It’s Challenge Time!!!

Game on Boys!!!

I think one of the best ways to invigorate one’s fitness and diet plan is by shaking it up with a challenge!  Though I think that I’ve been doing pretty good these past few months, and have been fairly active and eating better, surely it won’t hurt to allow my competitive self to step forward again and reignite my daily motivation. 

Meet the Competitors,  Daniel McOiler, Brown Vin Diesel and myself CSBG

Brown Vin Diesel       CSBGDaniel McOiler

The challenge is the person to lose the most percentage of weight in 99 days wins the $99 pot.  Another aspect of our competition is a weekly add of a Fit Bit challenge.  Every week, whoever has the most steps gets a dollar from the others, which we’ll accrue until the end of the 99 days.  This takes us to July 27, 2015 GAME ON!!

My own personal goal with this challenge (outside of KICKING THEIR BUTTS) is to focus on vitality.  To continue eating better and staying away from quick fixes and fast results.  Since I started this blog, my focus has definitely shifted from dieting to developing a sustainable and good lifestyle, and it continues to be a work in progress for me.

There are different tools that I rely on now to support my goals and lifestyle – when I first started, I went it alone (well other than being accompanied with useless diet books and quick fix programs), but the truth of the matter is, the more meaningful support I have around me, the easier time I have in keeping this momentum flowing.

My FitBit Charge HR: it is such a useful tool to monitor how many steps I take in a day, how many calories I burn, my heartrate and distance travelled.  There are so many generic programs out there that so objectively, without any personal attention, dictate how many calories a person should take in.  Generically, I always get “1200”as the number of calories I should be consuming from these online programs – but in monitoring my FitBit which is personalized to myself and my daily expenditures, 1200 calories for one day is often too low. HUGE! Huge tool for calorie counting and monitoring.  Until using my fitnesspal I had no idea how many secret calories I was consuming, but myfitnesspal is a great way of keeping track of what I’m taking in.

Yoga: As I’ve been blogging about, yoga at Lahari has been life changing for me.  It’s important for me to be around health minded people in that same space of awareness, energy and vitality; each time I go I feel more secure in what I’m doing, like they take my fine print and hit the BOLD key.

Michelle “Cha-Cha” Krause Weightloss Transformation Support Group:  I’ve joined a 5 week program being led by Michelle who had amazing success in weightloss and life experience gain (you can find her on facebook to see her ridiculous weightloss results, she was up to 150lbs in less than two years).  Her support group is a fantastic time of information sharing once a week about overcoming challenges, identifying triggers and habits, meal planning, recipe sharing and understanding nutrition.  Her transformative content is about tweaking our insides as well as adjusting our outsides, which to me, is not only valuable information, but information that is necessary for long term sustenance.

Activity: I enjoy running and working out, getting my body moving feels good to me.  Once my mentality shifted from weightloss to movement, working out stopped feeling like such a chore.  Instead of just solo workouts, I’ve been running with friends at work or my dog after work.  I also joined a volleyball league that plays one night a week.  Team sports has been the perfect way of making activity feel natural and fun again.   Now that it’s warming up outside, I can get back into walking and biking again.

For the past few months, I have really just been monitoring my daily intake, my daily outtake and seeing how my body works without harsh manipulation or rules.  I’ve been trying to listen more and understand my own cues and what my triggers are, what feels good to me and what doesn’t– I’ve been trying to figure out where I can create safe  room in my week for guilt free indulgences and what types of food I do enjoy eating that are nutritious for me and sustainable.  I’ve been trying to focus more on pleasing myself than punishing myself.  Slowly, I’ve been cutting stuff out that isn’t aligned with my healthful goals, like diet soda and sweetener or processed foods with too many ingredients; but like I said, it’s all a work in progress. I take daily pictures, journal and pray often.  For me a shift has happened that really speaks to a better sense of acceptance, happiness and well being…over everything else; but I feel like I’m only at a starting place with so much space ahead of me to continue to learn, grow and bloom.

