Monday, September 24, 2012

Taking control of your own path

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I am not one to assert that you can choose not to grieve or have bad times.
When life hits the sh*t fan, you simply can't catch all the pieces.

But you can choose how you grieve.
You can choose to get help,
choose to receive help.

There is no "right" way to grieve that will make everything easy,
you will still make decisions that you wish you hadn't.
You will still have to work at it.

I wrote a few weeks ago about loving yourself
accepting where you are, letting go,
and moving through it, not against it.
Also about recognizing what you are putting out to the world.

There's another step in this equation.

Grief, life, the world did not happen "to you"
I hate to destroy millions of pity parties.
But the world is not against you.
No deity singled you out to crap on your pretty life.

Sometimes life didn't go as planned,
if you ask most people,
life didn't go as they planned - sometimes its just a bigger deviation.

But you know what you can control...YOU.
Get yourself up, brush your teeth, and keep trudging.

If you feel "stuck",
think to yourself - "self, have we done anything different lately,
or are we expecting new results from old behavior?"

If working out isn't working, try a peer group,
if dwelling in grief chat rooms isn't working, try running,
if playing atlas and carrying the world on your shoulders is crushing you with its weight, try allowing others to help. You may even have to ask for help because you've pushed all of your helpers away for so long that they've stopped asking.

But if you're willing to change,
if you want to own your path,
you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone.

There are days when you need to hide under the covers,
ignore the world,
and sit with the pain of love, loss and the world.

But that is not every day,
there is balance in this world.
You must own the responsibility for finding happiness to balance your sorrow.

Watch a funny tv show,
go for a bike ride,
appreciate the beauty of the changing colors,
snuggle a kitten.
Most importantly: appreciate what you have, and create what you want.

This weekend I watched a group of 10 widows and widowers do just that.
They took control: they showed up, they opened up
they made a difference: for each other and for themselves.

I heard how much they hate the word "widow"
and that it applies to them.
How they hate raising fatherless children,
feeling crazy all the time,
and not knowing what to do with their beloved's posessions.

I also heard how they wanted more,
more from life, more for themselves
more for their children.
How they were terrified, but going after "more" regardless.

These women (and man) have been handed what's considered the worst cards in the deck,
but they show up, take control, and dare for something more.
I am inspired and in love with the energy and compassion and *hope* we share.

My hope
is that everyone will find it in themselves
to imagine more
then have the guts to proactively go get it.

Its not easy. But its worth it.

What can you do to take more control?

With love and light,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

October Unprocessed

Via Creative Commons

So we all started a 30 day challenge around here...about 30 days ago.
I'd love to hear how everyone did.
Here I come with your next challenge.

30 days of unprocessed foods.

The original idea came from a re-post from one of my favorite blogs: 100 days of real food.
The concept is as follows:
can you,
for the month of October
give up processed foods?

30 days...its not so bad right?

"Processed" being anything that when you look at the label,
you don't have the ingredients in your kitchen.
(not because you haven't been to the store, but because you don't stock potassium sorbate or maltodextrose in a normal kitchen).
If you (given superpower cooking skills) couldn't make it, then don't eat it.

BUT, just because a Big Mac contains crap you shouldn't eat,
doesn't mean you are hamburger-less.

Its amazing the satisfaction that comes from cooking with whole ingredients
and producing a product that is: spectacular, fulfilling, yummy & edible!

Visit Andrew at Eating Rules to learn more
and to sign up for their daily emails during the month of October.

I know I will be participating,
and you may thing "but she already eats like that, so its easy"
If you think avoiding a list of 30+ allergens is easy, try it.

Also, a mere 2 years ago I didn't watch my diet,
I ate all the processed foods:
Dr Pepper, Reese Pieces, Dominos Pizza ......
One by one I started eating healthier, and making my own "take out favorites" at home.
My body appreciates the dedication and commitment I have toward putting good fuel into it.
I feel (and look) a million times better.

