Destined for great things.

Jan 2 2013 122

There is something beautiful and magical about personal growth. About reaching for, and obtaining, your potential.

My entire master’s degree is about growth – becoming the person I want to be, the person I’m meant to be, and then helping others do the same. Let me tell you, I’m growing something fierce in the very best way possible…but it’s also terrifying.

I’ve surprised myself with my strength and courage. It’s an empowering thing to face a challenge deemed too big and overcome it. It lends us the courage to take on bigger things. There are times we fail, but the momentum from achieving the other big things empowers us to keep moving.

I’ve learned how important people, space and energy is to my mental wellness. I need the right people in my life. I need the right space in my life. I need the right energy in my life if I hope to ever achieve all of the great things I want to achieve.

I’ve realized that there is no such thing as “doing it on my own”. Whether it’s obvious support from a spouse or partner, or less obvious support from a coworker, boss, neighbour, etc – none of us do it alone, and knowing and appreciating that can be very powerful.

I’ve developed a new awareness of myself, my relationships, and the things that are important to me. I’ve realized that as much as I *want* to have a simple life, filled with simple things – I’m just not that kind of person. Traditional is not enough for me. It’s a beautiful way of life, but it’s not my way of life.

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Most importantly, though, is the realization of what I want. For as long as I can remember, I have put what I want on hold for others. I’ve been trying to fit my round shape into a square hole – and it is stifling. The clarity on what I want, and the promise of what achieving what I want will help me obtain, has never be more profound.

I want challenging, exciting, terrifying adventures. I want to shape the world around me. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be.

All of that involves some pretty big changes, and that is both scary and exciting.

More to come. 😉

Book Reviews

It has been just beautiful here lately. Spring has officially sprung, and I am enjoying the warm weather and sunshine!

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I’m at the halfway point of my Masters Degree completion… it is crazy to think I’m halfway from being done. The first half of this degree I took a reading hiatus because I thought I would be “read out” from reading so much for school. Imagine my surprise when I found I desperately missed it? Who knew – but apparently, reading is also one of my main coping skills, grounding tools and the way I refill my cup!

This term I made it a point to read more and in one term I was able to finish two novels (normally, it would 8 novels so I guess I am slowing down!). I don’t mind, because it really does calm me and help me feed my soul.

What about you? What kind of things do you do to feed your soul?


IMG_20190520_133924 Where the Air is Sweet – Tasneem Jamal

I picked this one up from Chapters in their discount section (some of my best finds are from the Chapters discount section!) – and I really, really loved it! It was so well written – there were times where I could really see the scenes. I loved the story and enjoyed following the generations through their very challenging, emotional and beautiful journey between many worlds, many times. I also loved the strength in Mumtaz and Rehmat – the consistently with which Jamal shows the connection between women is really beautiful.

It was even more wonderful when I realized it was based on Jamal’s families personal experience as they migrated between Uganda and Canada – trying to find their place I the world. Definitely recommend this one!

The Road to Enchanted – Kaya McLarenIMG_20190504_101500

This was another Chapters discount find. I picked it because it sounded interesting, and was a slightly different genre for me which is something I like to do every once and a while to mix things up. This book didn’t disappoint – it definitely mixed things up and I really appreciate the realistic way that McLaren portrays an unwanted pregnancy and how Willow processes through her options. That aspect is not reflected nearly enough in media – so I respected that.

Having said that… I found this book was far too cliché in every other way. It was cheesy at times and definitely predictable. I’m not sorry I read it, but I likely won’t reread it. It was an easy read though…so I recommend if you’re looking for something simple and basic.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear about it!

We NEED to do better.

100 years ago, maternal pregnancy mortality was terrifyingly high. 200 years ago, it was even higher. This was a result of pregnancy complications, poor diet, lack of resources…all of the things you expect. But there was one other cause that no one talks about: illegal abortions.