With this challenge with Daniel McOiler and BVD, my goal is to focus on vitality and movement.  I want to play, I want to move my body, I want to break the molds of typical challenges wherein I solely focus on weight loss and allow this competition instead to refuel and re-inspire my lifestyle goals.  I want to continue being more like who I was before I fell asleep and went into cruise control years ago.  I want this daily accountability to breathe life into my spirit again and remind me that I want to be really engaged with my life each day and not fall into the habits of complacency or negativity.    

It’s all good, and IT’S ON!!!!

Tantalizing Nakedness

Mona and NorineI went to Lahari Yoga Studio last Friday with my girlfriends Mona and Norine.  The minute I walked in, I was delectably enthralled; the beautiful sari wall hangings, the vibrant colours, the smell of lavender and the welcoming souls around us….Sigh, too bad that initial charismatic high fell flat just moments into my incredibly awkward and oh so taxing yoga session!   The inflexibility and tightness within my body translated into mild stretches and weak attempts at the poses; never mind the rising disdain and frustration within me for yoga in general, (obviously hot yoga is only meant for rubber bodied people)….

But despite the rising internal resistance inside of me, I was also feeling so conflicted; I wanted to like it – the music, the atmosphere and the unfamiliar path our yogi was taking us down (away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside, to this quiet and beautiful promise of freedom within was so titillating and sweet, I so badly wanted to follow her down that rabbit hole), but I couldn’t do it.  I watched with envy as our instructor wrapped her legs over her shoulders and contorted her body in such beautiful ways seemingly radiating eternal youthfulness…I relished in her whole hearted encouragement to play and explore our own mobilities, I was drawn to her radiant energy and uninhibited playfulness.…but NOPE, I couldn’t do it.

I gave up part way through the session.  I mentally detached, physically flopped, stopped trying and sipped from my water as I patiently waited for the last of the minutes to tick by.  I rationalized excuses in my head to take me off the hook.  It’s probably against my religion.  Yoga isn’t for everyone.  I’m better at running….blah blah blah.  Bottom line was, I tried but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even flatten my palms on the ground when I stretched down, couldn’t keep my heels on the ground for downward dog or keep my hips on my ankles for child’s pose.  Sigh, it’s not for me I begrudgingly surmised.

When asked by our glowing yogi after class (over delicious treats) how I liked it, I told her it was too taxing for me, I tried but couldn’t do it – and she plainly with a smile, asked, why was I trying, what was I trying to do?  Um, you know, the poses you were leading us through!….But she replied that yoga isn’t about trying, accomplishing or being anywhere else other than where you are at….huh?  Wow, that’s some deep shit. I finished my baked quinoa pasta with red thai curry sauce and chicken and bid them adieu convinced yoga just wasn’t for me.  It was uncomfortable, awkward and too hard.

But her words stayed with me that drive home – why was I trying and not just doing?  Why wasn’t it good enough for me to just experience the poses in the state that I was in(tightness and all) without trying to go further?  Do I ever perform without striving for certain levels? Do I ever work without standards? Ever act or play without trying to constantly get better and progress or accomplish something?  Aren’t I always in forward projection mode? Isn’t that the direction I’ve been programmed to head all of my life? Succession, progression, keep getting further ahead, further up or keep accumulating?  I mean the purpose of volleyball or basketball practices back in high school were to make us play better as a team, not just play.  But then it dawned on me, that’s practice when understood as a verb.  When I looked it up, practice can also be defined as a noun, “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use” – the actual application of yoga, the practice of it, seems more about being than trying – experiencing than striving, accepting than fighting, releasing than holding on to… so interesting.

