Sunday, September 30, 2007

On Turning One

Our darling Gabriella is turning one!!!

Sebrina took this picture of her in her sweet new birthday outfit.

She is having Gabriella's birthday party one week early to accommodate me and my knee surgery. As my surgery is on the 16th of October and Gabriella's birthday is on the 21st of October, my girl is doing this for me so I may come to her birthday party.

Thanks Seb.

How amazing it is to me to think that only one year ago, we were still waiting anxiously for a referral on a child. It seems that Gabriella has always been part of our lives. There is no doubt in my heart that this particular child was meant for our family for a reason.

"Gabriella ... you make Mammy's heart sing my beautiful girl."

When you look at me with those beautiful eyes, you reach deep into my soul and touch an intimate part of me, when I walk in the room and you give me my "mammy smile", it almost brings tears to my eyes. You had my adoration from the moment I held you in my arms on March 1st, 2006 in Ethiopia.

Enjoy this family you have been given and devour every bit of their love and devotion.

Reach for the stars my darling ... they are yours for the taking. There is nothing you cannot do, if you set your mind to it.

Grow in grace as each year brings you closer to becoming the strong, proud woman I know you are destined to become.

So much love is here in my heart for you."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The picture above has absolutely nothing to do with fasting, but I can't resist sharing my beautiful grandchildren.

Have you ever fasted? If not, you should try it. It is wonderfully cleansing experience.

With my upcoming surgery, I have decided to go on a 2-3 day fast either next week or the week after to cleanse my system, before the onslaught of all the medication that I must have following this surgery. I will be on a blood thinner for a few months to prevent blood clots & antibiotics to prevent infection ... two of the most serious & possible side effects of this surgery. As well, there will be narcotics for the pain. So I will fast to start out with as clean a system as possible so my body can handle all of these chemicals efficiently and dispose of them in a timely manner when they are no longer required.

I don't want to have to use all of these chemicals, but realize that they are necessary following this surgery. Hopefully with the addition of homeopathy, pro-biotics and my cleanse prior to the surgery, my body will be able to handle this attack on my immune system.

Here are some of the reasons why fasting is so good for your body!

During the absence of food, the body will systematically cleanse itself of everything except vital tissue. Although protein is being used by the body during the fast, a person fasting even 40 days on water will not suffer a deficiency of protein, vitamins, minerals or fatty acids. In the breakdown of unhealthy cells, all essential substances are used and conserved in a most extraordinary manner. There is an unwarranted fear of fasting that strength diminishes from the catabolism of proteins from muscle fibers.

Rest is understood to be a big factor in enhancing recovery, as it is when the body is at rest that it is able to direct the most energy towards the various chemical and mechanical processes of detoxification. When fasting, a person experiences recovery at a rate that is swifter than normal. You are is ridding your body of toxins and excesses; allowing your body to use its own wisdom to healthfully reorganize itself from the atomic level. As the toxic load is reduced, the functioning of every cell is enhanced. In the same way that vital nerve energy is accumulated during a night's sleep, the faster builds nerve energy through rest, sleep, and detoxification.

The human body has many ordinary modes of achieving elimination: the liver, lungs, kidneys, colon, etc. When these are overloaded, the body will resort to "extra ordinary" methods of elimination: boils, mucous and other discharges, sweats, vomiting, diarrhea, and many others. Should elimination be impossible or uneconomical of body energy, the toxic overload will go into storage forms in the joints, vessels, muscles, organs; almost any tissue in the body. While fasting, the body is highly conservative of its energy and resources. During this deep and profound rest, toxin intake and production are reduced to a minimum while autolysins and elimination proceed unchecked. Anabolic processes such as tissue and bone healing also proceed at a maximal rate during the fast.

Nearly everyone who fasts, discovers the same thing, that when they fast they actually have no hunger and more energy than they normally have. It is indeed liberating to find out that if we let go and trust that we will be taken care of. Fasting is the simplest, easiest and most effective way to find out that we do indeed have the power and freedom to heal and take control of our bodies.

Why Fast?

Probably the most important reason is that the body uses quite a bit of energy to digest food, and when fasting this energy becomes available for other uses. In the fasting state, the body will scour for dead cells, damaged tissues, fatty deposits, tumors, abscesses, all of which are burned for fuel or expelled as waste. The elimination of these obstructions restores the immune system functionality and metabolic process to an optimum state. Fasting restores good digestion and elimination, and peristaltic action is quickened. Fasting allows a deep, physiological rest of the digestive organs, and the energy saved goes into self-healing and self-repairing. By eliminating obstructions, by cleansing, detoxification, and purifying the intestines, the blood, and the cells, we can overcome many of our physical ills or handicaps as well as getting a boost in energy.

