Category Archives: Natural remedies

The fight within

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Lately I have really felt like I am struggling. It has not been more pain per se. We have been busy but not that busy. I had had a hard time putting my finger on what was missing. What was I forgetting to do? What was I not attending to? It took me entirely too long to realize one simple thing. It was emotional overload.

People who feel everything so deeply need more than once a week spiritual self-care. I forget that. I feel like I should be able to be like everyone else and Sunday should be enough for me. I was getting really good at carving fifteen minutes a day out just for me. I still need to do that. I also need to figure out a way to incorporate more meditation, more nature more healing for my heart. It has only been in the last two years or so I have set up healthy boundaries. The problem I still struggle with is,being okay with those boundaries.  I need to be okay with saying no. I have done it, which I know is good. It just still kills me to say no. I can’t help you right now. My desire to hug and hold everyone and squeeze them until all their broken parts are mashed back together is so strong. The answer is also not, to just not be there for people. That is a slow death in a different way.

It looks like then, I have to start scheduling time to ground myself and re-center myself. I can’t let myself think I am too busy for that. I need to remember that it is essential to life. As much as breathing air is essential to life. Some days it is my own emotional upheaval that I need to quite and soothe. Some days it is letting go of others emotions that I seem to absorb. This has been my inner struggle that I had a hard time putting my finger on. I know I need to do this stuff. I know boundaries are good. I know they are healthy. It is quieting the voice in my head that says, but if you can help you should. It is letting go of the guilt of saying no for my own mental and emotional health. It is being at peace with my own limits of how much I can help and how much emotional trauma I do absorb. I have no doubt I don’t absorb it. When you tell me something and I say that breaks my heart, I mean it. There is nothing worse for me then hearing a need and feeling helpless to help. Even knowing that some issues you have to workout yourself. Even knowing that sometimes the best help I can give is by just sitting there. Even knowing that sometimes the best thing is to say no. No because this is not something anyone can help you with. No Because sometimes you reach out when really you need to reach within.

Yesterday I took some steps to implementing small things in my life that will help with all this. I bought a smudging sage and some new crystals specific to helping with these issues. I am determined I will light the smudge stick at least, at least once a day. I am thinking instead of reading during my me time I need to sit outside with my smudge stick and crystals and feel the ground beneath me.

What are some ways you attend to your self-care? Are you including spiritual/emotional/mental care as well?

 

The pretty good not from a recipe soup I made

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I am not a great cook. This is not something I hide from people. In fact, normally the fire alarm is an indicator of if dinner is done or not. However I have had some interest of improving in this area.  I don’t do recipes. Now don’t get me wrong recipes are fine, they just don’t work for me. On the logical level I know cooking is a science. It is however, also an art. That is really the only explanation of why recipes don’t work for me. Often I base what I make for dinner on what I am craving, sometimes a family member. This time it was my daughter. She wanted okra. The only ways I like okra is fried or in soup. We are trying to eat healthy and clean so soup it was! I was telling my friend Jen about this after the fact and she said you should totally blog that. I laughed because see above sentences about cooking. As far as I can tell it is both vegetarian and vegan. The wheels started turning however and I was thinking how healthy this turned out to be and good. Did I mention it came out good?

This is what you need based on what I remember.

1 bunch of kale Chopped

1 chopped and diced bulb of fennel (good for calming the stomach and intestines)

4 large carrots

1 bunch scallions

8-10 red creamer potatoes diced

2 yellow squash

1 Large zucchini

2 1/4 inch ginger minced (muscles really like ginger makes them all loosey goosey)

1 tablespoon ground ginger  (only because I didn’t feel like chopping up more fresh stuff)

1 tablespoon basil (its yummy and it fights bacteria and virus’s , Boosting immune system is important stuff)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Green beans cut up

1 tablespoon rosemary ( I really love Rosemary and it helps muscles as well as it supposedly helps memory, circulation and immune health. However I really like it. )

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup green lentils

a container of Veggie broth ( I get organic low sodium but that is just me)

All measurements are from me eyeballing it.

Toss all ingredients in a large pot. Add the entire contents of the broth fill up with water and dump that in too. Let all this simmer for an hour.

