Friday, October 4, 2013

A Mothers Heart

How can I describe the feelings that course through a mothers heart. The joy, the pain, the sadness, the fierce protectiveness and of course the love.

The moment a mother learns of her pregnancy, a seed is planted in her heart that will eventually turn it into a "mother's heart". We go from a carefree girl to a woman who can never again spend one waking moment without thoughts of her children. A woman whose heart can be so filled with love or heartbreak that it physically pains us.

I recently read this quote ~ "making a decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body". Elizabeth Stone. How true are these words. Each child holds a piece of mothers heart, but will every child treasure and protect that heart?

We learn that we can endure the pain during the teen years, when our children are preparing to leave the nest. They are testing the waters of independence, learning to make their own decisions, form their own judgements and stand apart from the family unit. Sometimes their choices can be heart wrenching, but as mothers we have to trust that what we have taught them as children will not be forgotten even through the tempestuous years of rebellion. We must remember that rebellion is but a tool to help them on their journey to adulthood when they will make their own decisions and move towards creating their own family unit.

But, you may wonder just how much can a mothers heart endure? It seems an almost indestructible organ. Having watched my own mother raise six children and the enormity of heartbreak she suffered, the death of my oldest sister, the terrible illness of another, watching some of her children go through divorce, the difficulties of challenging children and yet she lived a full life. Even in the final days of her life her mothers heart was visible through her dementia as she displayed enormous concern for the safety and well being of her children.

I have learned through raising two children to pick my battles wisely. That one decision can make or break a relationship with a child and ease the heart pain somewhat through tempestuous years.

But how does a mother cope with the child who turns away, the child with addictions, or the child who takes their own life? How does a mother turn off that heart pain and go on with life? I cannot imagine cutting my child out of my life, but the mother of addict sometimes must do that. I recently read the blog of a mother to an addict. She talks of the many emotions, hurt being one of them. "Hurt is one of the emotions that never fully dissipates. Usually I am able to put the hurt aside and shield myself. Occasionally, however, it jumps out at me. I have never hurt like I had while suffering through my son’s active addiction. For me, it is a hurt that even overshadows the death of a loved one. I spent a long time with this emotion. For many years I couldn’t separate the disease in my son from my son himself. His addiction was a personal affront and I held onto very deeply. The pain from this emotion took me to places I wish I never would have seen. This was the hardest to reconcile within myself. Hurt was the most destructive emotion for me and it drove my life."

But then the joy, overwhelming love for your child. It's euphoric, dare I say addictive and when that child becomes a parent and give you grandchildren your heart is filled once again to overflowing with the enormity of the love and protectiveness you feel for this new life. Knowing they are not your own child, but your child's child creates a different feeling in your mothers's heart. This time around, you are experienced, you've done this before. So you think, "I can handle whatever comes my way." But you are not prepared for the depth of love, the fiercely protective instinct you feel towards this new life but also for your child who created this life. Now you watch your child experience the heart pain of being a mother, you feel her pain but there is nothing you can do to fix it. When she was a tender age, a kiss or a hug would fix everything, but now.....

So you continue on, the heart pain is now just part of who you are, always there in the background waiting to makes its appearance like a thief in the night. You wake up and there it is, the ability to turn it off is nonexistent, it permeates your every cell, you breath it in, you breath it out - it is who you are.

This heart, my mother's heart, what a strong organ. It has withstood nearly 40 years of this heart pain and yet it still takes care of my body, quietly working in the background providing the very lifeblood that supplies every cell in my body with oxygen. What a miracle and what a privilege as a woman that we can experience this heart pain. Be it joy, be it sadness, be it hurt ~ these all help us grow and learn in this amazing journey called life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Year of Firsts

Yesterday marked the last first in my year of firsts since my mom passed away July 18th, 20012. The first anniversary of her death.

It has been a difficult year enduring her first birthday, our first Christmas without Nannie, a first Mother's Day that I couldn't remind her how much I loved her and then yesterday, the first anniversary of her death.

Memories flooded in and out of my mind all day, her last day in the hospital before she died. The pain she endured, the pain we all endured watching her suffer. Watching as she slowly slipped into a coma which blessedly gave her peace to transition to her next journey. How privileged we were as we stood touching her, letting her feel our love and then sending her home surrounded with that love. She left this life knowing how loved she was.

Mother's Day this year ~ how can I explain my first Mother's Day without my mother? It is next to impossible. This woman who give me life, who nurtured me, who loved me, who hated me sometimes I'm sure, was my biggest cheerleader, wiped my brow when I was sick, sat up at night massaging my calves when I was crying with leg cramps, washed, folded and put away my laundry every week until the day I moved out, looked after me and my new babies, lived a moral life and gave me a woman I am proud to be told I resemble in looks and mannerisms. She also gave me a bodacious butt which I am not quite as thankful for...

I remember waking up Mother's Day, wanting to pick up the phone to give her a call which I always did first thing on Mother's day. This year there was no card, no gift wrapped to bring out to her which I knew would bring a smile to her face. There was only emptiness especially in my heart. There would be no visit for a coffee or a special lunch. There would be no Mother's day brunch at the Court. I recall one year surprising her with all of my husbands brothers, their wives and children and his mom and dad who my mom really enjoyed spending time with. She was genuinely surprised and I was gratified that I could give her that.

Mom was very organized and had her Christmas shopping long done before she passed away. A few days before her death, she told me to make sure I wrapped the presents for everyone at Christmas. They were only small tokens but a very large reminder once given and opened of the huge loss we all were all sharing. Christmas felt wrong this year without her.

Don and I always kept her with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On her first Christmas after dad died we woke up, made coffee and sat down to open our stockings. I gave her one and tears sprang to eyes. I asked her why she was crying and she told me that was the first stocking she had ever had in her life. I learned so much about my mom that I had never known in those last few years. In her stocking one year, I put a miniature Royal Doulten figurine she had admired in a jewelry store. She was so surprised I had remembered how much she had liked it and couldn't believe that I went back to the store and got it for her. Now that little lady sits in my curio cabinet and I remember that precious moment every time I look at her.

When I go out these days I notice mothers and daughters and how fortunate those daughters are to have a mom. Even if she drives that daughter crazy, she won't be there forever. I wish I had remembered that fact when I got annoyed with my mom, her forgetfulness and the amount of work it was to be her primary caregiver.

Now that my year of firsts is over, I can move on to learning how to be motherless, learn how to be the respected head of my family as I realize that I am the matriarch of my family. I see how life and time continue to march forward, relentless like ocean waves that constantly wash ashore reminding me that I am moving closer to the time when I too will make my journey home.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thoughts on Friendship

I wrote this post a few years ago on friendship. With my emotional and spiritual growth this year I wanted to revisit this subject.

What do friends mean to you?

What makes a friendship?

What draws us to particular people and not to others?

In the past year I have met numerous people through my calling to Reiki. These connections were instant, deep, loving and at a soul level.

Why do we connect instantly with some but not others?

We feel this instant connection and yet in other relationships there is no depth. Time spent together produces those uncomfortable moments or lapses in conversation. Do emotions play a role here ~ are there resentments ~ jealousy ~ bitterness that resides so deeply they can't be identified yet somehow put up a wall that is difficult to get over?

With the change I have gone through in my perceptions, I find attractions are much deeper than simply ~ I like you. Our emotions play a role in how we psychically present. Recently I took part in an interesting experiment. Using a crystal my Reiki master stood about twelve feet away from me. Working through the different layers of my aura, she discovered that mine was vibrating nearly eight feet away from me. However, when I induced a sad or negative thought, it shrunk down to only one foot outside of my physical body. Could this be why the attraction to some and not others? When we enter a room full of people there are some we barely see and others that we are attracted to instantly.

Our energetic vibrations when produced from positive thoughts make us attractive to other souls that are also vibrating at this level. I can offer an example here. I know someone who vibrates at such a low level and projects such a black and negative energy, that I can barely stand to be in their personal space.

As physical bodies with a thinking brain though we are often not in touch with our higher self. So I offer thoughts on the more obvious reasons for these connections. As humans we need reasons for "why".

Maybe the deep connection that is felt instantly is something as basic as our likes & dislikes.

Maybe these connections start from the ever so basic first impression. Research states that your first impression is made within nine seconds. Could that also influence the possible friendship?