Fasting not only removes obstructions and helps the body to heal itself, it is also rejuvenating and life-extending. These resulting benefits can have lasting affects in your mental and emotional health.

The other very important aspect is that your self-awareness will be elevated. If you are sick and depressed, then this might be the most important thing you can try in your healing program, because it gives you immediately an energy boost and increased awareness which might allow that you see things more clearly, allowing you the first step out of your sickness and onto the path of recovery. While fasting you become more aware of your body process, your life and with everything you are doing. It becomes a period where you can evaluate all that you're doing more objectively, and you naturally have more time for contemplation because you aren't using time amassing, preparing, eating, eliminating and cleaning up all which is used to prepare food. You become more aware of what your body likes and doesn't like when you start to eat again. You gain self-confidence in your ability to control your life process, to set a goal and carry out an intention.

I try to fast once every couple of months. It is truly an invigorating experience, you will feel increased energy, increased awareness & at the end of the fast a renewed zest for life.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The ABC's of Autumn


Autumn, apples, apple pie ...
Birds flying south, blankets, baked potatoes, a hot bath, burberry ...
Colourful trees, corn, chili, corn bread, warm cognac, cranberry sauce, cold, crisp air, crocheting, cable-knit sweaters, cozy, cashmere, cider ...
Down comforters, delicious - everything ...
Eating comfort food ...
Fires, flame red leaves, furnace, family, faux fur ...
Gravy (turkey), gloves ...
Hot tubbing, hiking, housecoats, hugs from my grandkids, hot fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee, hats ...
I love autumn!!!!! ...
Jam (homemade) & toast, jeans, jumbalaya ...
Kicking up the leaves after Poppa rakes them up, knitting, kilts ...
Leaves, red, gold, yellow, orange, leotards ...
Mums, mums and more mums (one of my favourite flowers), garlicky mashed potatoes, magazines, movies, maple syrup, muffs, mittens ...
No snow - yet ...
Outside, overcoat ...
Pumpkin pie, plaid jackets & skirts ...
Quiet walks in the ravine with my dog, quilts ...
Stuffing, slippers, sweaters, scarves, squash, stew, socks, sheepskin ...
Turkey dinner, thanksgiving, tea & a good book, tweeds ...
Uggs, under the blankets ...
Vegetables ...
Whipped cream (unsweetened of course), wool ...
Xtra whipped cream (unsweetened of course) on a small, delicious demitasse of expresso ...
Yams - yum!! ...
Zebra floor cloth (my project for this fall)

Well, there you have some of my favourite ABC's of Autumn ... didn't think I'd come up with one for Q & Z did you?


With what a glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.

There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings,
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.

O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Surgery & Homeopathy

Well, October 16th the date for my total knee replacement is drawing nearer.

After much thought and speaking with my homeopathic doctor, I've made a decision to use homeopathic remedies right up to and shortly after my surgery to stimulate my immune system & healing resources in an effort to accelerate my recovery.

Why, you might ask am I choosing to use homeopathy???

First, let me explain what homeopathy is and why is works so well. (I have had great success with homeopathy).

Homeopathy is based on the "Principle of Similars". Another way to view "like cures like" is that symptoms are part of the body's attempt to heal itself ... for example, a fever can develop as a result of an immune response to an infection, and a cough may help to eliminate mucus ... and medication may be given to support this self-healing response.

Key concepts of homeopathy include:

Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body's defense mechanisms and processes to prevent or treat illness.

Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that, according to homeopathy, would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses. Remedies are available in cestesimal potencies, that is, successively diluted by a factor 100. For example a common potency is 30c which means that the actual remedy is diluted 30 times by a factor of 100.

At the deepest level, these remedies nudge the immune system ... not only the white cell populations, but also the mental and emotional states that keep those populations healthy into greater responsiveness and readiness so that disease is kept away or prevented from recurring. Unlike conventional medicines which suppress the immune system, homeopathy works in harmony with your immune system.

Homeopathic treatment is individualized or tailored to the patient. Practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, as well as other factors.

