… as you love yourself. (oops.)

Self-care. I hear about it everywhere. And I mostly tune it out.

Blah, blah, blah. Get a massage. Get your nails done. Take time for YOU. Do what YOU love. Blah blah blah. Pbbbbbbbbbt!

Well. Turns out, it might not be such a bad idea after all.

I’ve probably (okay, not probably) taken a wee bit too much pride in the fact that I would much rather love my neighbor than love myself. When that’s not what Jesus told us to do.

Love your neighbor AS you love yourself. 

What does AS mean? Without looking it up, I’m going to say what I know.

Love your neighbor WHILE you’re loving yourself.

Love your neighbor AS MUCH as you love yourself.

Love your neighbor THE SAME WAY you love yourself.

Not: Love your neighbor while you completely neglect yourself and then have a complete mental breakdown and watch everything you’ve tried to do/be/accomplish come crashing down and be ruined forever.

Here is the HONEST DEAL (as honest as I can be while reserving my family’s relative privacy):

We are a little bit of a hot mess.

(Even if, right now on this pretty Sunday morning, everything FEELS fine. Oh, I must be imagining things. We’re FINE! We’re GREAT! We’re so FINE! Carry on!)

I am going to set aside my current feelings of fine and refer to the page in my journal where, two days ago, I wrote down every mental, physical, and spiritual ailment one or more of us have suffered from this year (and many are ongoing).

Since we moved to Cambodia in January 2015, I want to say we’ve been relatively healthy. Just three quick visits to a clinic in 14 months (Ava’s ripped-off toenail and two of Gabe’s three moto accidents). But when I actually make a list of everything we’ve dealt with on our own (sometimes “successfully” and sometimes not), it seems a little much.

And I am going to put out an official cry for help. We need (in no specific order): 1.) people encouraging us. 2.) people praying for us. 3.) people helping us financially so we can afford the things that will keep us healthy and whole.

First, a list of things we’ve been through/are going through (without naming names). Then, some specific challenges of living in Cambodia. Finally, some ideas we have for making it better.

The List of Maladies:

  • ear infection/clogged ears
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea (LOTS of diarrhea)
  • lice
  • mild depression
  • not-mild depression
  • mild anxiety
  • severe anxiety
  • heat rash
  • wound infection
  • fever
  • itching/burning in not-fun places
  • PMS
  • pre- and post-PMS (that one’s me)
  • headaches
  • pretty bad headaches
  • back pain
  • debilitating back pain
  • positional vertigo
  • tooth pain (and root canal) (also me)
  • heartburn
  • rash (most likely from laundry soap)
  • red, irritated eyes
  • some skin things we should probably check out
  • turning 40 and haven’t been to a gynecologist since Nina was born (me–ha!)
  • bug bites (LOTS of bug bites)
  • allergic reaction to chili peppers
  • really sore muscles
  • did I already say diarrhea?
  • mental/emotional stress/overwhelmedness

Challenges with Living in Cambodia:

  • There are a lot of chemicals in things (same as America). In the laundry detergent, in the cleaning supplies, in the seasonings they use in their food.
  • We eat a LOT of white rice and overcooked vegetables (every day for lunch and sometimes dinner), neither of which have a ton of nutrients. (we also eat quite a bit of fresh stuff)
  • When you are really hot and really tired and really stressed, it’s very easy to reach for a can of Cold Sprite and a bag of really expensive MnMs to help you feel better.
  • Life is busy and overwhelming, and there really isn’t time for self-care. (I KNOW I KNOW WE HAVE TO MAAAAAAKE TIME.)
  • Not to defend my previous point, but you really can’t imagine how much longer EVERYTHING takes here. Like EVERYTHING. We need way more hours in our day.
  • We just don’t have access to a lot of stuff here that might help us get healthy.
  • I’m sure there are more, but I’m drawing a blank.