A dear friend who lives hundreds of miles away from me is one of those unexplainable connections. We have known each other for over 20 years. We share the odd email and occasional phone call. Years ago I went to visit her. Our conversation started when I arrived and didn't stop until I left. It was like we had never been apart. How can that be when we don't constantly refresh that friendship on a regular basis? The connection just remains constant.

These new wonderful friendships in my life have really made me think deeply about why some relationships work so well and so comfortably while others, although the love is there, present those uncomfortable moments where participating in meaningful conversation is almost painful.

Or, maybe it is me ~ I have undergone such an amazing transformation this year. I have opened to new ideas, new possibilities. I am light and I am love. My empathic and intuitive abilities have expanded and deepened. New friends that I have connected with are also at this heightened state of awareness. We share deeply with each other ~ sharing that has no price. I have learned to simply accept this unconditional love which in the end makes me a better friend as well.

Everything in life happens for a reason ~ these new and deepened relationships are here to strengthen my resolve, help me in my emotional and spiritual growth. Older friendships no longer serving my higher purpose are falling away. I can liken my rebirth if you will to the tree which once stripped of its' foliage stands prepared to endure the harshness of the winter, only to burst forth with new growth and beauty with the promise of spring.

The clay cannot become the beautiful porcelain until it goes through the intense fires of the kiln ...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reiki Speaks ~ To Me

Where do I begin to extol the virtues of Reiki?

Early this year it whispered my name. I answered the call, by ordering a distance Reiki level I course with one distant attunement.

Could I do this thing called Reiki? I did not know, so I did not want to invest a lot of money ~ just in case.

I watched the DVD and received my attunement. On the night of my attunement, I experienced a tingling that started in the top of my head and worked its' way down through my entire body.

Then I was invited to join a Reiki healing circle. I along with another level I channel, a level II channel and a master shared thoughts and feelings and gave and received reiki. I received my first Reiki treatment that night and was overwhelmed by the power of the energy coursing through my body.

When I started this journey, I had much to work on ~ emotionally, physically and spiritually. I have faithfully self healed with Reiki daily since my original attunement.

Working with the energy, both I and my master realized I was not fully opened to Reiki energy, so she attuned me four more times. What a difference in my ability to channel the energy after her attunements. The palms of my hands which sparked after the distant attunement were now alive with energy, singing a beautiful song. Even the soles of my feet were humming.

As I work with Reiki, I feel old habits, thought processes and patterns, negativity, anger, resentments and criticisms fall away like leaves from a tree as winter encroaches. These negative patterns that no longer serve my higher purpose have dropped away as a water droplet that once released from a flower petal is gone forever. Negative emotions once bound to my heart are stripped away revealing a heart lightened with love. The energy now flows in and through my entire body, chakras are no longer blocked, they are spinning in perfect harmony, chi ~ the very essence of me is beautifully flowing like a river free of encumbrances.

I have witnessed these miraculous changes in myself and also in others through this universal energy.

My husbands father who was hospitalized after a fall which fractured his neck was not expected to live the family was told. Lying in a bed uncommunicative, intubated, a feeding tube surgically placed in his abdomen he had no quality of life. But then Reiki energy was given and taken. He is now sitting up in a chair daily reading the newspaper.

I am constantly humbled by the power of Reiki.

Every time I receive Reiki, I experience more and more healing. The voice of Reiki speaks louder and louder, calling to me to continue moving forward in my journey. Level II is in my very near future and then I will begin to prepare myself to hold the position of master so that I too may share this miraculous gift with others, mentoring and nurturing students of Reiki the way my master mentors and nurtures me.

I am so grateful that I listened when Reiki whispered my name and Grateful that I answered the call. I have finally emerged and I like who I am becoming ~ the butterfly that had been ensconced in a chrysalis for a lifetime has finally broken free. Like an eagle, I am soaring to new heights, heights I never dreamt possible.

I am Reiki ~

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grief ~ The Loss of a Mother

What is grief? It is a question that eludes an answer until you suffer a loss. You cannot comprehend the depths of despair until you suffer that loss.

You attend a funeral to support a friend and you go through the motions. "I'm so sorry for your loss", you say, but do you know how they feel? No, you cannot understand until you experience a loss.

When my father died and my mom cried constantly, fell into a depression, did not want to eat, I couldn't understand her grief. I still don't as I have my partner and cannot understand the loss of a husband or wife yet.

But when my mom died, in that second that she took her last breath, I understood a loss. The loss a child feels when their mother dies. My mother who I had known even in her womb. I knew her thoughts, I felt her emotion, I felt her pains. In that moment, I lost part of my heart, lost the one person in life who loved me unconditionally and I knew would defend me to the death.

A mother ~ we love her we hate her. But she is the only person to whom we have that bond, a physical bond that even a father cannot understand or feel. A part of our body is ripped away when she dies.

Feelings that have lain dormant come bubbling to the surface in the days following the death. Tears are constantly threatening, where do they come from, it seems there is a never ending supply to freshly attack at a moments notice. There is no rhyme or reason for the tears. It can happen in your home or it can happen in public, it evens happens in your sleep. You may be in a store and see something that triggers a flood of memories, bringing on a fresh onslaught of tears.

Having gone through two difficult weeks following a catastrophic fall which ultimately led to my mothers death, I felt like I was falling, deeper and deeper into a pit of depression. I knew it was happening, but I didn't want to take off this comfortable blanket of grief, sadness or depression which laid deep in my own personal hell.

But then, suddenly there was a small opening in my clouds of depression. A wee ray of sun shone through and you think, maybe just maybe it will get better. Waking up one morning I realized there were no tears on the pillow.

Now here I am almost one year later and I am so grateful for the time I was gifted in spending with my mom, the impromptu visits, grabbing a coffee, having lunch, shopping, enjoying a joke, seeing 
her laugh which didn't happen often after my father passed.

Being fortunate enough to be with her during her last two weeks of life, caring for her and being there, sitting with her as she took her last breath and moved on. Knowing I gave her my all, there are no regrets, only abiding love for this woman who gave me life. I am able to spend time thinking of her, even her last moments and the privilege that was mine to be with her as she transitioned to the next life.

The bond between mother and child is never broken not even by death, her love is wrapped around my heart and I now give that same attention and love to my daughter and granddaughter, who I hope some day with remember me with the same love and devotion with which I remember my mom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On Losing a Mother

Mother - she is the one with whom we experience our very first relationship. From the moment of conception we are bonded to her.

She is the first voice we hear.
The first face we see.
The first touch we feel.
She loves us unconditionally and without reservation.

So is it any wonder when we lose our mother that the loss runs so much deeper than we could imagine.

I lost my mother on July 18, 2012. She had reached the marvelous age of 87 years and 8 months.

There still are no words to describe the loss that I feel on having her ripped from my life. I was her primary caregiver for six years - helping her with all her banking/financial needs, taking her shopping, attending to all her medical appointments, ensuring her medications were properly counted and in the last year arranging for her pharmacy to use convenience packs and deliver her medications to her door. I was her liason to the outside world. If there was a medical emergency, I was there day or night. I spent one day every week with her and enjoyed a lunch at the retirement home where she lived. I even got to know her friends and enjoyed their company too.

So when she suffered a catastrophic fall in the early morning hours of July 9th, I was called to the hospital at 3:11am.We had just been at the hospital on July 7th for pain she had been suffering in her thighs for a few months. It has escalated to a point that she could not bear it any longer, so after spending 7-8 hours in emergency with no real answers, she was discharged with a prescription for strong narcotics. I remember questioning the doctor on call - would she be alright to go home where she lived alone on such a strong drug? She had already been given quite a lot at the hospital and was in and out of consciousness from it. He reassured me that she would be fine and signed the discharge. I took her home and stayed with her until the following night when I was so exhausted I had to get home for some sleep. I left her in bed, then called her at 10:15pm to ensure she was still in bed and alright.

Then came the call at 3:11am from the management where she lived. The story was sketchy, but she had fallen sometime between my phone call and midnight, suffered shock and crawled around her room looking for the emergency pull cord which she finally found around 2:00am. The fall tore chunks out of her right forearm, put her into acute renal failure and rapid onset dementia. She also was put on oxygen full time as her saturation levels would drop the moment it was removed.