Toss in the lentils and let it simmer for another twenty minutes or so.

Boom! Soup! It passed family inspection even if it didn’t have meat in it. I was not at all bothered by the lack of meat.

Time to dig out the toolbox

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I didn’t realize how much my body and my mind had started to crave my walks. It is getting hotter out. I have been to tired, too achy. I put them off. When I did try to get back in the swing the heat and the humidity have reached the point that I need to cut my walks in half. Trying to walk the full four miles left me swollen for hours and too depleted to function. This is where my brain and my body don’t agree. My brain says you can do it. My body says not even close.

I know that now it’s not as hot and as humid as it will be in the dead of summer. I know this is just the beginning, which is why I need to get my Fibromyalgia/mental health toolbox out. I need to get it up to date and keep it fresh in my head too. We need to have a good balance of things that I can do inside and outside. I am not saying I am perfect at this. Far from it in fact. This is why it is important to have it out where you can see it.

What? Don’t you know what I am talking about? What toolbox do you ask? Well if you ask me this is essential and you probably already do it on some level.

This is a list you keep handy to help you remember ways to pace, function and recover.

This is mine. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. However, this can get you started and give you some ideas. Slap this list up on the refrigerator. It needs to be somewhere you will be often. Chances are you will be going to the refrigerator at least once a day. The bathroom is another idea.

I pulled mine and looked it over and updated it a bit. As I am sure many of you know, what worked six months ago may not necessarily still work.

Pace tools

1. Schedule classes/activities in the early morning or late afternoon as much as possible.

This now I would probably change the morning and early afternoon. Late afternoon is not a great time for me to function. I don’t want to have to jump out of bed either so anything after nine am is preferred. Of course, this is not always possible. This is where other aspects of your toolbox will help

2. Take medications on time.

Sigh. I do this one really well for weeks at a time. Then, I fall flat. It’s four hours past medication time and I wonder why I am so exhausted and my heartbeat feels so fast. I then start setting really annoying alarms to go off on my phone. It doesn’t help if you look at it and turn it off and still forget to take your pills. I have done that too. The more annoying it is the more likely it is I will stop what I am doing and take the pills.

3. Schedule Recovery time after activities.

If I am going out and we will be out an hour, I am probably going to need at least half hour recovery time. This is not one of those things I follow all that great. I should, I really should. It really does work. I can get a crapload done around the house if I do it. Twenty minutes cleaning thirty minutes resting and so forth.

Function tools

4. Take a water bottle!

Hydration is of the up-most importance. Obviously it is for everyone. However, our chronic illness/chronic pain bodies are working twice as hard. Drink water! Bring it with you, don’t assume they will have it. If you are not keen on the taste of just plain water, try infused water. Try not to use artificial flavors. These may seem to help you drink water, but it really doesn’t help.

5. Eat!

I can’t tell you how many times this one catches me off-guard. Wait. I eat. I ate this morning. Oh, that was six hours ago. Yeah, those shakes and feeling light-headed might just be related to a lack of food. Specifically protein will be the best bet. I keep roasted peanuts in the car almost at all times. It’s amazing how fast a bit of protein and water will help me recover enough to function until I get home.

6. Focus

Sometimes what we have to do overwhelms us. It can overwhelm anyone, even those without any illness. When I am having trouble functioning, I try to focus on just how much longer I have to do this. How much longer until I can sit down, lay down, be home? This is where some of my recovery tool box items come in handy, like deep breathing.

Recovery tools

7. Meditation

It took me a long time to get into this. I had no idea there were so many types of meditation. The more I explored the better I got. The first few you try won’t necessarily be it for you. I can tell you there are plenty of Guided meditations on YouTube that the person’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard. There were ones the background music drove me nuts. I think a few even made me twitch. You can find a lot of downloads for Guided meditation which is what I recommend. Self-guided was of absolute no use for me. I need someone to tell me breathe in and count the seconds and all that. Tell me what I am supposed to be seeing in my mind. Tell me how my body is supposed to feel. Guess what? It is completely okay if this is not for you. It is completely okay, actually really good if you fall asleep. I often use meditation for this exact purpose. When my brain is focusing on every twitch and pain, my brain is going a mile a minute of all the things I should have done today. It redirects my mind and before I know it, I am asleep.