Here’s what I’m doing (so far) to make our family’s health and emotional well-being more of a priority. But, as of right now, most of it just a list on a page. We don’t have the resources (like, the money OR a way to get it) yet, AND I don’t want to make snap decisions, so we’re praying for wisdom and talking to people we trust. AND we’ll be in the States just 87 days from now (for two months) so we have time to make a plan and can stock up on things we need when we get there.

Some Ideas We Have for Staying Healthy and Whole:

    • More essential oils. We have some, and we’ve used them (topically, orally, in a diffuser) for different things, and they seem to help. We love the smells and I love that they come from nature.
    • Find laundry detergent and cleaning supplies that don’t have chemicals in them. I know these exist, but they are PRICY. And our house is HUGE and so is the center.
    • We’re talking right now to friends who use/sell Plexus. We’ve heard some good stuff about it, and our friend was telling us how we can get 3-4 people to buy it too, and ours would be free.
    • We’re talking to another friend about Juice Plus. Same kind of deal.
    • We know a counselor who specializes in families who live overseas. We met her last year and took her card and said, “Yeah, maybe if we have any problems ever…” Right now there’s no wiggle room in the budget for monthly (or more frequently) counseling.
    • We’re talking about the things that recharge each of us and working on ways to make those happen on a more regular basis.
    • We’re researching vitamins and supplements that specifically help with depression but also some other things.
    • Someone gave us some special toothpaste (from the U.S.) that’s super awesome at fighting tooth decay. We will need more soon.
    • A sweet, amazing friend has her own organic soap/candle/etc business in Ohio and just got her website up and running (it’s not finished yet–I’ll share it when it is!). She is giving 10% of her profits to our family!! And some products too. (we’d love to buy more and have natural stuff in our home and bathroom here)
    • We just bought a second moto (with 3 months’ rent we didn’t have to pay from January -March) which will give us more freedom to get places (that’s been really hard).
    • We’re working on re-thinking the way we think/feel about things. Like, feeling guilt for things that we shouldn’t. Feeling like the burdens of the world rest on our shoulders. Feeling like we have to accomplish great things in short periods of time.
    • We’re making plans to actually spend money (guilt-free–this is the hard part!) on things that fill our emotional tanks (different for each of us). Things like beautiful journals, t-shirts with a cause, camera lenses, music, fun apps, cold drinks, Mexican food, books, gifts to give family & friends in the States, pizza, coffee dates, movies.
    • We’re going to ignore the creeper/stalker people who will inevitably comment on this post with things like, “All you do is ask people for money so you can spend it on yourselves. You’re pathetic.” SCRAM, TOXIC STALKER. GO BE A BUTTHOLE SOMEWHERE ELSE. THANK YOU.”

Whew. That felt good.

So. Here’s what we’re asking of you:

  • pray for us.
  • share advice/wisdom/words of encouragement with us.
  • tell us about things that have worked for you.
  • let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to sponsor something that will help us get/stay healthy.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

25 thoughts on “… as you love yourself. (oops.)

  1. Jill Hammonds

    Hi Marla
    I have a bag of soap nuts I’d be happy to mail to you if you’d like. They are non toxic, all natural for washing clothes and safe for the environment.
    Would just need to know where/how to mail them to you.

  2. Pingback: sooooo… how’s the self-care going?? – Marla Taviano

  3. sharyn

    just enjoyed listening to your podcast on AOS. and noting all the challenges you are finding here! Just a quick heads up.. i have some kefir grains here (i live about 3+ hours from SR, and a friend in SR gave me some) if ever you want to start that probiotic happening in your house. also you can get super cheap borax and baking soda (to make washing soda) in PP.. i need to source a supplier in SR still – this makes a pretty decent laundry detergent although I can’t ever get my kid’s clothes clean out here. Good luck. love what you are doing and how you are all jumping into life here.

  4. Tina

    Gah! Marla! I’m SO passionate about taking care of you. It’s my heart. The passion God gave me. And I love praying for people who want to work on rest, taking time for you. So, I’ll be praying.