So the next 11 days were spent with her writhing from the thigh pains which brought on muscle spasms every minute or so. She beat her legs begging God to take her life, then in the evenings she "sundowned" which is a term for nightly delusions/hallucinations and rather surprising bouts of strength in a dementia patient. She would call for help as she thought she had been kidnapped and insisted that we get the police to come. She would try to get out of bed, tearing at her clothes. It left me feeling so helpless, so angry, so overwhelmed with emotions I could not control myself. To witness this - my mother in such excruciating pain, such confusion, delusional and in and out of consciousness was overwhelming for me. It became so unbearable and emotionally draining for me that I too begged God to take her and stop her suffering.

Finally on July 18th, she suffered a setback and the doctor suggested to me that the family come in if they could. She was lucid enough that she was able to spend a little time with us, but slipped into unconsciousness around 6:30pm and then passed at 11:40pm.

I sat with my two sisters, my brother and my husband as we watched our mother take her final breaths. I watched as her breathing became more shallow, watched as her aura turned black. I held her hand as she took her last breath. As she left I could feel my breathing stop when she passed that moment of transition.

Was it real? Had she really died? It seemed like a dream when the nurse came in and pronounced.

Now four weeks later I am angry. Angry at Oshawa Hospital's emergency department for not keeping my mother in the hospital after administering such heavy narcotics and sending an 87 year old woman home on this same narcotic every four hours. Even the head nurse who helped me get mom into the car said, she should not be discharged in her condition.

Would she have suffered the fall and died if they had kept her? I don't know. Christians believe that our day to depart this earth is predetermined. If that is so, then maybe she could have experience an easier death under different circumstances.

Now I must look ahead and move on through the grieving process. I still wake up most mornings, sometimes in the middle of the night crying. But then life takes over and I put those tears away to get on with my days. Sometimes I want to curl up like a child and just cry my heart out for my mommy....

She was a good woman. She was a good daughter. She was a good wife and she was a good mother. Strong of character, loving and supporting only one man (my dad) for her lifetime. She loved me, nurtured me, taught me right from wrong, taught me through example how to be a kind and compassionate woman and instilled in me the ability to make beautiful things.

Thank you mom.

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart ... I'll always be with you.” 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Important but Seldom Discussed Disease

Lichen Schlerosus

A post warning. This post deals with information and graphic descriptions that may offend some readers.

Have you heard of this incurable skin disease? I hadn't either until recently, after suffering for over a decade, I was diagnosed with it.

Here's a brief description of this rather nasty disease...

Lichen sclerosus is a skin disorder that can affect men, women, or children, but is most common in women.

It usually occurs on the vulva (the outer genitalia or sex organ) in women, but sometimes develops on the head of the penis in men. Occasionally, lichen sclerosus is seen on other parts of the body, especially the upper body, breasts, and upper arms. The symptoms are the same in children and adults.

Early in the disease, small, subtle white spots appear. These areas are usually slightly shiny and smooth. As time goes on, the spots develop into bigger patches, and the skin surface becomes thinned and crinkled. As a result, the skin tears easily, and bright red or purple discoloration from bleeding inside the skin is common.

More severe cases of lichen sclerosus produce severe scarring that may cause the inner lips of the vulva to shrink and disappear, the clitoris to become covered with scar tissue, and the opening of the vagina to narrow.

My problems started a few years after a total hysterectomy. First with discomfort and burning during intercourse which proceeded to frequent tearing. Then a few years ago the tearing moved from my perenial area to my anus and was diagnosed as anal fissures. I underwent two cauterizations for them with no positive results, still frequent tearing and excruciating bowel movements. The more I tore, the harder my bm's became. So then I was also struggling with severe constipation. It wasn't long before intimate relations with my husband became impossible. even wiping after urinating caused tearing. Every time I saw my gynacologist, he said, " this is a normal part of aging, thinning skin, learn to live with it". I should at this point have pursued another opinion as I have since discovered that not many doctors are acquainted with this disease.

Thankfully, one day at my hair stylist, we got chatting about female problems and I asked her if she was having problems with the dryness and tearing. She also had undergone a total hysterectomy. She said no, but had been diagnosed with LS years ago for which she was referred to Dr. Shier. Turned out she did not have LS, but she was impressed with him and suggested that I see this doctor. So I thank God for Catherine who steered me in the right direction. I had never even heard of LS, but needed to do something as the incessant itch with this disease was driving me to the brink of insanity, not to mention the tearing, bleeding, pain, etc...

I have recently joined two chat rooms to talk with other women suffering with this disease, which has been of tremendous help to me in coming to terms with this disease. It also makes me feel fortunate as I have not experienced the horrors that some of these women have gone through - for example surgeries to open a totally fused vagina. My fusing seems minimal compared to this.

One other side note here - it is believed by the medical communiy that LS is caused by an over active immune system. The alternative world believes that it is the toxicity in the liver that is to blame.

I am still working to control this and also to decide how to proceed from here. The doctor at Sunnybook Hospital who diagnosed me, immediately prescribed Clobetasol (a strong corticosteroid) to be used generously twice a day to reverse the fusing which is common with LS.

Wanting to try a more natural approach I did use the steroid for approximately one and one half months before switching to Perrins Complete which I faithfully use twice a day.

When I went in for my followup, the fusing had reversed on my inner labia, but my clitoris is still under scar tissue. When the doctor found out I had stopped using the steroid, he emphatically stated that my use of Perrins and not the steroid was the reason for this poor progress (in his opinion) and then walked out of the office. His nurse said Dr. Shier's instructions were that I should be monitored every six months by my family doctor. He refused to see me again as I was not following his protocol.

While I empathize with his position, he did not take my feelings into account whatsoever or even ask why I decided to stop using the steroid. I struggle regularly with a massive overgrowth of gut candida, so does it really make sense to be slathering generous amounts of steroid creams on my genital and anal area? Yeast loves and thrives on steroids! Not to mention that cortisone thins skin and I already have precariously thin skin that tears so easily. It's interesting to note, that most of the women that I chat with all use the cortisone very sparingly due to the side effect of thinning the skin.

So now, my dilemma is - how do I find a doctor who can monitor me? This disease puts me at a higher risk for vulvar cancer, so do I continue to sparingly use the steroid? Do I only use the Perrins which has given me some relief? Do I follow the toxicity screening ($400.00 charge) and liver cleanse suggested by my naturopath?

My journey to health over the past few years tells me that steroids are dangerous, but the results shown in studies by this doctor on women with LS are outstanding. And at this point I can't say whether the steroid or the Perrins is responsible for the reversal in fusing and healthier skin tissue.

I don't feel that this is something I can afford to fool around with due to the seriousness of the outcome of neglecting it. Plus I saw how quickly it professed with me before I was diagnosed.

The journey continues......

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Story - The Silver Rattle

The moon shone across the snow and pierced the darkness of the barn through the many holes worn through the old wood.

The animals stood silently in the night; their breath escaping their mouths as billowing puffs of steam.

It was Christmas eve so farmer Sam had brought in new bales of straw and extra feed for the animals. He was a kindly man, especially to his animals at Christmas time.

“After all”, he said “these animals are my best friends, they don’t ask questions and they don’t pass judgment.”

On this particular night as the moonlight shone and the stars glittered in the sky like a million diamonds, something was different in the barn. The animals were a bit more restless than usual. It was as if they sensed Christmas was close and as you all know, Christmas is a time for magic and miracles.“It’s Christmas Eve Bessie,” said Geraldine (Geraldine was Sam’s prize winning Jersey and Bessie was the oldest cow so everyone naturally listened to whatever she had to say). “And I’m going to stay up all night to see what Christmas miracle will occur. What do you think might happen?”

Bessie just nodded her head. She didn’t speak much, but all the animals loved and respected her.

Gertrude the duck was running around as usual flapping her wings making quite a lot of commotion. “I’m so excited, I don’t know what to think, where to go, what to do, oh my!”

The animals continued their discussions on just what miraculous event might occur tonight, while in the old farmhouse Sam and his wife Edna were sitting quietly by the wood stove ~ he with his paper and pipe, which incidentally was not lit, he just liked to hold it between his teeth, and she working the wool in and out of the mesh watching as her picture came to life in her hands.

Sam and Edna had been married for nearly 50 years but had never been blessed with children. The animals they cared for on their farm were their family. Never was there a farm where animals were treated so well. Every day you would find them down in the barn cleaning out the stalls, making sure the water in the trough was fresh and the feed trough was full. Even the barn cats got fresh milk every morning after the cows were milked. This was a happy farm. The animals loved Sam and Edna.