8. Ginger Tea

This stuff is magic. Ginger works so well for muscle relief. I can’t tell you how many times Ginger has aided my recovery time. I will make it extra strong in just a few ounces of water and toss it back if I am not particularly in the mood for tea. Ginger is scientifically proven to help. This combined with number nine has taken the place of aspirin or Advil for me.

9. Ultracur

Curcumin has so many benefits, not just for people with chronic illness/chronic pain. It has completely changed the way I medicate. If you tried this and were on prescription pain meds, chances are you didn’t notice a difference. I never got the full benefit of it until I had to go off my prescription pain meds. It easily took several weeks for me to notice a definite difference. It took six months before it completely replaced Advil. I am now working on trying to stop taking Tylenol all together at night. Until I found Ultracur it was hit or miss if I could find fresh Turmeric root. Quality products of Turmeric or Curcumin were out of my price range for the amount I needed to be taking per day. Ultracur is by far the most reasonably priced I have found. Every now and again I run out and I realize just how much it does help. It’s very subtle so it’s effectiveness can easily be missed.

10. Epsom salt bath

Okay so this one wasn’t working for me for several months. It drove me nuts. Nothing like looking forward to relief and it not coming. I still haven’t been able to soak for twenty minutes but I have gotten to ten minutes without getting too uncomfortable. Adding essential oils can greatly increase the effectiveness. I use them but there are times I just use Epsom salt. Muscles like magnesium. They like it a lot.

11. Natural Calm

It’s a specific type of magnesium that you drink. It doesn’t always have the greatest taste. However, it works. This is another thing I will take like a shot of alcohol. Just toss it back. Natural Calm tends to work quite quickly. Start your dose very small and work up to the full dose if you need it. Your doctor should be consulted to see what your magnesium needs are and how much you should use for relief. Of all the doctors I have seen, I have yet to have one tell me not to take it.

12. Tart cherry juice

This is another new one that I added not too long ago. It was primarily to help sleep but it also seems to help a bunch of other things. I didn’t like it when I first started drinking it. I struggled to get the minimum two oz down. Now I am more likely to pour at least a six oz cup of juice a few hours before bed.

So there they are, things in my toolbox.

Please do share what is in your toolbox! Let’s share ideas!

Glitterbombs and birthdays and sleep oh my! Ten Things of Thankful

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Ten Things. Ten things of Thankful. Ten big things. Ten little things. Ten big and little things. Ten things that are big to me but little to you. Ten things that are little to me but big to you. Can you find ten things to be thankful for in the past seven days? Can you do it and not change your attitude? I dare you to try it.

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How has it been a whole week already? Forget that how has it been a whole school year already? Summer is indeed here. School is out. However, that does not mean the thankfuls stop. It might even increase the thankfuls, come August. Oh okay probably it will just increase the thankfuls. So lets get right down to it.  If you know me….you know its also going to be picture heavy. Pictures take the place of my short term memory sometimes or something like that. They help me remember. So I take A LOT of pictures.

1. BIRDS!

The Black Skimmer nesting area

The Black Skimmer nesting area

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

2. being able to reach out and help members of our church in return.

Our church has been so amazingly supportive. It was a great feeling helping not one but two church members this week.

3. Sleep. I hesitate to say this but I think the thyroid meds might have fully kicked in. I have been getting some down right decent sleep in the wee hours of the morning and that is normally my hardest time to sleep. Whatever it is, I will take it and just in time for summer vacation. Don’t bother Mommy until at least eight am okay. Okay. yeah. That will happen.

4. Continuing birthday celebrations

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn't split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn’t split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

5. Unexpected glitter bombs

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A very special and sweet lady sent me this. Can you guess who? Glitter, a ladybug!! and glitter tattoo! and a medal for winning at life!!!  This time I opened it on my bed and not in my car. Much easier to clean up.

6. NEW PLANTS. I can’t promise I won’t kill them in the end but remember a while back we got anti-mosquito plants for around the hammock.. well all but one of them are still alive. Plus I have kept a small herb garden going for six months now. So I inherited a cucumber plant and everglades tomato plant. Maybe my black thumb is starting to turn somewhat brownish green.