I'm not asking you to go organic,
I'm not asking for you to remove soda for forever.
But 30 days of a little can do that.
You already have!

With love and light,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bored with Grief

Bored - Moyan Brenn

I am bored with grief.
I want it to retire,
grief is tired. (or I'm tired of grief)
Its like the drive to work -
I know every turn,
every pothole, every advertisement.
And I'm bored.

I want to take a new road
The side street with lush trees
cute little houses,
and kids walking to school.

I'm so sick of grief.
Its not even really traumatic anymore,
just worn-out and tired.
I see it coming and I just sigh
"oh this again, really?! We've done this before"
can't we change the channel?

My grief is becoming similar to a video
not one that I like,
but one I know every word to regardless.
Like the favorite of my little brother that was always playing.

Akin to Beauty & the Beast - I know every word to my grief story.
I can recite it without even thinking.
It can run in the background for a while before I even notice.

I have lots of other emotions,
lots of other movies.
But time after time,
every month or two,
something happens
and that same old dingy film plays again.

Today I am bored with grief.
But it won't turn off,
and I can't find a good side road to take instead.

With Light and love, 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't let fear run the show

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I realized why it is so hard to fundraise for the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and their Out of the Darkness Community Walk.


We don't want to talk about suicide.
We are afraid that we will be labeled.
We are afraid that we'll be looked down upon.

People will assume things.
They will assume that we have problems.
Assume that we know someone who died of suicide.
Assume that we weren't good enough.


You know what I'm afraid of?
I'm afraid of hearing that one more person
is heartbroken and confused.
That one more person thought about suicide but didn't know where to turn.

I fear going into the house when I don't see movement.
There is no peaceful calm,
in the still silence
only fear,
petrifying fear,
that today is the day I lose someone dear to me again.

So yes, I'm afraid of talking about suicide.
I hate fundraising for this.
I hate having to tell friends and family why its important.
But I can't just keep waiting.

Waiting until it is too late.
Until someone I didn't expect to lose
is ripped from me again.

I will make you uncomfortable when I talk about it.
I make myself uncomfortable.
But, you don't get it - I don't care about the fear.
Its worth it. 

I will not lose one more person
because I was afraid.
I need to know that EVERYONE who knows me
knows that I am someone they can come to.
Because I "get it"
without judgement
only love
and desperation
to please look at those you love, who love you
and realize that you are irreplaceable.

On Saturday I walk,
I walk with family,
I walk with friends,
I walk with widows.

I don't walk "for Mike"
he let his demons take him.
I walk so that somebody else -
has the strength to confront theirs. 

Also seen here on

For the Love of Corgis

I'm stuck on a post that I feel like I should write, but can't. So in the meantime a few people have suggested that I pull out of my writing slump by writing about something that I love. Writing-candy if you will.

So what is my cotton candy of the blogging world......


Via Creative Commons

I freaking love corgis. I don't know if I have ever even met one in person. I think I might burst. Like the feeling when I got to give Jane Goodall a hug! But maybe even bigger. And if you know my love of Jane Goodall, you can extrapolate how much I have the experience of playing with a corgi built up in my heart/head.

What would I do if I got to play with a corgi? I'd pretty much do this.....
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Then go for a swim at the lake
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Maybe a drive to the park
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Where we would play with some toys
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My buddy and I would have to hike in the mountains
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And definitely not settle down until someone dragged us home!
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How are you feeling after some corgi lovins?
I'm feeling a bit better. Still don't know how to write about the AFSP and why I'm walking for the OUT OF THE DARKNESS Suicide Prevention walk this weekend.

So just cut me some slack and join our team or donate to our cause.....the corgis would do it.

via creative commons
With Love and Light, 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adventures in Food Allergies, and Becoming a Home Cook

I've never been much of a cook. My elementary, Jr High and High school lunches were composed of peanutbutter sandwich crackers and an apple. Its a miracle I didn't starve in college.