Illegal abortions that were completed in back rooms, off of back alleys, by unskilled people who had been sought out by desperate women. Many of these desperate women died from infection, complications or bleeding. The ones who survived often became infertile as a result of uterine scarring. Some, although not enough, went on to have healthy children.

This was a reality for hundreds of years. Despite the law, despite religious and moral persecution – desperate women continued to seek out ways to end unwanted pregnancies. This, to me, signals how very desperate these women were and how unfailingly they could see no other option (and truly, back then, there WAS no other option). It’s not like women skip into an abortion clinic – it is an extremely emotional, distressing and uncomfortable procedure that is not taken lightly by the women receiving them, or the people performing them. What has led them to this path is one we can never understand, and supporting women’s rights to choose begins with that understanding: we cannot possibly understand, so how can we tell them what the right choice is?

I always hope women can and will choose adoption – but I also know the adoption system is full, taxed and I am not sure foster care is always the best choice either.

What I see in all of this is a series of difficult options, and I am not sure which one is the right or best one. What isn’t fair is forcing one person to pay the price for a situation that two people created. If one of those two has the option not to follow through, then the other should too. After all, this society is not one that makes life easy for single mothers or abandoned/ parentless children.

I think our real problem is not just providing safe medical procedures for all citizens…but adjusting the cultural disillusions around sex, women and men. But that is a post for another time.

For now, I am sad for America. As one of my favourite countries to visit… I have found the last few years very, very disheartening and this abortion law only adds to that.

We *NEED* to do better. We *NEED* to build a society where women and men are respected and treated equally, where children are loved and cherished and cared for and where women have the same rights as men. We need to build a society where individuals are never left in states of desperation so severe that they feel like they have no choices.

We need to do better.

My go-to

Sometimes there are things in life that evoke a very strong, overwhelming emotional reaction in me and I don’t always know how to process them.

In psychology – we call these things triggers. Triggers can be a result of childhood trauma, abuse, violence, adversity or almost any negative experience. They can be as severe as smelling the same cologne that your abuser wore, something as “minor” as a coworker who laughs the way your high school bully laughed. Basically – a trigger is something that elicits strong emotions in you based on a past experience. Often it happens so fast that we don’t even know what exactly happened – just that we’re now feeling like we’re 12 and trapped in a janitors closet again because my new coworker laughed at a funny joke. The tricky part about triggers is that they grab tight to us, and while we *know* we’re not that 12-year-old girl anymore – that doesn’t seem to stop the negative feelings that we thought were long behind us.

Our memories are amazing things, aren’t they? I can’t remember what I had for lunch, but I can remember exactly how that janitors closet smelled and, to this day, that smell upsets my stomach.

I have a handful of triggers that bring back unpleasant memories that I wish would go away. I think most of us do… over the years, I’ve developed some pretty healthy coping skills which include (but are not limited to): playing the violin, listening to music, walking, meditation, breathing and challenging those thoughts. Of all of these things…you know what seems to be most effective?

Queen.

No, for real: listening to Queen soothes and empowers me. I know, right? Random. But here I am, listening to Radio Gaga and knowing everything will be OK. I think this works for me because Queen was the first band that I decided *I* like. It wasn’t influenced by people in my life and it wasn’t something I liked because I was told to like it – it was a decision I made all by myself on my own tastes. What an empowering, amazing thing.

I also admired Freddie Mercury for being himself without apology. The world wasn’t ready for him, and he was far from perfect – but he was who he was and gave no explanations for it. He didn’t like who he was – so he created his own image of who he wanted to be. He poured himself into his music, the good/bad and ugly – and I think that is something we could all learn from. And, he was insanely talented and that is worth admiring all on it’s own.

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Who/what is your go-to when you’re feeling stressed?

Thursday Thoughts – Unexpected Lessons

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I am currently doing my MA in Psychology. With that, comes a boatload of learning and some pretty intense personal growth – but I am *loving* every single second.