These I don’t have pictures of yet. Everglade tomatoes are a native to Florida Tamatoe! (I spelled it both ways so however you say it, one is right!)

7 networking in unexpected places.

Someone I met online, who lives local. Like minds and so much we can do together to help the community and each other in so many ways.

8 Princess P!!! We got to spend some time together on Wednesday. Hopefully with Summer coming there will be more playdates!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

9. These lizards

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

10. Juicing!

I have gotten back in the swing of it and I have to say; I am not sure I would have survived this week without juicing each morning. Cucumbers, ginger, turmeric, beets, and sometimes greens and garlic. Oh and lemons.

Then I had the great idea to add some juice to some recently ready Kombucha and let it ferment a bit longer.

BY far the best batch I have made. I drank the whole liter in one day. There was no self control.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

There they are, My ten Things. Now, How about you? Join the blog hop or just come and read and get all the warm fuzzies.

 

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Starting a food prep/cook day with a chronic illness

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Recently I was in a discussion about how I handle food prep and cook day to ensure I continue to eat healthy. It is so hard to function by the end of the day that it is easy to just order take out night after night or to skip eating all together. When my pain level rises I rarely am hungry. Having this day is not easy and it is an all day thing. Don’t expect to function much afterwards. Do expect a rise in your pain levels the first couple times you do it. I promise the more you do it, the more you put good healthy REAL food in you the better you will feel.
I think the best way to start is to go super easy. Lets start with Overnight oats for breakfast , egg and veggie muffins for snacking, Mason Jar salads, and what I call freezer meals. You are going to need a lot of mason jars for this but its the easiest thing to use and for some reason, the salads stay good for over five days in them. Not sure why. Probably some weird science thing.

Breakfast food grocery list

 

14 Mason jars with lids  1 large tub of Greek yogurt( ideally this would be plain but you can get away with vanilla) 1 pint blueberries and I think Blackberries are in season so 1 container of those 2 slightly under-ripe bananas Sliced almonds chia seeds Ground flaxseed Fat free milk(you can use any kind of milk , so almond milk coconut milk those are fine too) Old fashion oats Set out seven mason jars. In each mason jar pour 1/2 cup milk first, then add 1/3 cup greek yogurt, 1/3 cup oats, 2 tablespoons chia, 2 tablespoons flaxseed 1/2 cup fruit( you can mix or just do one fruit in each jar) I like blueberry banana . Bananas need to be sliced. 1/4 cup sliced almonds. Shake and put in fridge.

Snack Grocery list

1 dozen eggs

1 bag chopped kale

1 bag sliced mushrooms

Ground turmeric

ground ginger are a great boosting option to this, add to your taste.

Mix all in a bowl. Grease a muffin tin and pour mix in. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes. When done set aside let cool.  Two “muffins” can go in each zip-lock bag. A really smart friend then put her individual snack bags into a large zip-lock bag so they don’t all get lost and spread over the refrigerator

Lunch Grocery list

1 can chickpeas

1 can salmon or tuna

1 package Deli chicken strips

1 head of romaine

1 bag spinach

2 containers feta

sliced carrot sticks( like the little matchstick ones)

4 cucumbers diced bell peppers ( our store has them diced but sometimes i have to slice and dice them too)

Salad dressings of choice

Line up seven mason jars. In the bottom you are going to put your salad dressing. It is recommended to keep this to no more than two tablespoons Then comes your hard veggies, Carrot sticks, peppers, diced cucumbers(each salad should get roughly half a cucumber) Then comes the chickpeas, This is also where you add a meat choice here to mix it up or even some can tuna or salmon. I personally like the salmon. Then you can rotate Romaine and spinach add the feta last.

The snack eggs should be done by this time. Just set aside to cool.

Dinner freezer meals;If you prefer to use a toaster oven and avoid the microwave you are going to need small glass entree size containers. Otherwise glad or zip-lock entree containers are fine.

Dinner Shopping list

2 pounds chicken

1 pound fish

1 bag quinoa

1 container chicken broth(the less sodium more organic ones are the best option)

1 bag parsnips

about a pound of green beans

Sugar snap peas

1 head broccoli

1 bunch beets.