In 2009 I posted a picture of my first attempt at handling raw chicken. This was my version of fajitas, I was 25 years old. I'm not lying, I had never handled raw chicken before this. Sad but true.

These fajitas weren't bad, but they were far from complex, or even really that good. It was literally pre-slicked chicken, peppers, onions and pre-made taco seasoning.

In July of 2011 (thank you FaceBook for giving me a timeline of my cooking adventures) I made a dinner with more than 3 ingredients for only one person...this was a huge step! I totally cheated used stew meat so I didn't have to man-handle raw beef and slice it into edible portions.
Again, this was edible, healthy even. But my seasoning was soy sauce, hoisin and garlic chili paste. A far cry from a complex flavor profile and probably had enough sodium to crystallize if left out overnight. 

However, my shopping trips now look like this:
Fresh organic veg from my local co-op
And I make things like this for work snacks:
kale chips

This weekend alone I made 2 loaves of bread, a homemade pizza (literally an amazing pizza that would have made local stores jealous), oven fries as a midnight snack, and I assisted on beef dumpling soup & breakfast potatoes. 

So where did these changes come from?

dun, dun da dun!


You might have food allergies if:

  • You have cried because you miss eating grilled cheese, and you can't find a bread you can eat.
  • You eat before going out to eat with friends...just in case there is nothing on the menu that is safe.
  • Half your suitcase is composed of backup safe food when you go on vacation.
  • You have cried in the grocery store because "your flavor" is sold out or not stocked, and despite freezing your ta-tas off in the frozen case for 10 minutes you can't find an alternative that doesn't contain allergens.
  • You have to have a designated partner in fitness classes, someone who agrees on "nut-free Wednesdays" so they don't kill you with their contaminated hands. (thank you Addie!)
  • Your significant other jumps to block the table when the brings out an allergen, even if you aren't there, just out of habit.
  • There are "rules" to your potlucks "Please come to our BBQ! Bring something! (as long as it isn't A, B, C-Z)" It doesn't have the same ring to it, trust me!
  • Your international travels limited by your ability to pronounce your allergies in the native language, and their prevalence in local cuisine.
  • Your friends could be professional "contaminant taste testers" because they try everything before you do in questionable situations....ESPECIALLY in bars where tired/flirty/creative bartenders don't know what "tequila and oj ONLY" means. 
  • Have your friends ever had an argument in a bar about who was most qualified/sober to use your epi-pen given above situation?
  • Your office have a "nut-free" floor (and no edible Christmas presents) because you stopped breathing when someone walked upstairs eating almonds?
Do you have any other hi-jinks from food allergies? I love relating to others, it makes me feel a little less crazy. 

Food allergies used to be the plague of my existence. Now? They still are, but I make some damn good food as a result! It first started when my (now) boyfriend insisting on making me dishes that I'd never had because of allergens. (Fried rice minus the egg, sesame, ginger and chestnuts). Then soups when I was sick, because everything in the store had celery. Recently, when yeast went out the window we started making our own pasta, biscuits, breads and pizza dough. 

Pasta rolling expedition.
It took 5 grown men to play with the pasta roller and make a noodle
that stretched several times the length of our kitchen!
This has allowed us to make delicious food, at low cost and high quality and share it with our friends and family. We even buy most of our produce and ingredients locally and can throw entirely local dinner parties.

I don't love my food allergies, but I do love the way that they have pushed me into a forum that I never thought I'd participate in. I now mix seasonings & ground beef into patties without gagging & washing my hands 8 times during the process. I can make a dough without getting nervous. I make dinner when I am home alone. I rarely eat out, even for lunches at work. I no longer rely on soy sauce or spice to make my asian dishes edible. OHH I even have a garden. And it loves me back....I know because it sends me tomatoes shaped like a heart!

Next up:
  • Coconut free curry
  • Sesame free teriyaki
  • and more yeast free pizza - because that was AWESOME!

With Love and Light,