    Juice Plus keeps coming up for me, recently (taking the hint, God 😉). I have a friend who wants me to check it out too. But, how can I help you there? It’s something I’d be interested in for my own family. You’ll let me know if/how/what I can do in this area???

  5. Anji Stauffer

    I pray for you and your family every day! How can we help you best? Sending a care package of things you mentioned? I want to help so let me know how I can do this! Email me or message me through FB ❤️ For real!! May Jesus continue to protect you and encourage you all and fill you with His perfect
    Peace ❤️❤️

  6. C. Preth

    If you are using Young Living oils they also make a wonderful cleaner, Thieves, and they have great toothpaste. (I love their laundry soap but it is expensive). If you’ll be in our area I would love to help.

  7. Nadine

    Marla, I have a deep appreciation for the comforts you have sacrificed to give people the love of Jesus. Unfortunately I cannot help you with any of the physical needs or advice at this time, but I can pray and I will. Love you, sister!

  8. Rachel Marx

    I also have kefir grain. All you need is milk and a mason jar. Has changed all of our lives. I promise it will help the bowels.

  9. Rachel Marx

    I would like to help with essential oils! I can help with sleep, digestive issues, headaches, anxiety and things smelling good (and illness and allergies and a million things) Do you have favorites?

  10. Christine

    Marla- sounds like you are completely exhausted. Understandably so. So glad you are exploring what it looks like to figure out what self-care looks like for you guys. How much is family counseling per session for you guys with the counselor you mentioned? Including transportation? Also, have you heard of spiritual direction? I’ve been quietly reading along and praying for you guys … As I have this has come up a couple of times so I thought it worth mentioning. Either way, still praying, praying, praying!

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      The counselor would do our sessions via Skype, so no transportation. I’m looking into the cost. Yes, I’ve heard of spiritual direction. Very intriguing. Thanks so so much for praying!

  11. Jess

    Not at all sure how this would work with your laundry situation but look into soup nuts a little but goes a long way and not very expensive so might be a good option. Also not sure what is avalible there but plain old white vinigar is as effective as bleach it you can afford it essential oils help but it will clean with out it just won’t smell as good.
    Prodiotics are essential if you can’t but that kind of thing see if you can both water and milk kefir grains they make more as you use it so the intail cost isn’t too bad knowing they quickly double and give you great gut health (kumbutcha is simaler and I think would use ingredients you would have there). If you are still vegetarian you probably need B vitamins which I find when I don’t take mine I get much more anxious not sure how you could get them there but maybe stock up when your home? Is Amazon prime an option at all? Sorry don’t mean to bombard you I can share more ideas if you need them please feel free to ask! Praying for you guys. Let go of the guilt even Jesus left his ministry and took time for self care.

    1. Jess

      Sorry one more thing: activated charcoal is one thing I would not ever want to be without it can be used on bites to help them and taken in water to help with stomach issues again not sure how to get you this stuff but at least knowing what to look into getting may help…

    2. Marla Taviano Post author

      Thanks so so much, Jess! Several people have recommended Soap Nuts. I’m going to try them!

      Thanks for all the advice. I’m copying/pasting it all in an Evernote document for easy reference. 🙂

  12. Anne Fickel

    I hear you honey! I’m so glad to hear you are human and need to have some “me” time!;)

    Products. Healthy one. Check out Melalueca company. I couldn’t find if they ship to the bodia but you need to check out their products (maybe someone is selling their products on eBay) bc they are concentrated and you get a ton of use out of them.. you use 2 oz. and mix w water in a spray bottle. They are non toxic and clean well. Also…toothpaste and lip balm and soap. ALL super great and have healing benefits of Melalueca essential oil in everything!

    I think you guys are doing a wonderful thing. I’m praying the peace of God and a big ole mighty hedge of protection around you from the enemies schemes. Satan (be bound in the name of Jesus!) doesn’t want you to be at peace. But God is bigger!!

    Listen to Eric Pickerell’s message on Vineayrd Columbus website from this weekend. It’s on being courageous! Love it for you bunch of courageous peeps!!

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