The more I stewed on this, the more I realized that I have accumulated so much over these past years. I am literally wearing layers and layers of past experiences, good and bad: the ways that I’ve understood them, the meanings I’ve given them, expectations I’ve unconsciously put on myself of how I expect myself to perform,  defined standards of where I expect myself to be….never mind the layers of excuses, justifications, default patterns and ways of thinking I snap into without even realizing.  For so long I thought I was fending off expectations I thought others were putting on me, only to realize that I’m fighting myself and the expectations I’ve burdened my own self with.  There was a time I felt freer to play, explore, give, experience, jump off cliffs….part of my accumulation over the years include such things as caution, safety, fear, ego, defensiveness, self-preservation….

January 16 2015So this year, when I put together my vision board for 2015 – there is a shift, a palpable shift from where I’ve been headed and the direction I’ve been going for the past few years.  I do want to lose, but it’s not pounds or inches this year…I instead want to lose in a different way…I want to strip myself of all the accumulation on me and around me; free myself from my own accumulation.  I want to stop practicing and really just practice life.  Michelle our yoga instructor last Friday said we as humans spend too much time thinking, doing etc…all we need to do sometimes is just be….we are human beings after all.  Yes. Exactly. <3

January 16 2015 Me

Eric Garner Turned the Sky Blue

Eric Garner Police Brutality 14-12-04

The injustices in this world just make my heart hurt and my stomach ache….almost to a point where it’s too much to handle; it’s overwhelmingly sad and too much bigger than I.

And the more that I stew on it and simmer in this confusion, I notice how it took such a huge injustice for me to wake up and look around again; for me to recognize the humanity that we all share.  Finally, for me to snap out of my micro safe, pollution free bubble and really see what’s going on. What’s been going on?  My own  fallacy …I can’t believe how desensitized I’ve become to human suffering and pain, and not seeing or helping those in need. How did that happen?  Developing a fear to homeless people? Having an aversion to kids on bikes in alleys?  Holding my purse tighter in the mall or locking my doors immediately after getting into my car?  When did it become easier to cast hasty judgments, like those officers did on Eric Garner, then dig, ask, empathize and learn first?….How did I create such a huge disconnect from myself to literally the world around me; and still call myself Christian?  How did I replace empathy with fear?  Love with a blind eye?

When did it become easier to stay quiet than rock the boat? How did I stop taking a stand?  When did it become easier to be lost in the crowd than up at the front rallying for the Truth?  When did I choose to appease everyone else by denying myself?   But his voice, his words “I can’t breathe” haunt me.  Those pleas for help that no one fulfilled. No one heeded them then, but they won’t stop echoing now (even after his vocal cords and body are long gone)… I feel overwhelmingly sad and even my own blindness seems much bigger than I….funny though, this sky has always been blue.

Let that Foundation Settle!

It is in our human nature to see things only through a lens which supports the ideas that promote security and decrease anxiety. Nothing does either of those better than not having to make any changes.  (Krista Rompolski)

We’ve now settled into our new home, and it’s wonderful!!  Gotta love the excitement and invigoration of moving into a brand new home with beautiful new fixtures and finishes.Gosh, the newness is energizing, and the stability of it is relieving; we are finally home!! Despite my desire to complete our unfinished basement, we were cautioned by the builders to wait at least a full year before doing so. 

WHAT?? But I can’t wait for it all to be completed! I can’t wait to entertain and hang out in our newly finished basement! I’ve got such big plans for that space!  But no, they said it was important to allow the house enough time to settle before we try and make any changes to it.  Sure we could probably throw caution to the wind and make some changes now, but I’m sure in doing so, we would probably create more damage and work for us down the road.  True enough, waiting and allowing time to run it’s course now, ensures us the best use of our energy, time and money in the future.

Is dieting or working on ourselves any different? Don’t we often try and skip through the waiting and settling periods and instead jump headfirst into the working and finishing stuff? But is it the right time?  Has everything settled enough to start picking colours and hiring the right contractors?