A few miles away from Sam and Edna’s farm, a young couple was running through the snow using only the moon (which was a full moon tonight) to light their way through the dense brush. They knew if they stopped, they would be found by the sheriff who was searching for them after they had stolen bread and cheese from the grocery store in town.

Ben and Emily were hungry, cold and tired. All they wanted was to find somewhere warm to sleep. To make things even more difficult, Emily was pregnant and the baby was due.
As they broke through the trees into a clearing they saw the farm in the distance. Ben took Emily’s hand. “Come on Emily, if we get to that barn, we can rest there until the morning.”

Emily’s feet were so cold she could barely feel her toes, but she knew she had to keep going.

It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, they had lived in a lovely home. Ben had worked for Emily’s parents, Edward and Madalyn Lincoln as a houseboy. But all that changed when Ben and Emily fell in love. As the Lincoln’s youngest daughter, her parents had hoped she would agree to marry Angus Campbell, the mayor’s son. So when they found out that she loved Ben, they were enraged. She told them how much she loved Ben and wanted to marry him, but they were unrelenting.

Not knowing what to do, they ran away. They spent the next few months running and hiding, pinching a little food here and there, sleeping wherever they could find shelter. But the running would have to stop soon, Emily knew the baby would be here soon and they couldn’t keep moving with a baby.

As they came closer to the barn, Emily felt a strange sensation in her stomach, something that she hadn’t felt before. Could the baby be coming? There was no doctor, how could she give birth alone? Fear came over her and her trembling intensified.

Quietly Ben slid the door to the barn open as he and Emily slipped in quietly. They didn’t want to wake anyone as they were terrified of being sent back with the sheriff. Ben would be punished and the baby would be taken away from Emily. This was not the life they wanted for themselves.

The animals moved quietly about as they came in. There was no heat in the barn but at least it provided shelter from the wind.

Ben helped Emily sit down and then went off in search of something to keep them warm. He found the fresh hay that Sam had brought in, so he dragged some over to build a shelter around them. He also found a few worn woolen blankets hanging on a hook which he wrapped around them.

There were a half dozen or so sheep standing near them. They were watching and saw how Emily was shivering.

Quietly one of the sheep said to another, “You know it’s not right, that young girl sitting there so cold, when we have all this warm wool to keep warm. Let’s go make a circle around her to warm her up.”

As Ben and Emily huddled together to stay warm, the sheep made a tight circle around them. Their warm breath and the heat of their bodies instantly warmed up Ben and Emily and they quickly fell asleep.

They slept in the warm circle of the sheep until suddenly Emily woke up with the worst pain she had ever felt in her life. “Ben, Ben, wake up, I think the baby’s coming. We have to find a doctor, I can’t do this alone.”

“Emily, you’re not alone, I’m with you,” Ben said.

“But you’ve never delivered a baby Ben,” Emily replied.

“No, but I saw my mama have my little brother and sister, it looks pretty natural to me. We can do this without a doctor.”

Emily knew the baby was very close. The sheep sensed that a miracle was happening. They tightened the circle around Ben and Emily, followed by the horses and cows. And, they stayed that way keeping the cold away from the little shelter of hay.

A few hours later the first cry of a newborn was heard. The full moon was directly overhead and a beam of moonlight shone down and touched the face of this beautiful new baby as she took her first breaths. Ben took one of the wool blankets, wrapped her and laid her down in the hay nest he had created in an old wood box he found in the back of the barn.

“Emily it’s Christmas morning. Our little girl was born on Christmas day. Let’s call her Christmas to always remind us that she was the best Christmas gift ever!” Ben cried.

“Oh yes,” Emily agreed with him, “she is a wonderful Christmas present.”

Just then, the barn door slid open and Sam came in calling out to his beloved animals. “Bessie, did you keep watch over everyone last night?”

As he lit his lamp, his eyes fell on the scene before him ~ the sheep, horse and cows lined up in three circles around a young boy and girl with a new baby lying in one of his old manger’s filled with hay.

“What’s going on here, how did you two get in here? Well, I guess that doesn’t matter as much as this wee baby and mama that needs some warmth.”

Sam went over to the old wood stove and lit it. As it roared to life, they could feel the warmth spreading throughout the barn.

The animals that had stood guard throughout the night luxuriously stretched their limbs in the warmth.

“That’s so much better,” Geraldine said.

“I agree,” said Eliza (the old mare that he couldn’t ride but loved dearly), “I was getting kinda achy standing still all night.”

Ben and Emily stared in shock as the animals all starting talking to one another and the farmer.

“This was such a magical night Sam,” said Bessie (the oldest cow and definitely the boss). “You should’ve been here. These two came in and built up a lovely bed of hay where this beautiful Christmas baby was born.”

The animals were so excited and talking one over the other. Even if you tried to understand one animal you couldn’t, there were at least fourteen voices going all at once.

Ben and Emily were still shocked at the animals talking and sat with their mouths open just watching all the activity. The farmer “Sam” was walking from one animal to the other calming them down with just a touch of his hand. As he gently touched the head of Bessie, Geraldine, Eliza and each of the other animals, they quickly quietened. He seemed to have a magic touch.

Sam looked at Ben and Emily saying, “Now that these animals are calmed, maybe you could tell me who you are, why you’re here and how I can help you.”

Ben and Emily both started talking at once.

“My goodness, slow down and tell me your story one at a time,” Sam said.

Ben started, “My name is Ben and this is my girlfriend Emily and this” he said looking down at his new baby, “is our new daughter Christmas. We came into your barn because we were so cold, Emily was going to have the baby and we needed somewhere warm and away from the wind.”

“But,” Sam interrupted, “what were you doing out at night in the cold, when clearly Emily should have been safe at home in bed waiting for the birth of this lovely Christmas baby?”

“Well,” Ben said, “that is a long story.”

“It looks like we’ve got lots of time,” Sam said as he pointed to the field outside where a huge snowstorm had whipped up overnight and dumped at least one foot of snow on the ground.

“Well,” Emily started, “Ben used to work for my father and mother, Edward and Madalyn Lincoln. My father is the court judge in Staffordshire. And, Ben was our houseboy and I loved him. We told my father and mother, but they wanted me to marry Angus Campbell, the mayor’s son. So, they wouldn’t hear of it when I told them I wanted to marry Ben. Then when I became pregnant, my father was furious, so Ben and I ran away, slept where we could, stole a little food here and there so we weren’t hungry and now, the sheriff is looking for us to take back home.”

“Well,” Sam said, “that is some story. This farm is a very special place where special and magical things happen. You are both very welcome to stay here as long as you want.”

“It certainly does seem special,” Ben said, “I …. uh …. were your animals actually speaking? Was it my imagination?”

“Yes Ben, they were speaking. Me and these animals just seem to understand each other. They don’t ask for anything except food, water and love. But they give me and my wife so much love in return.”

“But how is it Sam, that they can talk, I’ve never seen or heard any animals talk before,” said Ben.

“Well, as I said Ben, this is a magical place and things happen here that don’t happen anywhere else. Maybe it’s just because we love our animals and treat them so well, so they show their love for us by trusting us with the gift of speech,” Sam responded.

As they continued talking, Edna came quietly in the barn with a box full of gifts for the baby. She sat down on a box beside Emily, opened the box and brought out a lovely quilt she had made many years ago for a baby that never came, then a beautiful crocheted blanket with a matching sweater, bonnet and leggings. She reached in again and brought out flannelet nightgowns, nappies and hand knit woolen nappy covers.

She reached in one more time and brought out a tiny silver baby rattle. Emily though she could hear the tiniest ringing coming from the bell. It was very tarnished, but Edna had a polishing cloth and began to polish the rattle. As she rubbed the rattle with her cloth the ringing grew louder and louder until all heard the beautiful melody of bells.

“How does that little rattle make that melody?” Emily asked.

“It’s a song that only we who believe in the magic of Christmas can hear,” said Edna. “Always believe in the magic and you’ll always hear the melody.”

When Ben and Sam came over, Emily and Edna had baby Christmas dressed in a nightgown, pink sweater, booties, bonnet, swaddled in the crocheted blanket and then laid on the quilt. They had tenderly laid the silver rattle beside her hand.

Edna pointed at Ben and Sam saying, “You two boys come over here and sit down so we can discuss how we’re going to get these two young people back home.”