Homeopathy is completely safe. Even babies and pregnant women can use it without the danger of side effects. Homeopathic remedies can also be taken alongside other medication without side effects.

Homeopathic remedies are not addictive - once relief is felt, you stop taking them. If no relief is felt, you are probably taking the wrong homeopathic remedy.

So as I draw closer to my knee surgery, here is what my homeopath has suggested:

Arnica for the bleeding, bruising and pain post-surgery.
Ferrum Phosphoricum for post-surgical infection risk.
Bach's Rescue Remedy for pre-surgery anxiety.

I'm feeling less anxious as this date draws nearer. My knee pain continues to increase, so the surgery is a means to an end for this constant pain.

Using homeopathy is encouraging to me to view this surgery as a positive step in my health & pain management. I feel much more positive about the outcome of this surgery, now that I have made this decision.

Conventional, mainstream medication has its' place, but I do prefer natural methods and now, knowing that I am integrating homeopathic with mainstream ... my concerns and anxiety have lessened considerably.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Daughter - My Treasure

Throughout our lifetime we acquire many friends and acquaintances.

But none can compare to the bond I have with my daughter.

I come from a very fractured family, highly competitive & jealous siblings, parents who didn't teach the value of family. My father had six children, three of whom were with my mother. These were always two very separate families, so it took me until I was nearly 50 to develop a relationship with a half sister. I am thankful every day for her and the unconditional love that we share.

When I became a mother at the very tender age of 20, I turned to my mother and my family doctor for advice. I tried to breastfeed both of my babies, managed approximately 6 weeks, but had trouble with the latch. Between my mother and my doctor, the advice was ... just bind your breasts and dry up ... the babies will get just as much nourishment from formula. What about the all important skin-to-skin bonding between mother and child when they are latched onto the breast??? What about the immunities that passes from mother to child through breastmilk??? When my 6-8 month old babies wouldn't sleep through the night ... the doctor said, just give them water in their bottle ... they'll soon grow tired of waking up for no food. Did the doctor ever stop to think that maybe they were actually hungry??? As soon as they were born, I was told feed them every 4 hours ... you must get them on a schedule, change their diaper and back in the crib ... crying won't hurt them a bit, it will strengthen their lungs. What about the importance of holding a crying baby so they know they are not alone??? After all they just spent 9 months listening to mom's heartbeat, her every movement and the whisper of the amniotic fluid as it held them gently in their cocoon. Why does mainstream parenting think that forcefully ripping a baby from the mother's body and then putting that baby in a crib away from mother is the right way??? We are one of the only countries in the world that don't carry our babies on our bodies for a few months after birth. Think of the animal kingdom ... the kangaroo, leaves the mothers womb and moves into the sack for somewhere between 7-10 months.

I quote and share with you The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting taking from the International Attachment Parenting website

Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth.
Feed with Love and Respect
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs.
Respond with Sensitivity
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, and then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, and empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share.
Use Nurturing Touch
Touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or baby wearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.
Engage in Night time Parenting
Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe bed sharing or near-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.
Provide Consistent and Loving Care
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive parent.
Practice Positive Discipline
Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behaviour, discover the needs leading to the behaviour.
Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.

I have gone a little off track here, but after watching my daughter parent her children, I have learned a lot about the values quoted above.

Well, despite all of my mistakes as a parent, there was one thing that never wavered ... my love for my children. They were and always will be two of my greatest accomplishments.

My daughter, Sebrina and I have been through many, many trials as mother and daughter and yes there were times, especially in the teen years when I could have given her away (LOL). But then suddenly, I turned around and here was this beautiful young woman standing before a minister saying her marriage vows. Then I blinked again and we were watching as she bore down and delivered our beautiful grandson, Ryan. What an incredible moment that she invited Don and me to share with her and Mike. Then in short succession we were privileged to be part of Jayden & Zanders' beautiful home births. And then just earlier this year she and I shared a very emotional trip to Ethiopia where we met our beautiful granddaughter - Gabriella.

I watch her now as a parent and take pride that I was instrumental in her development. She and I share many happy times together with her children. When I have something to share, she is always the first person I think of calling. It would seem to be the same for her too. There are many days that I get numerous phone calls with tidbits of news, something cute one of the kids did or just a short chat. My day doesn't feel complete without my morning check in from Sebrina.

A couple of weeks ago, I tore the ligaments in my right foot and with my left knee as painful as it has been, I found it difficult to get around easily. Sebrina called and wanted to come over to visit with the children, BUT she said "we will bring dinner".