What has continued to surprise me is the lessons I have learned as a by-product of my education. I anticipated to learn what is in my curriculum – but I definitely didn’t expect some of the side lessons and many of them have been even more profound than the curriculum.

#1) Personal growth is hard and uncomfortable. It changes the dynamics of the relationships in our lives…and as a result, some will be lost while new ones will be gained. It is also amazing and can lead the way to new opportunities, newer and better relationships, and greater fulfillment. I love personal growth – but not everyone does… for a lot of people it is scary and they refuse to partake. While it can be frustrating … they’re doing it for very valid reasons, and it’s important to acknowledge and respect that.

#2) Similar to #1 – people change at different rates. Two people can receive the same counselling and progress at different rates and in different ways. No two are the same, and that is one of the most beautiful things about life.

#3) We need to forgive those who have hurt us. Holding onto the anger is only continuing to hurt us. Forgiving them doesn’t mean what they did was OK – it just means we are no longer going to carry it for them. This one was huge for me as I have quite a broken family and a lot of anger towards my parents. I’ve learned that while I don’t need to say what happened when I was growing up was OK…I do need to stop carrying it for them. Those burdens belong to my parents, alone, and they can carry them. I’m not going to anymore. Through this process I’ve also learned to look at them in a different light: the things they did (or didn’t do) was a result of their own trauma, addiction and ignorance. This perspective has allowed me to view them with sympathy more than anger and realize that some people are just unable to grow (as a result of trauma, resources, addiction, etc.). That doesn’t make them bad people – it just makes them unwell people…

Deciding to no longer carry their burden has been huge for me. I didn’t realize how heavy it was – how exhausting the weight of the poverty, abuse, danger and insecurity that plagued my childhood was. I didn’t realize how heavy it was to hold their secrets. I was the middle child, but the most mature by far and so I carried the bulk of these secrets and realities on my shoulders – even now, at 32. There are things I know about my parents that my siblings don’t know. The three of us could share in the experience of being born to people who didn’t want and shouldn’t have had kids – but for some of the things, I had no one to share them with because I was the only one that knew – that was heavy. I am amazed at how easy it is to give them back their burdens – it doesn’t mean I told anyone anything, it just means I mentally decided that this was their burden not mine (I have my own, thank you very much). I do have to “give” these burdens back regularly because old habits die hard – but it’s getting easier, faster, and slowly becoming habit!

4) Everyone is trying. They really are – it may not be obvious, it may not be the way we try, but everyone is trying on some level. For some, it may just be getting out of bed that day or having a shower – but it still requires effort, it still requires a decision to do the opposite of how they feel, and that should be praised because change is HARD!

It’s been an amazing journey of learning so far… and I am so excited for what is in store. Already, I feel like I have learned so much and I know it’s just beginning. What an amazing gift.

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Do you like personal growth? Do you strive for it? Anyone in your life who can’t or won’t change?

Milestone?

Lately I have been seeing my first ever spam comments….now I’m getting a couple a day.

What does that mean? I’m not really sure. I don’t want to add captcha but if I have to – I will. I think I’m more curious….is this some kind of milestone? Fellow bloggers…is this thing I should be celebrating? Perhaps with the purchase of an electric lawn mower since that what they’re all offering? (Side note: we live on 25 acres…I’ve never even thought about searching for one let alone actually searched one so where do these come from??) The internet can be a strange place! 😀

So … Thanks for being here and …happy….spam-a-versary?

More fun!

Do you ever feel like you need more fun in your life?

I do. Between our full time jobs and my Masters degree I feel like we mostly just work. There isn’t enough fun happening and that’s a struggle for me.

I mean…kids are fun, but we don’t have those so sometimes it feels like our life is pretty lonesome. That’s sad to me…and yet, I know it’s important to preserve our energy for the things that keep us afloat (like our jobs). So I’m kind of in this weird place where I can’t decide what to do…how do you introduce more fun without losing out on the important things?

Any and all advice is appreciated!