The easiest way I have found to cook this is on a cookie sheet wrap it in tin foil. Then wrap chicken with whatever seasonings you want in tinfoil. I set the chicken in the middle of a square of tinfoil then fold up and close it up. I typically just use garlic rosemary and lemon zest. Sometimes adding Turmeric as well. You can season each chicken breast seperately if you so choose. They will be cooking in tinfoil in their own juices. Repeat with fish of choice, my family will eat tilapia the easiest so that is what we use but you can use any white fish. Typically I just cook it with lemon and we top with parmesean . Slice the cauliflower and our favorite is to coat in coconut oil add some sea salt and some dill seed and thyme. Wrap it in tinfoil same as chicken folding it up. Slice the beets and add a tablespoon of oil of your choice really Wrap those in tinfoil the same way. Parsnips you can peel if you so desire we don’t normally. Same thing with tinfoil normally i just roll them in about two teaspoons of oil and sprinke sea salt on top. All this goes on baking sheet that was wrapped in tinfoil. Goes in the oven for an hour at 350. The tinfoil helps it all cook evenly and makes it so much easier to clean up after. Set four pots on the stove. Cook enough quinoa in the chicken broth for seven servings in pot one. In pot two go the green beans , pot three sugar snap peas and pot four broccoli. The veggies in the pot you are going to slightly undercook. When the meat and veggies are done in the oven take out and put on table. Well I put it on the table. Then put the pots next to it. Line up your seven entree dishes(gladware or glass) and put about 1/4 cup quinoa two veggie choices and a meat. Put top on and toss in freezer.

 

I only know how long it takes to thaw and heat in the microwave. If you can remember to take one out of the freezer in the morning and put it in the refrigerator that makes heat up time about five minutes. If you have it in the freezers no worries its about eight minutes. Of course this all depends on your microwave.

The first two times you may want to ask a friend to help you. Then you kinda find your rythm or groove or whatever and it goes faster; None of this is set in stone. Change up veggies for dinners as seasons change, same for fruits in overnight oats. There are tons and tons and tons of overnight oats and mason jar salads on Pinterest. The freezer meals I came up with several months back for my husband so he could have real food when he worked nights. Like I said with the salads they last up to ten days so you can easily do this for two weeks if that makes it easier.

DO plan for this to be a full days project.

It typically takes me from eight thirty am to about two thirty pm to complete and I normally am only capable of resting after that. I am pretty much spent for the day.

Then you can start exploring make ahead crock pot meals that you can freeze. So easy.with the same premise only these everything goes in prepped but not cooked in zip-lock freezer bags freeze it and then the same though of defrosting in fridge then dump the bag in crock pot. This would make it more family friendly. There are so many crock pot recipes on Pinterest I find it hard to believe you can’t make two weeks worth of food without someone getting bored of crock pot.

I did this entire thing for a friend of mine who also has fibro and she noticed a dramatic difference in less than a week.

Research the recipes you want to use and plan it out. I would recommend planning it on a different day than actually doing it. My brain can’t handle that much with chronic pain also going on.

Some funny title goes here

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I had this whole post planned out in my head. I planned to write it on Sunday. Fibromyalgia and arthritis just laughed and laughed and laughed and said “No”. So the post that I have in my head will stay there a bit longer.

Here is this instead, how to shut Fibromyalgia and Arthritis up in three oz. It is not necessarily tasty.Think of it as taking a shot of alcohol. Some really nasty alcohol but the idea remains the same.

What you will need: A juicer

1 lemon- use 1/4

some ginger root – 1/4 inch

four to five pieces of Turmeric root

About an inch slice of cucumber

About two inches of celery(not pictured because I added it last minute)

three cloves of garlic

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With in twenty minutes my pain levels were noticeably less. I don’t think an hour ago I could have even typed this much.