Before fixing, rebuilding or refinishing yourself – ask yourself, do you feel settled enough to make changes?  Will you be able to withstand the work so that the changes can be lasting? Is your foundation strong enough to build upon? If you’ve just gone through a transitionary period, are you at it’s end?  Or do you need more time to work your way through it before you try and effect any change?  Maybe there are foundation cracks that need to be addressed before you put new flooring down, maybe water leaks that need to sealed before you drywall….wouldn’t it be better to start from a good starting place, instead of re-doing the work over and over again?

And no, this isn’t an excuse to delay action, it’s a reason to consider the importance of settled foundations upon which to build upon.  It’s about knowing yourself and listening to yourself.  Sometimes it’s better to wait and let things settle before jumping into new projects, new bodies, new relationships, new jobs, new selves…and fortunately for us, new homes! <3

A Permanent Vacation…..

Creating a Vacation for Life

I never realized until recently, how much time I spend doing exhausting things.  You know what opened my eyes?  Being home-less.  It has officially been 21 days since my husband and I have been in between homes.  We had purchased a home in April that was supposed to be ready in June, but when we sold and moved out of our condo in July our new build wasn’t ready yet. Fortunately we had generous friends open their homes to us in the meantime.

This in and of itself has been a little mini vacation for us.  Not that I am likening this time to relaxing on a beautiful beach, but I am feeling better off now than I was three weeks ago.  I never realized then, how engrained I had become in some senseless habits that, simply put, were life draining.

1.        Not sleeping enough

Being in these different environments has totally broken my routine of watching tv late at night or being out too late. How nice to have restful sleeps!

2.       Spending too much time on my computer first thing in the morning

I don’t have my laptop with me, so I haven’t been spending my mornings journaling, scrolling through facebook, checking my emails and reading through blogs. It’s freeing actually to not spend so much time first thing in the morning plugging in.

3.       Weighing myself daily

Why didn’t I get rid of my weight scale sooner?

4.       Constantly adopting new diets and reading diet blogs

Before, I was constantly buying new books on kindle about diets and programs, and for the past few weeks, being out of routine, I haven’t been able to even pull out my little tablet, but it’s been refreshing not preoccupying my mind with that sort of stuff

5.       Counting calories

Being in vacation mode for me means paying less attention to how I should be eating and just enjoying the foods I’m eating, in moderation of course.

6.       Watching too much tv

Now don’t get me wrong, I have definitely watched some tv in the past few weeks, but probably just a quarter of how much I usually would have.

7.       Wasting Groceries

We haven’t really been grocery shopping too much as our schedules and meals have been so unpredictable, but there too is a small freedom in not burdening our fridge with unused groceries and binding ourselves to meal schedules.

8.       Accumulating too much stuff

We don’t have anywhere to put stuff right now, so we haven’t really been buying anything.  It’s nice not buying more, making room for more or having more.

9.       Spending too much time getting ready

Limited access to make up, hairstyling tools and hair products means limited time spent getting ready.

10.       Running or Walking on new trails

It’s wonderful discovering beautiful new trails I’m not already familiar with, makes for more invigorating runs.


Being less scheduled and less routine these past few weeks has actually felt like we have been given more time.  I’m not sure what of these I’ll maintain as we settle into our new home,  but one thing’s for certain, I definitely want to continue creating a life I don’t need to escape from. <3

Resilient Love or a Hangover? Decisions Decisions….

When things don’t make sense, what is your GO-TO?  What gives you comfort in the chaos?  Where can you go when you need solace in the silence? Do you have a GO-TO?  Is it a person? A Thing?  Something Higher?

I’ve had different GO-TO’s in the past.  Sometimes I’d turn to a friend, my journal, a glass of wine, a cigarette, food…fortunately nowadays it’s an amazing and understanding husband…but the epitome of my comfort in the chaos, is prayer.