I am thankful every day for the love and closeness that Sebrina and I share. She is always there for me to listen, to share a chuckle, to share a coffee or just share.

Before Gabriella's arrival, I held a blessingway for Sebrina. This is the letter that I wrote to her then.

I thought that the blessingway for Zander’s birth would be the last one, but here we are celebrating another child, not one of your womb but of your heart. It would seem that you always have room in your heart for just one more.

Just how big is your heart???

Now as we wait (not too patiently) for the little girl that you have dreamed of for many years, I ponder the many joys that motherhood brings to each of us as women.

The joy of becoming a woman and knowing what that privilege bestows upon us.
The deep connection we create & cultivate with another woman when we slowly explore that world of sisterhood & friendship.
The thrill of a new love, exploring that feeling & each other, then settling into the beautiful harmony that comes from joining with another soul
The anticipation we feel in the arrival of a new life. What other experience in the world compares to motherhood!
The pain of losses - physical, emotional & spiritual, which serve to strengthen our character and many times open the door on something even more wonderful.
The intense heart pain we feel for our children during times of pain or sorrow.
The bottomless well of love we feel for our children, the sacrifices we will make for them, even going to the ends of the earth to enlarge your family circle with a very special little girl.

As you and I embark on this momentous journey to the other side of the world to retrieve this beautiful child, I feel in my heart the stirrings of anticipation that I felt with the birth of each of my beautiful boys that you so graciously allowed me to share with you.

I close my eyes and see Gabriella lying in her crib waiting for you – her mother, I see the moment when your gaze falls upon her for the first time and I feel the raw emotions of that moment when she is placed in your arms for the first time.

Thank you for allowing me to be the one to share this incredible experience with you.

The world can sometimes be an ugly place. Look for the beauty that we oft times just don't take the time to notice. To walk barefoot through dew covered grass. To play follow-the-leader with a butterfly as it dances from flower to flower. Enjoy the differences in all humankind. Whether black or white, short or tall, big or small, all of these are children of God, and thus, your brothers and sisters. Find the goodness in them. Extend your arms to them, encircling them in love and kindness. Learn to truly love them by serving them. It is through service that your heart will fully open to those who you might otherwise despise.
Show gratitude, for there is much in life to be thankful for. If we fail to give thanks, then we become apathetic. On the other hand, when we show gratitude we begin to see just how blessed our lives truly are. Always continue learning. It is through learning that the world continues to better itself. Lack of education lends a hand to poverty, to crime, hate, and violence; all things ugly are a form of ignorance. Likewise, all that is beautiful can only is appreciated when one knows how to appreciate it. Love yourself. You are a daughter of God, and that makes your spirit one of nobility. Always remember who you are. You are of great worth. You, my daughter, have a work to do on this earth, a work that only you can accomplish. Through knowing who you are you can learn to love yourself. Then you will never want to do anything that would keep you from your potential. Seek out your talents and gifts and then use these to better the lives of yourself, your family, and your community. By using our talents we will continue to develop them more fully and increase the joy in our lives.
Extend virtuous attributes. Honesty, integrity, diligence, these are virtues that are not always easy to obtain, but they help us to keep a clear conscience. Above all, seek for truth. Search with not only your mind, but also your heart and when truth is found hold onto it. Never let go. My greatest hope is that you will have peace and joy in your life. I don't know what lies ahead for us. I do know, however, that as a mother I have and will continue to make mistakes and that as a daughter you will sometimes be angry with me. You will be hurt by the things of the world and I will not always be able to ease that pain. Sometimes, I may feel as if I have failed you. I suppose this is all part of motherhood. Yet, if I can help make your path through this world more joyful, then I will know that I have been successful as a mother.

My daughter - my treasure ....

Friday, September 7, 2007

Our Shame

While visiting the blog of an adoptive mom I met in Ethiopia, I watched this video she had posted.

After watching it, I felt shame for the human race as a whole.

How can we treat one another like this???

How can our legal systems show such obvious discrimination???

With the world it seems, going mad, how do we raise our children to be well-adjusted individuals who don't see others by the colour of their skin, who don't even notice that difference ... is this possible????

When will this insanity end .... when will we see ourselves as world citizens, not black, white, yellow or red, Catholic or Protestant, Buddhist or Muslim...

I am reminded of the beautiful lyrics of John Lennon's Imagine.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one......


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