Reconnecting my soul

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We are often out hiking or taking nature walks so I didn’t even realize it was missing. The part of my soul that nature just seems to click back in place from all the crazy of life. The problem had not been we were not out hiking or walking, the problem had become it was all too familiar. I needed somewhere new to explore. Once I started thinking about it , I knew that was it. I knew I needed to go some where new to explore and I needed to get dirty. Where oh where could I find that in Florida? The swamp. Oh that sounds perfect. We made plans with a friend to combined families and go to Corkscrew swamp. The day we were to go I decided to look up Corkscrew and see what to expect. What I didn’t expect to find was a twelve dollar per person fee. It would cost us thirty dollars to go hiking? Pass. We will save that for a special occasion hike. So the night before we were suppose to go I was scrambling to look up a place to go. I looked at a bunch of different parks but nothing was striking me. I was actually really looking forward to swamp stuff. A boardwalk through the swamp was just what I needed, or so I thought.

I found Green swamp in Lakeland. It is spread across five county parks. I narrowed it down to Colt Creek Preserve.

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Yes, my daughter chose to wear white to the swamp. I let her because , Bleach. We found great spots to explore. Places where wild boar had dug up, plants and flowers to inspect, and birds so many birds to listen to. It was even a bit wet.

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It was pretty near perfect. Within thirty minutes of the hike starting I felt my soul reconnect, that click that being out in nature does for me. Grounding whatever you call it , I felt it.

We even walked through trail that was past our ankles deep in water. We even scared a turtle out of hiding tromping through that trail. It was not what I had thought. It was a bit more water than I had thought to go through, but it was perfect in so many ways.

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We even came across some wild blackberries growing and some were ripe enough for the girls to eat. We left plenty for the animals though.

We found all kinds of places to explore. I had plenty of water with me and I had taken Ultracur that morning and had enough with me to get me through the rest of the day as well as a nutritious and balanced picnic lunch packed. Plenty of carb replacement and protein along with veggies and fruit. We did not set a certain pace and took breaks as frequently as we needed to.

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The kids did great. We came to a pavilion not too long after this part of the trail. The girls were so busy playing in the field when they were not complaining of being hungry. My friend and I decided to leave the girls there with my husband and go get the van, where we left our lunches. They walked a bit over three miles , not too bad for four girls under ten years old.

When I wanted a swamp hike, I did not envision stomping through water that went almost to my knees.

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In case you think I was kidding, that really was the water line. I didn’t stop while we were stomping through it because I was in anxiety overdrive. If I had been alone or even just with my husband I would have probably turned back. I probably would not have pushed through. I have a lot of anxiety about that much water and not being able to see the bottom. There are snakes and snapping turtles and alligators just so many things my brain could come up with. I was glad I had been practicing deep breathing because it really helped. Whatever was left out of alignment clicked in place after making it through that. The exhilaration of overcoming it really was something I needed, had you told me that ahead of time I would have told you you were crazy.

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I definitely felt the walk the next two days but it was exactly what I needed. It was much easier to give myself permission to rest and recover. I had squelched any fears of not being an involved enough mother. I had stomped on any feelings of uselessness. Truthfully I think my daughter was just as tired as I was afterwards. I definitely felt connected to the Earth and the fact that Earth Day was just a few days away made it seem even better.

When nurturing is hard to do #1000Speak

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There is so much going on in the world that is bad, sad, disheartening and dare I say evil. When you have a kid you just want to protect them from all that bad stuff. I want to stick my daughter in a bubble and not let any of those bad things touch her. I don’t want her to know there are people who are cruel to animals. I don’t want her to see the devastation of deforestation. I don’t want her to see children starving. I don’t want her to see polluted waters and animals dying from it. I don’t want her to see what happens in oil spills. I don’t want her to know anything about terrorist or suicide bombers. I don’t want her to see or hear or be part of any kind of hate or discrimination.

Ultimately parents should do what is best for the child and I know as harsh as it seems, hiding her from those things will not help her.

Why in the world would I want to expose her to any of this? Well, if she doesn’t know about it , I can’t nurture any feelings of compassion for those children, animals, plants, whatever. If I bite the bullet and have the courage to talk to her about these kinds of things, I can help her see more than just one point of view. I can nurture a point of view that comes from compassion and love.  I can help her separate the behavior from the person. I can help her see how much even just voicing her dissent is important. I can help her see that even if it seems no one hears her dissent what matters is she voiced it. I can help her appreciate what she does have and how valuable just knowing where her next meal is coming from is. I can try and make sure the information she receives isn’t biased or warped. I can help foster her natural compassion for nature by open and honest conversations. Perhaps we can even learn together ways to do better , make an impact or just have a better understanding.