“We can’t go home Edna,” Emily said, “We would not be welcome. My dad was pretty upset when I told him I loved Ben and did not want to marry Angus. You know how dads are; they think that no one is ever good enough for their little girl.”

“Well,” said Edna, I think little baby Christmas just might change all of that. Maybe when the snow settles down, we can get out the sleigh and take you two back home to your parents.”

“I don’t know,” said Emily. “They were pretty angry when we left and said as long as I stayed with Ben, I wasn’t welcome at home.”

“Emily if you could have one wish, what would it be?” Edna asked.

“To be at home this Christmas with my mom and dad, have them accept and love Ben and now baby Christmas.” Emily replied.

Ben looked out the window and saw that the sun was shining on the snow making it glitter like diamonds.

“The snow always makes Emily smile especially when we used to build snowmen together.” Ben said to Sam. “I remember running around the house raiding drawers and closets looking for the clothes and bits ‘n pieces we needed to decorate the snowman.”

Sam suggested that he and Ben go outside and build a snowman for Emily and baby Christmas.

As they walked through the door, Sam looked back at Edna, gave her a knowing nod and a wink. Then he turned to Ben and said, “Ben instead of making a snowman let’s get the sleigh out, we’ll harness the horses and bundle you, Emily and baby Christmas in the sleigh and drive you back home. You can’t run forever and since it is Christmas day, I’m sure Emily’s parents will feel more forgiving.”

They went over to a second barn on the property where Sam threw open two very large doors. Inside was a beautiful old sleigh. It was dark green and shiny with silver runners. Sam led two horses over to the sleigh where he gently harnessed them up. He wrapped two heavy wool blankets over their backs to keep them warm while they silently stood waiting until Edna, Emily and baby Christmas were safely tucked under piles of feather comforters inside the sleigh.

Sam and Ben hopped up in the front, where Sam grabbed the reins and clicked his teeth. The horses knew this signal and took off. The sleigh moved so gently Ben and Emily couldn’t even tell they were moving.

It seemed that they were in front of the Lincoln’s home in the blink of an eye. As Sam laid down the reins, the door swung open and there stood Edward and Madalyn Lincoln arms wide open as Emily, Ben and baby Christmas ran into their arms.

“Ben, Emily, we have been so worried about you, you shouldn’t have run away especially with the baby coming.” Edward said.

“But daddy,” Emily replied, “We thought you wouldn’t let us be together and you were so angry about the baby when we told you. I didn’t think you wanted us.”

“My darling girl,” said Edward, “time heals. We have had time to miss you and realize how much we love you and how important you are to both of us.”

Madalyn took Emily’s arm, “Come in, come in out of the cold and let me get a look at this beautiful baby.”

“But wait a moment, how did you get home especially with this new baby? It is so cold outside; surely you haven’t been walking all this time.” Edward asked.

“No, no we haven’t been walking,” Emily said as she turned toward the laneway. “Sam and Edna brought …” but she stopped mid sentence. “Where is the sleigh Ben? And where are Sam and Edna?” She asked.

Ben turned to the laneway as well. As they looked down the lane, there was no sign of the sleigh, horses or Sam and Edna. There was not a mark on the snow and no tracks from the runners on the sleigh.

“We stayed in a barn overnight, we were so cold and that’s where baby Christmas was born. Sam and Edna own the farm and they have animals there that spoke to us.” Emily said.

They came inside and gently Emily laid down Christmas on the chaise lounge.

“Are you sure you got a ride home Emily?” asked her father. “There is no sign of anyone having come up the laneway at all.” He said as he came in the front door stamping the snow off his boots in the hallway.

“I’m sure they were there,” said Emily. “Here look at the baby, Edna gave me beautiful pink sweaters, flannel nightgowns and a quilt she made for a baby she wanted but never had.”

As Emily unwrapped Christmas, her mother saw the beautiful handmade quilt and then as the quilt fell open, a glittering silver rattle fell on the floor. It produced the most beautiful melody any of them had ever heard.

“Oh Emily, that is such a beautiful song. How does that little rattle make such a lovely melody?” her mother asked.

“Edna told me that we who believe the magic of Christmas can hear the song and as long as we always believe the magic and we’ll always hear the melody.” Emily said.

“So your Sam and Edna will always be part of the magic of Christmas,” replied Madalyn.

The new houseboy brought out a tray with eggnog and they all sat together in front of the fire enjoying the warmth. Madalyn held baby Christmas gently in her arms as she softly sang a lullaby.

Outside the house in a dark green sleigh with silver runners sat Sam and Edna nodding their heads and smiling. As they drove away, a group of carolers could be heard singing ….

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Saturday, October 30, 2010


She sits alone, the sunlight streaming through the window warming her body with the warmth she long ago lost. Her thoughts wander to the life she once had.

What happened to that life that was here only moments ago?

Her one and only love and the life they shared for nearly 60 years. Her thoughts strayed to the last few weeks they spent together as his illness slowly took him away from her. The precious words and moments they shared.

She remembered when he became so weak he could not feed himself, so she held him in her arms and nourished his body with small amounts of food. The softness of his whiskers when her lips brushed his face with a gentle kiss as he slept, the frailty of his body as she cradled him when he took his last breaths in this life. So many memories tucked away in her mind, treasured in her memory box so she could recall them when the loneliness overwhelmed her. Memories so real she could taste and feel them when she closed her eyes.

The intimate part of their life long asleep as their bodies had aged, but she remembered and felt the familiar stirrings in her loins. She closed her eyes to once more taste his kisses, feel the strength of his arms cradling her, his gentleness as he lay upon her taking her to himself and that perfect moment, his sweet breath and dewey skin as they lay with legs entwined in the afterglow of completed love.

With these delicious thoughts slipping in and out of her memory, her head slipped onto her chest and she dropped off to sleep, the dreams coming fast as she nodded in her chair.

She is sitting in a hospital bed holding the son they thought they would never have. He is so perfect - his little fingers, toes and that curly black hair on his beautiful head.

She is sitting in the nursery as the sun rises, feeding her baby as he innocently gazes into her eyes. She is so overwhelmed with love for this child that she feels that familiar stab of pain in her heart. His innocence and total dependence binds her heart with love. At this moment she would sacrifice her life for this child. She thinks of the dreams she has for him as she watches him suckle at her breast.

Now she holds out her arms for her precious boy as he takes his first steps, giggling as he realizes that he has achieved mobility. He has been practising on the furniture and in his crib for a few weeks, but finally today he has stepped out on his own with no support. His first steps towards independence.

Now he is walking towards his first day of school, turning to wave bye bye as their entwined fingers slip apart. She sees the anticipation in his eyes as he continues to wave and walk towards the teacher and his new classroom.

Now she sees him at the front of the church as his bride walks down the aisle towards her groom - ready to take their marriage vows. He is stepping into a new life - a life where he will not need her in the same way. Soon he will be a husband and his needs will change. His wife will fulfill his needs now. There will be no more moments at the kitchen table when they shared ginger cookies and hot cocoa while they talked of their activities that day.

Now she holds another baby - this one her first grandchild. Sophie - the girl she never had. This baby grips her finger in her tiny hand so tightly - she feels the stirrings in her heart as it expands with love for this precious child.

She suddenly wakes, tears trickle down her cheeks, she feels the crushing pressure of loneliness as she realizes she was only dreaming of the life left behind - the life that no longer needs her and the realization that - she really is alone.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Heat

How much do you love this firepot?

I recently purchased one to use our deck so we can sit out in the evenings.

They burn a gel fuel which burns clean, smokeless, non-toxic and no soot, smoke or ashes.

It provides a realistic bright yellow, orange and red flame that crackles just like an authentic wood fire.

The gel fuel which comes contained in a can, can also be used indoors and I plan to use it inside in our fireplace this winter to eliminate the need for wood.

Welcome Miss Abbey

On September 18th, 2009 dear friends lost their beloved Rikkers, a beautiful red border collie.

They struggled with her loss, struggled with the emptiness in their home without their Rikkers, struggled with a decision ~ should they remain dogless or get another pup?

Well, that decision was made and I'd like to introduce Miss Abbey. She is a beautiful 10 week old border collie who will never replace the place in their hearts that Rikkers holds, but I'm sure with this beautiful face, she will most certainly wiggle her way into her very own spot.