Bento Boxes – A Review

I am probably one of the last people to jump on this band wagon…and it’s mostly because I don’t have kids, and thought they were for kids only. But for months I’ve been wondering about moving back to an easier style of meal planning – in particular, for lunches. Eating healthy is great, and I feel great, but it’s not as easy as eating junk and I’m struggling to come up with healthy lunches for Mr. Big and I.

And then I stumbled upon these…grown up versions of a bento box (with compartments/portion sizes for adults):

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Blue Box: 1/2 cup of crackers, 1 cup of tomatoes, 2 cups vegan potato/veggie salad and 1.5 cup turkey breast & cheese | Green Box: 1/2 cup crackers, 1 cup strawberries, 2 cups cucumbers/carrots, 1.5 cup of farmer sausage.

They come with clear lids that help prevent leakage between compartments, a foldable spoon/knife/fork and a condiment pocket in the lid for salad dressing, condiments or little extras (I put our multivitamins in them).

I am *in love* with how easy these are. I know I want the largest compartment for veggies, the 2nd largest for protein and the two smaller ones for a carb and fruit. While both small compartments are 1 cup – I only fill the crackers up halfway. I usually take leftover meat from dinner in mine, while Mr. Big takes a variety of things…but on days when we have limited time, we stick with basics like lunch meat, fresh veggies and farmer sausage. The middle compartment is big enough to hold a salad, mixed veggies, and things like pasta / potato salad. They’re also versatile based on our needs… I need less protein and carbs than Mr. Big – so I pack mine with less, while I pack his with more (hence the two cheese sticks).

The only thing I would change about these containers is that I would buy one with removeable compartments. As one solid piece it is easy to commute with…but it is a huge pain to heat up only one portion. Then again…I don’t like to heat up plastic anyway so it may be a good thing that I have to remove the items that need heating.

Do you struggle with lunches? Do you use bento boxes? Any suggestions for easy bento box meals?

#microblogmonday – Day Off

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Spring is finally on it’s way!

Yesterday I finished another term – I’m just three terms away from completing my Masters degree (well, three terms and two practicums but since I’ll be working in the field for my practicums, I count that as being done :-)).

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To celebrate, I took today off. I was debating whether I should since it’s been so rainy here lately…if its going to be miserable out, I may as well be at work…you know?

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Anyway – as you can see from the pics above…it was NOT rainy. 🙂 It was a beautiful day to spend running errands, walking the dogs, getting some shopping done and then sitting in the sun reading. Now I’m chopping up some veggies for dinner and watching….

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Any other 90s babies who recognize this movie?

For more on microblog Mondays, click here.

Fertility Update – Mar. 29

I think it’s time for another fertility update.

Weightloss:

I will start with my weightloss – I find a *significant* difference in my health when I eat no sugar and low gluten. I feel better, I sleep better and my gut is happier. I have not consistently been sugar and gluten free – but I certainly know when I’ve had it because I feel bad. I’ve also found the increase in activity has me feeling stronger, and like I can do more.

Recent weightloss: 6.4 lbs | Total weightloss (since January 31): 24 lbs


Fertility:

I’m on CD56 today. FIFTY SIX with absolutely no period in sight, and I am so frustrated. For almost six years I’ve had relatively regular periods ranging from 29-36 days. Once a year or so, I would have a 44 day cycle but otherwise is was reliable and consistent. This is the first sign of PCOS that I’ve had in almost 6 years…since my recent tests all showed no signs of PCOS, I am curious what is going on inside my body to make it rear it’s ugly head.

I’m also frustrated because yesterday marks 10 years with Mr. Big, and 9 of them have been centered around our fertility – and we still have nothing to show for it. When people ask me, I still tell them we’ve been trying for 7 years because I forget it’s been longer… but it’s actually 9 years… that is too long.

Cross your fingers for me that AF shows up, and soon. Excuse me while I go book a Doctors appt (boo).