When I was in third grade I had to go to summer school. I had to go to summer school basically every summer but that is besides the point. This summer was memorable. Mr. Kelso was this amazing teacher I had that took a week to talk about Earth Day. In the middle of the summer! For years I assumed Earth Day was in the middle of the summer. When it came to my attention it was in April, I was like um what? No it’s not. Did they change it? He had made such an impact that it never occurred to me that it wasn’t actually Earth Day that week. When I think of that summer I think of Mr. Kelso and planting seeds and exploring the ocean tide pools and a bright hot pink Earth Day t-shirt we got. I can truly trace back my wonder in nature and the amazing world we live in to him. He nurtured a compassion for the Earth we live on just by using free materials because they were “old”. Did he think it was no big deal? Just something to fill the time that was also free? I don’t think so. He had an excitement about the whole week that just couldn’t be faked. Even if he did what a great example of how the smallest cheapest things can make such an impact.

This is what inspires my desire to make sure my daughter’s summers are rich in education and fun at the same time.  I started by trying to spread out what I remembered in that one week in the summer of third grade and spread it over the entire summer. We go to science museums and events that are geared toward specific issues. We go to things that to her just seem fun, Puppet shows and gardening events and such. Those puppet shows are about the rainforest and why its important to save it. They are pretty spectacular in and of themselves as it is not just a regular puppet stage type set up. The whole front half of the room is the stage.  We go to Gardening events that have focuses on growing your own food, on the importance of trees and many more. We go on nature hikes with biologist to learn about different insects, last year it was dragonflies. We went to demonstrations on controlled burns and demonstrations on the hazards of water pollution.   This summer we plan to go to a village that is run entirely eco-friendly. Don’t tell Rick Scott but they talk about climate change there.

Maybe all those summer’s ago, Mr. Kelso figured out what I have learned. It is not going to be me that changes the world for the better. It is the seeds I am planting. One of those seeds happens to be my daughter. The seeds I am nurturing in her are hopefully going to be planted in turn and continue in a ripple affect.Ultimately they are seeds of compassion in its many forms.

Link up or read other post that are part of 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak here:

#1000speak Finding our way back. Join Us.

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On my post Gratitude Vs Depression Vs Anxiety at the end I added a bit about a new initiative that I am participating in.

This is a little more about that:

The newest news on that is that you don’t have to be a blogger to join: We now have a site where we will publish anyone who does not have their own blog.

What is this #1000speak all about?

Somewhere we lost our way.

Somewhere we forgot compassion.

We say we have compassion but, I think we have forgotten what true compassion is.

This is what the Free Dictionary say about compassion

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We forgot how much kindness,mercy and love tie into compassion. We forgot to be genuinely happy for others. Instead we are judging them. We are telling them they are wrong. A lot of times we say this with good intentions. We say it is because we care. Because we love them. We forgot that by doing things this way, we are forgetting how absolutely unique each person is. What makes you happy, isn’t necessarily what makes me happy. What makes your life gel is not necessarily what makes my life gel. In fact,if I tried it your way my life would probably fall apart. When I listened to what others said I had to do,I fell apart.I grasped at straws. When I stepped back and listened to my inner voice, When I was true to myself, things started clicking. It is hard because we want to prevent our friends families and even strangers from struggling and grasping like we did. We forget that during that struggle, during that grasping, I was learning. I was learning things about myself, about how I work, How I function.They were lessons I needed to learn.Sometimes they were lessons I had to have several times.

When you add in the horrors that have been in the News lately. Terrorism, death, people falling apart and the news is there to blast it in our face. Is it any wonder that people are loosing their faith in humanity? That depression is on the rise? That people are striking out in anger?In fear?

The best way to make a change in the world is , model the behavior we want to see in the world. If we want to see more kindness, we need to be more kind. If we want to see more love, We need to love more. True non-judgmental I accept you for who you are love. We can’t teach our children compassion if we don’t show them what compassion actually is.  Compassion for humans, compassion for animals, compassion for the Earth. To start modeling it maybe we need to just do it, the feelings and the actual want to be compassionate will follow.