In this picture above, she is 6 weeks old.
Here in this picture she is 10 weeks old.

Welcome home Miss Abbey.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

"The mother-daughter relationship is at the headwaters of every woman's health.

Our bodies and our beliefs about them were formed in the soil of the our mothers' emotions, beliefs and behaviours. To become optimally healthy and happy, each of us must get clear about the ways in which our mothers' history both influenced and continues to inform our state of health, our beliefs and how we live our lives.

Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the woman who came before her and all those who will come after her." ...........Christianne Northrup

Happy Mothers Day to all the woman in my life.

First to my mother, who I am so fortunate to still have in my life. This woman who nurtured and loved me and who, now without my father relies on me to nurture and love her.

Second to my daughter who is part of every breath I take. I feel such a strong bond between she and I and I could not imagine my life without her as one of my very dearest friends. She is n extraordinary mother and has taught me many things about mothering.

Third to my two dear sisters ~ Frannie and Vicki - both mothers and grandmothers. I pause here to remember my sister Gina who passed four years ago but left many memories of her mothering not only to her two sons, but to all of her family.

Fourth to my sister-in-laws, Tammy, Helen & Sarah all of whom have joined the motherhood club in the last 7 years.

And lastly Happy Mothers Day to all my dear girl friends who are mothers.

The moment a child is born .... a mother is born.
She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother never.
This mother is something absolutely new
...... Rajneesh

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here I Go Again

So, the other day I went to see my orthopedic surgeon about my extremely painful feet.

After checking my xrays, bending unyielding toes and poking and prodding each and every osteophyte I own, his recommendation is that I have the metatarsal or big toe joint in both feet replaced. He said the arthritis is about as severe as it can be and there is nothing else short of complete fusion that he can do.

In the metatarsal (MTP) joint, as with any joint, the bone ends are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear and tear or injury damage the cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. You can see in the illustration to the right bone spurs or overgrowth which may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as required when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe or hallus rigidus.

Hallus rigidus usually develops in adults between 30 - 60 years of age. There is no known cause why it develops in some people and not others with the same amount of arthritis. It may result from an injury to the toe that damages the articular cartilage or from differences in foot anatomy that increases stress on the joint.

The joint shown in the picture is the one which I will have replaced. This is not a surgery I look forward to. I already have such exquisite pain in my feet (similar to a blow torch with a beat), that I can't even imagine what it will be like recovering from this, but I will hope that a few weeks of pain will give me a lifetime of relief.

My surgeon was amazed that I am walking the distances I do considering the severity of arthritis and my lack of foot mobility which leads to supination (walking on the outside of my feet).

The waiting time for this surgery will be close to one year, so for now, I will just put it out of my mind and continue my walking, cycling and good healthy eating as I continue my journey to good health. My hope is to halt my arthritis from progressing further in other parts of my body.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Colour Is Your Aura?

The human aura is an energy field that reflects the subtle life energies within the body. These energies make us what we are and in turn are affected by our surroundings and life style.

Our aura reflects our health, mental activity and emotional state. It also shows disease ~ often long before the onset of symptoms.

Close to the skin is the etheric aura. It is seen as a pale, narrow band that outlines the body, usually no more than half of one inch wide. It looks like pale smoke clinging to the body. This is the visible part of the etheric body in it's contracted state. During sleep the etheric body expands greatly and opens to absorb and store cosmic energy. The etheric is better named the vitality sheath or energy body. After sleep, it contracts, forming a dense sheath around the body close to the skin.

Everything in the Universe is vibrational. Every atom, every part of every atom, every electron, every elementary particle, even our thoughts and consciousness are vibrations.

Auras are an electro-photonic vibrational response of an object to some external excitation - for example ambient light.

A human aura is partly composed from electromagnetic radiation ~ from microwave, infrared to UV light. The low frequency microwave and infrared part of the spectrum is related to the low levels of our bodily functions ~ DNA structure, metabolism, circulation, etc... whereas the high frequency UV portion is related to our conscious activity such as thinking, creativity, intentions, sense of humour and emotions.

Children are naturally able to see auras. Infants frequently look above a person in front of them. When they do not like the colour of the aura above the head, they will cry, no matter how much smiling the person does. This natural ability slowly disappears as they age due to the materialistic world and suppression of their nature by following superficial examples.

For the past few weeks, after learning how to see auras, I have practiced religiously on a daily basis to see mine. When I finally learned how to soften my gaze (this is hard to do deliberately), I was able to see a white glow around my feet and also my fingers. This is not to be confused with the after image that you see if you stare at something long enough and then look elsewhere quickly. As I continued to practice, I started to see a little colour ~ right now it is a beautiful spring green. After seeing my aura, I started to work with my dog while she slept. Chelsea's is pure white. I tried as well with my daughter and saw a whitish blue haze around her.

This skill can take months, even years to perfect. As I continue to explore my spirituality, I must exercise patience and accept this gift as it is given. I've only just begun.

The colours I have seen represent only the top layer of what is hidden beneath waiting for me to discover.

I have learned that different colours mean different things.

Red indicates force, vigour and energy. Dark reds indicate a high temper and is a symbol of nervous turmoil. A lighter red indicates a nervous, impulsive, very active person, one who is probably self-centered. Scarlet indicates an overdose of ego. Pink or coral is the colour of immaturity, frequently seen in young people. In all cases of red there is a tendency to nervous troubles.

Orange indicates thoughtfulness and consideration of others. Golden orange is vital and indicates self control and creativity. Brown orange shows a lack of ambition and a don't care attitude.
Yellow indicates health and well-being. These people are happy, friendly and helpful.

Green is the colour of healing. It is helpful, strong and friendly. Blue greens indicate helpfulness and trust. Lemony green showing lots of yellow is deceitful.

Blue is good but the deeper shades are best. Pale blue indicates little depth, struggling toward maturity. Middle blues or aqua indicates a hard worker. Deep blues indicate a person immersed in their work, tending to be moody with a mission they are steadfast in fulfilling. These people are usually spiritually minded and dedicated to unselfish causes, such as science, art or social service.
Indigo and violet indicates seekers, people who are searching for a cause or a religious experience. Those showing purple are inclined to be overbearing.

White indicates perfection.

Black indicates serious illness or death.

Brown indicates humility, earthy, sincere, a gentle heart.
Grey indicates an absence of life force.

Silver indicates balanced life force, an appreciation for life and its' offerings, a universal outlook.

So, what colour is your aura?

Monday, March 22, 2010


As you know, I have radically changed my lifestyle by adopting a vegan lifestyle, juicing, eating a 60/40 raw food diet.

And now, I have added "green monsters" to my diet.

What ~ you ask is a green monster"

Well, let me tell you, it is the yummiest smoothie (raw food) I have every tasted.

I discovered this marvelous website thanks to my daughter called "The Green Smoothie Queen". I spent hours perusing this site, pouring over the information therein, and then I jumped in with both feet. Since Monday of last week, I have replaced one meal each day with a green smoothie. There are recipes posted here, but you really are only limited by your own imagination. I put a banana in every smoothie for the sweetness and potassium, and then everything else is whatever happens to be in the fridge .... blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, papaya, avocados and then, I stuff in as much leafy greens that I can fit in the blender. I have used spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, parsley and swiss chard. I also throw in a spoonful of ground flax seed for the EFA's.

You won't believe this, but you can't even taste the greens. (My grandsons drink one of these "green monsters" every day and they hate vegetables.) Now, I do love my greens in salads, sauteed, in soups or .... pretty much any way at all, but this is a great way to get them in their raw form which is the superior way to consume vegetables and fruit. So I get all the wonderful nutrients and goodness from the greens while enjoying a smoothie that is sweet, thick and gloriously delicious. On her website, the Smoothie Queen suggests using water to make the mixing easier. I use a little almond milk which adds even more to the creaminess of the smoothie. I was talking to my daughter about what liquid she used in her smoothies and she said she saved a little leftover juice from her morning juicing to use. As I said earlier you are only limited by your imagination.

Prior to adding this to my daily menu, my energy had most definitely gone up, my daily fight with fatigue disappeared, but now, my energy is practically blowing the roof off my house. I can't seem to slow down or stop.

Simply amazing!!!!! I don't remember feeling this well in well over 20 years as I have fought to deal with my arthritis, my fibromyalgia along with other health issues.

So, grab your blender, some fruits and as much greens as you can fit in the blender and whip yourself up a cup of pure energy.

