buy it in bulk and pop it on the stove in butter, bacon fat, or butter with a little sea salt. DELISH. The boys love natural peanut butter. We buy it with two ingrediants. Peanuts. and Salt. Then I mix in local raw honey. We sweeten coffee, granola, oatmeal, yogurt, hot chocolate, home made chocolate bark and chocolate syrup with Grade B Maple syrup. We LOVE grass fed cheese! Cook with it, and I cut it into cheese sticks for snacks for the men. For baked goods, I sweeten with succant. I but it in bulk from amazon. And last but not least, I make home made bread, which is soaked before I bake it. MUCH better four little bellies! I think that sums up the basics! This type of eating is wonderful for our immune systems, it keeps mine and Chris's weight at a normal range, and it's so good for our sweet babies too. Plus, what's nice about eating this way, is you don't starve! You eat when you're hungry! No diets around here. They make me wild and mean. Also, speaking of wild, sometimes when I get hungry and mean Chris says I act like the wife in this vidoe:

Monday, May 20, 2013

An ode to Wilbur. And Dallas Cheerleaders...

I had GRAND plans for my first blog post after a very long hiatus. I was going to write about our Real Food lifestyle, Ben's behavioral issues and the drastic changes we've made as a family, but honestly, I have to first blog about what happened today. At the grocery story.. No I'm not kidding. I'm a stay at home Momma people! All my exciting life stuff happens at the grocery store. Or at the park y'all. I'm not 21 anymore. 25 is a whole different level of wild. Today, Chris was sick, and it was starting to rain as soon as naps were over. So I thought I'd be a nice wife, let C get a little nap in and I'd take the kids to buy uncurred bacon at Publix. I'm not even kidding. Publix is the most exciting thing. EVER. We get free cookies. We get to get out of the house. And Ben and I get to watch Christopher Robin almost hyperventilate from excitement over getting a balloon. Oh sweet, sweet Christopher Robin. Anyway, we made a little pit stop at 7-11 first to get gas. Mimsey (Momma Missy) called and we got to discuss buying a cow with her. Her one question was "Well. How much beef do y'all actually eat?!" And all I could say was "A lot. We are actually on our way to buy bacon" which lead to her asking "Well, are you buying a cow..or Wilbur?" Oh Mimsey. She's so wise. And she seems to be able to keep her edible animals straight, unlike Momma Mk over here! As soon as we got gas, got off the phone with Mimsey, and got out of the van at Publix, the heavens opened up. It started to POUR down rain. We forgot Ben's shoes (Waiting on my Mother of the Year award) so as we walked into Publix, Ben was on my back and Christopher Robin found himself clinging for dear life to my hip. Moments like that, I bet he wishes Momma was a big girl. There's not a lot to cling to these days! We found our "car" cart as Ben calls it, and made our way straight to the bacon aisle. We ain't playin' y'all. We LOVE our apple gate bacon. Right as I was searching the bacon display, a Publix employee walked up. Some young guy. I say young guy, but I think he was like 27. I just felt old at that point..because let's face it, I picked the wrong day to wear a maxi dress. It was so wet from the rain, it probably weighed more than I did at that point. The poor guy took one look at me and stammered "Um. Do you need, like a towel? Or something to dry off with?" Now before I could politely decline, Ben decided now would be a good idea to do his best impression of me on drugs. (I don't do drugs, but this is how I picture myself high on pot) and he started to laughed louder than I've eve heard him (kid's got lungs!) and point. He specifically was pointing at the poor Publix employee and laughing. Louder and louder. Oh Ben.... I guess he made the Publix guy so nervous, the guy ran away pretty quickly. Bless his heart. We walked around the rest of the store, just trying to kill some time. And I kept wondering how I could keep my maxi dress from dragging me down (these are the super serious thoughts of a Momma of two toddlers) and I kept making myself laugh, imaging tying up my dress to try and look something like a Dallas Texas Cheerleader top. The funny thing is, I feel like I walk through life with her exact expression. Maybe I need to really re-think my wardrobe. hahahaha! Just kidding... But since I was looking a like more like a drowned rat, I ended up just tying the ends up in two knots so I could walk, and hoped we didn't see anymore we knew. We walked outside just as the rain seemed to be letting up- and it happened AGAIN! The rain poured down. At this point Ben was yelling so loud about the "RAIN!!!" I couldn't hear myself think. I finally thought to look over at my second born, and he wasn't making a sound. Just hanging out. Watching his romper get more and more soaked. Sweet little guy...Love him. We got in the car, I put the key in the ignition, and wouldn't you know it, Sammy Kershaw's song (I like classic country guys! No judgement please) came on "Don't go near the water" Lemme just regale you with a few lines so you can appreciate the irony of it all: Your mama used to worry about that big muddy river She should've worried about me Cause we were sure enough gettin' our feet wet mama But we didn't go near the water Oh Sammy.. Good thing I didn't learn this lesson! My two wet babies in the back seat are proof. But, one lesson was learned: No more publix outings when it looks like potential downpour. We don't want to scare the employees anymore than usual. Or get our feet wet for that matter. That's all folks! Hopefully, we can discuss drier, and more serious topics at a later date.