I am proud to know some of the founders of this initiative. Flooding the internet with goodness. With stories of love ,kindness and compassion. Reading about it often inspires us to do more. 1000 bloggers may seem like a small little pebble in the grand scheme of things. It is just the first step. The ripples. That is what I am excited to see. How many ripples will this have? It’s the ripples that make the actual change. I hope for our ripples to be as big as a humongous boulder dropped in a river. Ripples that start in one spot and travel far down the stream.

(all links will open in a separate window for your convenience!)

Here is the post that inspired this initiative. Here is the post that started this in motion. Yvonne and Lizzi are just plain amazing. Their compassion is astounding.

If you would also like to join this initiative-sign up here.  Don’t have a blog? No problem. Send your writing to THIS EMAIL.

We also have a Facebook page you can follow the progress on!

Follow on Twitter under the hashtag  #1000speak

And of course stay tuned on this blog!!!

Gratitude vs Depression vs Anxiety

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I have participated in Ten Things of Thankful for a few months now. Sometimes when I realize it is time to write the post I am at a loss. The things that stood out the most were the things that went so very wrong.  Things that annoyed me, frustrated me. Things to be thankful for or grateful for, not so obvious. I started just writing down something every day. It wasn’t immediate but it slowly has turned me around. I still have my days that my first response is to be grumpy and grouchy and anti-social.  It is especially easy when it is grey and overcast and nasty out. Sometimes I can in the midst of things going wrong, find the good.  I might not be happy about it but I can admit that there is something good in it. Some times I am not feeling thankful for it or even grateful for it. Just acknowledging it is the first step.

The really magical part is, reading the other blog posts. People with harder struggles then me are finding good. It really does help my depression. It’s like it forces me to think and depression doesn’t really like it when you think. Depression just wants you to listen and believe. Anxiety likes to be irrational so it too doesn’t like you to think. When you start thinking, even if it is just acknowledging what you do have, depression and anxiety have less power.

Remember that game at the arcade. Whack-a-mole. That is what it is like fighting depression and anxiety.  Sad thoughts whack. feeling helpless whack. lack of motivation-whack. whack. whack. Oh no one is  poking up. Sigh of relief. This is it. I get to rest now. I beat it. Then suddenly five moles pop up.  Sometimes I find myself angrily whacking it thinking. THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS. It works sometimes but what works best. A deep breath and then calmly thinking of good things.  It is really hard to do that second part though. I still get anxiety that spikes my heart rate and causes chest tightness and can’t breathe and omg all the things. It is really really hard to force myself to breath. To speak over the irrationality of the anxiety.

The key for me is to write a thankful each day. Even if it is at the end of the day right before I go to sleep. I did it. I found one. I am victorious over depression and anxiety just in that one thought. That is how I have clawed my way out. One thought at a time. Repeating things over and over to myself until I am so sick of it that anxiety has no power over me on that subject. Sometimes it is watching my daughter on the playground. She will not fall she will not fall she will not fall(anxiety flash) no she will  not fall. But that didn’t happen. She did not fall she did not fall. Constantly telling my anxiety it is wrong.  When things do happen that I actually worried about, I have to remind myself I did what I could. I will learn and move on. I will not dwell. No I will not dwell. WHACK WHACK WHACK stop it. I will not dwell.  The more I do this the more I have been able to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety. When my anxiety is high, I have a hard time with intuition. I can’t think with my gut at all when anxiety is around.

It also helps to write what went wrong and then write but this happened because of that so this is good. Writing what went wrong and finding the silver lining is another whack.

One positive thought at a time, I am winning. One positive thought at a time, I am thriving.

In another step out , I will be participating in BE THE VILLAGE 1000 voices of compassion #1000speak

 1000 voices from all  over the world, on the same day flooding the internet with good, positive posts. Posts about Compassion, Posts about kindness, Posts about self-compassion. Posts about caring for others, caring for the environment. Posts about Non-judgement. Spreading love all over the world. This will happen on February 20th 2015.

You can participate even if you are not a blogger! Follow the hashtag #1000speak  comment, share, like, favorite. The main point being to interact!

If you are a blogger and would like to be part of the 1000 you can request to join here.