Savour the moment of blending as you enjoy watching the beautiful fingers of green lacing their way up through the fruit as they turn your concoction into the most vibrant shade of green which will tickle and tantalize your taste buds. But be prepared for the revitalization you will most certainly be rewarded with as you continue to blend your greens into a yummy, yummy smoothie.

My daughter ~ Sebrina recently did a post on her blog called Radiance. Pop over there and have a read and you'll know exactly how I feel lately.

Purely radiant.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Guilty Cravings

Well, I have officially been living a vegan lifestyle for 6 weeks now as well as maintaining a 50% raw diet daily. Although I will preface my use of the word "vegan" by calling myself a "begegan". This means that I occasionally indulge in honey and goat cheese.

I am thoroughly enjoying this new lifestyle change and having fun with different recipes and trying many, many new fruits and vegetables, either juiced, in smoothies or lightly cooked.

However, for the past 3 weeks, I have been craving a hamburger in the worst way. I tried putting it out of my mind, tapping my way through the cravings all to no avail ~ the craving would not go away.

After intensive research on food cravings, I have discovered that if you are craving certain foods ~ in my case red meat, that most likely I am deficient in either iron or protein in my diet. Now, I have not had a blood test to determine this, I am quite sure that is not my problem as my energy levels are astronomical which indicates that I have no problem with iron reserves and as well I am careful to ensure that I have protein in my diet every day with either nut butters or bean spreads.

So why was I craving this darn burger so badly.

Certain foods are loaded with chemical additives, refined sugar, opioid peptides (think opium & morphine), and other addictive ingredients that literally make you "need a fix".

When it comes to food cravings: this poses a challenge ~ is my body asking for something it needs or is it remembering something it was once addicted to.

Should I ignore my cravings or indulge them?

Well, yesterday I indulged my craving ~ and yes I paid dearly for it. Major stomach upset for the remainder of the afternoon, but no matter today I am back on the wagon, enjoying a delicious juice for breakfast (grapefruit, orange, lemon, apple, carrot, kale & beet) and then for mid morning a "green monster" smoothie, then for lunch a delicious wrap filled with peppers, mushrooms, onion & garlic all sauteed in olive oil, then wrapped with spicy black bean dip, guacamole and salsa. YUMMMY!

As well today I decided to update my measurement chart which I have not done in one month and I was rewarded for all these changes I have made to my diet.

My losses are as follows: 5" from my chest, 4.75" from my waist and 5.25" from my hips. I am officially not shopping in the plus size clothing any longer and can easily slip into a large tee shirt or large - extra large or size 16-18 bottoms. Not bad considering that when I started this journey I was wearing a size 20-22 on my bottom and a size 18-20 on my top.

Feeling quite satisfied with myself today.

As for the cravings ~ well, I don't imagine I'll be having any for quite some time. My reaction yesterday was swift and strong, enough to keep me away from "meat" leaving it to the animals like the tiger up above who actually has the proper digestive system to digest meat, unlike humans whose intestines are so long that meat putrifies and sometimes can take up to 8 days to eliminate.

Yup, I think that my indulgence yesterday might have been the last one ~ at least I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Does 25 Look Like?

A full body shot is not something I would ever share with anyone.

But since losing 25 pounds (actually 26 now), I can't believe the difference in my body shape or size. It really seems like such a small amount, but the difference to me in how I feel and secondarily how I look is astronomical.

Here I am at my birthday part last year ..........

And here I am this morning ............

I notice the biggest difference in my upper body, my shoulders, my collarbone and upper chest area and my back. When I look in the mirro now, I don't see an obese person, I see someon who could stand to lose a few more pounds, but not what I saw before.

I have gone down almost two sizes in my hips, but the biggest difference I see is in my upper body.

I just seem to keep feeling better and better. And another interesting note, since I've started this new life style of eating a healthy and mostly raw diet, it would seem that I can have a little cheat here and there and it doesn't seem to make any difference. By cheat I mean a small bowl of Buffalo Blue chips or maybe one of my daughter's absolutely terrific brownies.

However, the one thing that does make a huge impact on how I feel is to have something fried or processed. None of that for me any more. It bloats me .... makes me retain fluids .... gives me gas (pardon me) ..... and just generally makes me feel like crap.

So although this started out as a diet of sorts, it has become a true life style change which I will cling dearly to for the rest of my life.

Here's looking at a skinnier me sooner than later!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

You Shouldn't Have

Alli over at gave me this award last week. I've been a little busy and am now just getting around to joining in the fun.

First, thanks Alli for this award. I hope I can live up to your very kind words.

Here's the rules, list 10 things and 10 blogs that make you happy.

1. My family ~ the treasures in my life. As I get older, I realize how important it is to treasure each and every moment with them.

2. My friends. They hold me up, they keep me sane, they love me just for who I am.

3. Good food. As I journey down this road to a healthier lifestyle, I am rediscovering old favourites and discovering some new favourites, luscious soups, crispy stir fries, curried beans with vegetables and something as simple as a date with a dollop of fresh goat cheese and an almond slipped inside like a little treasure waiting to be found.

4. A pedicure. The luxurious hour I am fortunate enough to enjoy every month to keep my feet in beautiful walking condition.

5. The peace by the lake when I'm walking. The smell of the water as it crashes over the rocks, the gulls screaming as they swoop and swirl above the water, the wind as it whispers through the tall grasses, the little chickadees nesting in the old trees, coming across a small field where I see deer tracks in the snow.

6. Reading. I love books, how they smell, how they feel, how they look lined up in perfect order on my bookshelves. I am especially drawn lately to beautifully detailed and photographed cookbooks.

7. The sun coming in the windows in my living room first thing in the morning. Getting comfy on the sofa with a few feather cushions and a velvet throw ~ in the early dawn waiting for the sun to come up and start the dance of lights around my room.

8. My new Breville juicer. I LOVE MY JUICER!

9. A good chiropractic adjustment. After years and years of pain being told by my chiropractor that my scans are almost perfect. Is there anything better?

10. My new smaller & healthier body. To date 26 pounds down, my BMI down by 2 points, 8 inches lost (from the important spots) and 2 sizes smaller (I can shop in regular size stores now) ~ clarity of mind, a lower level of daily pain and a body that actually works with me instead of against me.

Blogs that make me happy.

Since Alli and I read many of the same blogs: I can only list a few blogs that she didn't list herself. As well, I don't read a lot of blogs, but enjoy staying with the same ones day in and day out. I feel like these are my friends even though we have never met.

1. Julie at Moments of Perfect Clarity. Julie's blog is just purely happy, colourful, homey and her thoughts on many subjects give pause for thought many a day.

2. Sebrina at Sebrina Wilson Photography. My daughter's portraits are simply stunning, artistic and creative. Maternity shots, newborns, children, families, engagement and wedding photos. She captures each moment in a soulful, calm, pure and simple way that touches my heart with each photo shoot she shares.

3. Colleen at Gradual Transition is inspiring. She is on a journey to better health and I am pleased to be able to walk this road right beside her.

4. Vickie at Frenchy Addict. Although Alli awarded her first, I just have to duplicate it and give it to her again. I love popping by her blog to see what's new in her world, knitting socks, sewing up an apron, having a girl's only glam night, sharing her gardening adventures. It's just a lovely restful moment to drop in to visit here.

5. Alli at Ocean Treasures. Here's the happy award back to you Alli ~ Your knowledge is awesome, I learn something new each time I pop by for a visit and your orchids are especially beautiful and breathtaking.

Won't you drop by and see why these "friends" of mine make me happy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twenty Five

Well, there it is ~ Twenty Five ~ my first goal.

This morning I got up and weighed myself and there it was for all to see.

I have lost my first twenty five pounds.
I can't believe how easy it has been, especially since I bought my juicer and decided to do a 60/40 raw food diet. The interesting thing is I don't really want much of anything else now. I am loving the juices ~ don't get hungry and besides a piece of fruit or stir fried veggies with tofu, goat cheese and a bit of rice, I really am not craving anything else.

Who ever thought that this girl ~ the original "sweet tooth" herself would actually reach this goal. My sweet treat now is a Medjool date (pit removed), filled with goat cheese and two almonds ~ delicious!

On to the next 25!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are You Getting Your 5-9?

