November 23, 2016

Moved - New Link

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November 4, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Journey

La Vibora at Six Flags Over Texas, 2009

I was chatting at lunch today with a few co-workers about our experiences on some amazing roller coasters at some of the best amusement parks across North America.

It's all about the ride.

We don't talk much about that short moment after, as the safety bar raises and you exit the car. That breath of relief, the plans for the next ride, the next activity.

We like to tell our story of the ride.

It's all about that journey, that ride, those ups and downs, every bone-shaking curve. It's all about the moments of anticipation as you clicky-clack up the hill and then the pause before the stomach-flopping decent. All the moments, thrilling or still.

Life should be that way, too.

Sure, we set goals or make plans, but make sure you don't miss the rest of life's journey.

It's all about the little things—the picnics along the way, the stops and starts, and restarts.

Life is about noticing the sunrises and sunsets.
Enjoying the feeling of sand between your toes.
The way your child or nephew or neighbourhood kid throws back their head to laugh.

It's about hugging a friend when they are down, having tea with your mother or grandmother, and taking a walk beside the sea on a windy day.

Life is a journey.

Don't forget that.

Stop for a moment, look around and enjoy it. 

On Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them.

Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. THIS WEEK Link back HERE and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

November 2, 2016

Write 31 Days - Cut

I have a scar on my left knee from a childhood cut.

I was a tough kid who played hard, so cuts and scrapes weren't unusual. But for some reason I remember getting this particular cut.

I was about 6 years old.
We were visiting friends in a smaller town about an hour away.

All the kids were playing outside on the pleasant summer's day.
Our friends, my siblings, other neighbourhood kids.

And there was a wagon involved.

I think we were riding in the wagon, down a hill, quite fast.

Something happened, maybe we hit a bump, maybe that little wagon was just not meant to be ridden downhill by two or three kids at that speed.

We tumbled out of the wagon and my knee hit the gravelly pavement, hard.

There was blood, and skin and though I was tough, there were a few tears.

My mom, in her calming way, dried my tears and took me inside to clean me up.

For some reason this is the first time I remember the feeling of hydrogen peroxide being poured onto a wound. Being the rough kid that I was I'm sure it had been administered before that moment, but this was an instance I clearly remembered.

That dark brown bottle tipped up and for a moment the pain was searingly worse. Then the liquid frothed and bubbled on the oval open wound on my knee. Like a an injured cub I cried out, not understanding that this additional pain would be worth it, would help my wound and start the process of healing.

The sharpness of the treatment stung badly but my mom's gentle cool hands patted and bandaged and sent me back outside to play.

I'm sure we played some more and I'm sure I was into more mischief by the end of that day.

I even managed to make everyone laugh when we were leaving, slapping a neighbourhood boy on the back and proclaiming, "Well, s'long Jeremy!" (A memorable moment that has become a family saying ever since.)

Now, as an adult with a few more scars and bumps along the way, I notice that half-inch line of a scar on my knee once in a while.

I remember that even when we are wounded, the pain doesn't last forever.
Though sharp and difficult to ignore, pain fades.

We can heal, we can be patched up, and sent back out to play.

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 31, 2016

Write 31 Days - Confront

I am not great with confrontation, good or bad.
I don't like speaking up. I don't like when someone argues with me.
I get warm and panic inside as the blood visibly rushes to my face.
I never know what to say in the moment.

I am much, much better at ignoring a problem or letting it get buried deep down.
But that's never a solution to confrontation.

This September I decided it was high time to confront something head on, no matter what the outcome: my health.

I hadn't seen my doctor other than briefly for prescription renewals over the past several years so it was time for a check up.

First he gave me an order for blood work for pretty much everything just to have a starting point.
Then I had an appointment to go over all the test results.

Almost everything we tested was flagged at either too high or two low...and not in a good way.  
That was not quite a shock but still a little upsetting.

My doctor is on the quieter, more serious side, but he was kind and asked lots of good, thoughtful questions. We put some new treatments into motion addressing my lack of energy, poor sleep, and my weight issues, with which I've struggled all my life.

To hopefully avoid taking numerous new medications to lower some of those not-so-good numbers, for the next first six months I am going to try and start on a healthier path with better choices revolving around food and exercise.

Driving home after that appointment I was a bit of a basket case.
The tears flowed and I just couldn't wrap my head around how I'd gotten to this point in my life.
Not that anything was really bad, just borderline, and I could no longer ignore it.
I was just so very overwhelmed with everything.  