As I have said through past posts, I have wanted to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle for years, but just needed a push to get there. I stopped eating red meat last August, but was having trouble taking the final step. Going through a detox over the past 4 weeks, was the just the push I needed.

And now, another step in this journey to health "A New Juicer".

I am so very excited. This too is something that I have wanted to have for a long time. Years ago I picked up a very cheap one at a garage sale and although it juiced, I wasn't treated to what my new juicer treated me to this afternoon.

This new Breville Ikon Juicer is amazzzzzzzzing!

Not to mention how sleek and beautiful it looks on my counter.

And then of course, there are all the benefits that juicing provides my body. It is recommended that we consume 5 vegetables and another 3 fruits in our daily diet and yet the average person today only consumes 1 1/2 servings of veggies and generally no fruit on any given day.

Although consuming whole fruits and veggies is important, juicing gives us the minerals, vitamins, enzymes, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein and more in a form that is much easier to digest. Much of the goodness is locked in the fibre of the fruit and veggies which goes through the body and is expelled. By juicing, all of this life giving goodness is released from the fibre and is in your bloodstream in less than 30 minutes.

Now, enough about the nutritional side and on to the juicing.

So, I got my beautiful new juicer home, opened it up, read the instructions fully as instructed, then washed all the removable parts in warm soapy water, dried them, reassembled the juice and got ready to juice. I then proceeded to wash a beet, 2 carrots, 3 stocks of celery, a handful of parsley, 1/3 of a cucumber, one apple and a 1" piece of ginger.

I learned something very important today as I turned on the machine and got ready to drop in the beet. That lesson was to make sure that I push down immediately on the inserted fruit/vegetable with the food pusher. I dropped in a beet and then reached for the pusher. Well before I got the pusher in the chute, beet bits started to fly up out of the chute and onto everything.
Lesson learned! Veggy in one hand ~ pusher in the other ~ now GO!

After this wee bit of fun, I got back to my first juiced, healthy drink. It was a delectable, slightly sweet, frothy, beautiful shade of garnet red, gastronomic delight. The ginger added just a little nip to the flavour.

One really nice feature of this juicer, is a specialized spout that allows me to juice directly into my glass, or for larger amounts I can take off the spout and juice into the jug.

As well, I am continuing to pursue my walking and this weekend I accomplished my furthest walk yet. On Sunday I walked 8.3km followed up by 5km on Monday. Although I really feel it today (probably pushed a little too far), I am very proud of myself and the distance that I covered.

Guess the "ugly" shoes are really working.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Great Day Today

What an amazing day I had today with my food choices.

For breakfast I had steel cut oats, at lunch a homemade asparagus soup with a spoonful of organic miso. Mid afternoon I enjoyed a banana/pineapple/raspberry smoothie with a tbsp of hemp protein powder.

Then for dinner the piece de resistance ~ a delicious curried lentil dish.

In a saucepan I browned 1 chopped onion and 6-7 chopped garlic cloves in a little olive oil. I generously sprinkled it with cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.

When it was browned I added 2 chopped sweet potatoes, approximately 1 1/2 cups Puy lentils and covered with homemade vegetable broth. When the liquid was absorbed (about 3o minutes), I added 4-5 handfuls of organic baby spinach.

Then I made up one avocado into guacamole and spooned it on top of the lentil dish. YUMMY!!!

I am not missing animal products at all in this new diet. Besides with a delicious day of food like I had today, who needs it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Am An Athlete

The temperature was minus 22 celcius on Saturday morning, crisp, cold, sunny and the kind of day that the snow squeaks when you step on it. But I needed to get outside for a walk, as I have only walked on the treadmill over the past few weeks.

So I got on my walking clothes and headed outside to walk. Well, let me tell you, it was freakin' cold out there. I had on my sports bra, a base layer shirt, a cool max shirt and then I put on a heavy sweater, over which I wore a fake fur coat, with a tube scarf wrapped around my mouth and ears. I wore a pair of cashmere lined leather gloves and covered them with a pair of hot paws mitts. And of course my Uggs to keep my tootsies warm. Do you know that I ended up taking off the hot paws and undoing my coat and just wearing it over my shoulders, my body got so hot. However, my face burnt from the wind chill and my thighs were numb and red as tomatoes by the time I got back. (Unfortunately I neglected to put anything on my legs underneath my Lululemon pants).

That was probably the fastest I have ever walked, I was so anxious to get back into the warmth of my home. I didn't even notice if my feet were hurting because I was soooooooooo cold.

I left before Don got up, so when I got back he was sitting reading with a cup of coffee and pronounced me a true athlete to go out walking in such frigid temperatures.

Then yesterday, I walked 4.8km in my new "ugly" shoes. BTW, that is what I named my new running shoes ~ ugly.

What a difference in my walking ability to have a proper pair of technical shoes, my feet hurt very minimally, the plantar fasciitis didn't start to burn until I had walked about 4km.

So, take a look at me ~ I'm an athlete!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 3 of The Big Detox

Well I have made it through day 3 and I am even having a little fun dreaming up recipes. I have managed to walk through Starbucks on my way into Chapters and not even stop for a coffee (which I love incidentally and is NOT on this detox).

Today for lunch using leftover brown rice and broccoli I came up with this recipe. It was delicious.

In a frying pan brown chopped onions, garlic, peppers, celery and firm organic tofu in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the rice and chopped broccoli. At this point I squirted in about 1 tblsp of Bragg's (non GMO, no gluten soya), cumin and freshly ground black pepper. When everything was crispy and brown, I threw in a few handfuls of organic baby spinach. When it is wilted, plate the mixture and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts.

When this detox is over, I think this would be extra delicious with a bit of goat cheese crumbled in to melt a little ~ now I am drooling.

I think tomorrow night I am going to try stuffed peppers using tofu and brown rice.

This might be just the start I need to move to a vegetarian lifestyle ~ something I have thought about for years but just have never got around to actually doing it.

Having started this detox with a viewing of Food Inc., I have a whole new appreciation for how our food today gets from its' natural state to our table. The meat industry in particular I found quite difficult to watch, disturbing and upsetting at times. So far it has not been difficult to keep meat out of my diet.

If you are interested in how large corporations (some of which are named) have turned what should be a source of sustenance into a multi billion dollar conglomerate that has more power than even our governments, not to mention running over anyone or anything in their way, buying out those who don't agree with them, even lobbying to have laws passed to favour their way of running their corporations, then you must see Food Inc.

Watching how cows, pigs and chickens were treated just so we can eat meat made a huge impression on me ~ so much so that I am not sure I can eat meat again. I have lived my life disassociated from the fact that those lovely plump chicken breasts actually belonged to a living, breathing chicken once upon a time, a chicken that was given hormones to promote record breaking weight gain, a chicken that was kept in a chicken house in the dark, living in their own feces, sometimes being pecked to death.

I'll never look at a package of chicken breasts the same again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Shoes

Okay, I admit it ~ I love shoes. Unfortunately due to very painful feet, I can only wear flats, but occasionally you can find some really pretty flat shoes. In fact, I recently found a gorgeous pair of purple suede pumps with an open toe. Great with all the plum pieces I have added to my wardrobe this season.

On this past weekend Don and I went to see a personal trainer to be properly fitted for athletic shoes.

Because Don trains regularly for marathon runs, he requires a perfect fit in a shoe to avoid injuries. As walking does not inflict the force on my legs and feet that running does, I require a less technical shoe, but still with good cushioning to hopefully prevent more pain when I do my 5k walks.

And, as you can see from the picture, I got my first pair of running shoes. (Believe or not, I've never owned a pair of running shoes).

Due to the amount of walking I am doing now, my Clarke's walking shoes were not providing enough support and my plantar fasciitis kept rearing it's ugly head. So, swallowing my love of shoes, I was fitted with a pair of New Balance 758.

Now I have to say, these are so ugly, I'm just not into athletic gear ~ does that say anything about my personality? Hmmmm.
Give me my black leather skirt, black tights and my new purple pumps anyday.

Tell me, how does a girly girl wear these ugly things? I'm going to have to develop a whole new mind set about athletic clothing. Well, maybe as long as it's Lululemon athletic clothing, I guess I can suck it up and feel a little fashionable while I'm walking.

Putting aside their appearance, these are however, the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever put on my feet. The cushioning on the bottom is miraculous, preventing any soreness on my feet. I'm going to try them out today for a longer walk after I get back from my morning group meditation.


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