This was NOT where I wanted to be.
I didn't want pain or discomfort or weight to every hold me back from anything. And I've truly tried to not let it, but I has been happening more and more.
Now was time to put my plan into action for me to get health.

This had been coming for a long time. And now I was forcing myself to confront it.
But that was a good thing. A difficult thing, but a step in the right direction.

So far, things are going well. I'm feeling good.
We increased my dosage of my thyroid medication and I have more energy than I used to.
I'm making better choices, thus eating better and I'm down 15 pounds since I starting keep track at the beginning of September. A small victory!

I still tend to get overwhelmed easily and shut down or off and ignore what I need to do.
But I've been taking everything a little bit at a time, trying not to focus on the small tasks rather than the larger picture and have it overtake me.

I plan my week, taking time to make healthy meals that I can eat for lunch or supper. Lots of veggies, enough protein at every meal, less snacking, and forcing myself to get out to walk or some other exercise when I can.

I'm not thinking about this as a temporary thing...this is my life.
I cannot waste a moment.

I need to confront what's not working head-on and change, bit by bit until my life looks and feels like healthy and whole, noting holding me back.

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for not judging.
We are all on our own journey. 

I'm sure I'll write more on this topic as the weeks go on, so stay tuned!

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here

October 28, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Eat

Lately I've been making a concerted effort to make healthy meals at home.
(read about my health journey here)

I know many of us can get into a bad habit of eating out way too often, which is never a great idea for your health, let alone your monthly budget.
I've really been enjoying fresh local produce, yummy and filling salads, and easy hot meat and veggie dinners I can take to work.
Here are a few of my recent favourites.

Salads: I used to dread making and eating salads!
They always tasted the same. They never seemed filling or satisfying.
They never felt like a good, hearty meal.

I've been experimenting and here are a few tricks I've learned that are helping me to LOVE my lunchtime or supper salads.

Romaine Hearts - these crisp, dark green leafy lettuces have been my staple base for my salads. Romaine is packed with nutrients—vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber!
They tend to stay crisp in my fridge for a week or two and can even replace taco shells or wraps for a change at meal times.

Bell Peppers - I never used to like peppers, but now I love the solid, tangy crunch these bright veggies add to my meal. I either dice them or I use my slicer (mandolin style, mine's from Epicure) to make thin strips (which can also be stored and used later sauteed for fajitas for stir frys!). Bell peppers are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits!

Tomatoes - Most summers I've tried to grow my own tomatoes. I had a decent crop this year of small cherry and romas and add a good 6-10 of these small fruits to my salads. Did you know that tomatoes have long been linked to heart health? Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol!

I've also been enjoying using my slicer to add some more delicate slices of the more denser, hard veggies like carrots and radishes to my concoctions. (see photo above!)

I also have bulk bags of unsalted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries in my freezer door and add a teaspoon or two of each to top off my lunch.

Some new toppers I've begun to incorporate are the Epicure brand nutritional yeasts—the Asian Umami or the Garlic & Onion. They contain inactive nutritional yeast offering a source of 8 essential vitamins & minerals. They have a rich almost cheesy flavour and have replaced my previous generous use of salt and pepper.

I'll also chop up an apple or add half a ripe avocado and finish off with some home made Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (simple olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and Epicure dry mix).

Protein at every meal is also important, so I've either been adding some chicken I've made the night before, or from a store-bought BBQ chicken, or even my own homemade meatballs! 

Now, maybe this isn't the way you'd make a salad, or maybe you really want to tell me I'm doing it all wrong. But hey, it's working for me so far. I'm enthused about making and eating my lunchtime salads so back off and make your own. 
No really, I encourage you to experiment and try out some new combinations for your salads. Add a fruit like a pear or mandarin oranges, add nuts or seeds like almonds or sunflower seeds. 

I'd also encourage you to find out more about Epicure products. Not because I want to push selling them (yes, I do work for Epicure!), but because I am enjoying them so much! They all enhance your food in a healthy, clean-eating way. I've already had to clean out my pantry to add all my new Epicure spice blends and other products and I'm having a blast discovering new uses and flavours from all the products I have. 

Happy cooking and healthy-eating!

This has been a writing prompt post from #Write31Days, join in the fun. 

Catch up on all my 31Days + 5MinFriday posts by clicking here