Is it just me or canbrokenness the world be pretty f’d up sometimes?  The brokenness and bad things that happen sometimes overwhelm me to consider.  Just when I forget and lose myself in the bliss of my own day to day world, something bursts my bubble and opens my eyes to this big scary world around me; where bad things seem disgustingly normal.  People cheat, lie, deceive, steal, harm, hurt, fall through…It’s hard to digest; inevitably it doesn’t sit quite right in me and no amount of talking, drinking or eating can settle my upset stomach, and so I pray…

The scales never seem balanced. What’s fair for one person isn’t fair for another.  What true for one person isn’t for another.  One person’s gain is another person’s loss.  But when you truly think about these kinds of experiences, they are just stories, and everyone turns into first person story tellers.  But between two people’s versions of a story is the truth.  The truth can be so elusive sometimes and impossible to actually pin point.  All that’s left are assumptions we make from hearing stories, assumptions mixed with mud to fill in the cracks and gaps of people’s stories and how it all fits together.  Only to find however, that they don’t actually all fit together.  It’s impossible.  Truth finding in story telling can be impossible.  Someone’s story, is just that, their story; their version of events full of their perception, their emotion, their experience and baggage…their version of events might not be Truth, but at the same time, neither is the other person’s version – because they are just that, versions; two parts of the same equation that don’t mathematically add up.  But that’s because what equals are truths not Truth. Their truths not the Truth.

When I get lost in the story telling, I remember to stop putting my faith in the story tellers, but the purpose of the stories.  For that, I turn to prayer.  The answer to prayer isn’t always some magical fix, some miraculous turning of water into wine.  Sometimes it’s something simple like understanding – maybe even hope.

Today I realize, that despite people being so broken and imperfect, love is resilient.  A mother’s love for her child, a daughter’s love for her father, a husband’s love for his wife, love for your extended family, your best friend, your dog, your country, your God…I won’t call it unconditional, but surely, it is strong.  And it’s only under this umbrella of resilient love that  I get the feeling that all things, good or bad, somehow all fit and have a place in this world, even when I don’t quite understand.Resilient

It’s only after I start to glue back the last pieces of my bubble back together and crawl back in, do I realize, that not all expressions of love start off by being bullet proof.  Resilient love isn’t me inspired, it’s God inspired.  It’s tested, tried and true.  My love is flitty; it’s subjective, fragile, insecure, fearful and selfish, just like my story telling.  So I thank God for the tests of my faith, the times that my bubble is burst open, because it presents a new opportunity to test my love,  to challenge it to a deeper level and transform my love by His love to Resilient Love.

So in a world of hard knocks and imbalanced scales find a GO-TO that will bring you back to Love.  I found mine, on my knees… <3

Plant Some Roses in that Space In Between!

Point A to Point BMost often, HERE we are (A), and THERE is the goal we are trying to accomplish (B).

I.E. those of us trying to find a partner, trying to make a baby, trying to lose weight, trying to secure financial freedom, trying to be a better person, trying to meditate, trying to graduate, trying to quit a bad habit, trying to be a good Christian, trying to find a new job….Between here and there, is what I like to call, the space in between.

Sometimes that space in between is torturous! Waiting for a second call, waiting weeks to find out if there will be a blue line on the stick, waiting for grades to be posted or trying to abstain from that next cigarette, that next drink or donut….

But the space in between is reality.  It’s the work we have to put in, it’s the patience we need to cultivate, it’s the hope we need to focus on, and the perseverance we need to practice. It is all of the things we need, to accomplish what we set out for.

I’ve found throughout my life that I’ve filled that space in between with much darker things than hope, patience, faith and perseverance.  I’ve instead found my space in between cluttered with resentment, frustration, hopelessness and sadness.

Looking back I notice that once I’ve identified my “there” point, I’ve often taken off with an immediate sense of urgency and undeniable sense of entitlement, like I HAVE to accomplish it, I DESERVE it, I’ve got to make it happen NOW –  In whizzing through that space in between, I never valued what that space actually was and what it’s supposed to be.  But now, I am starting to realize that the space in between is space to grow, develop, hone, fail, learn and relearn – that space in between is where I develop life and how I find out who I truly am.  I can’t only know myself in my victories, I need to know myself at my worst, when I’m forsaken, struggling, waiting and trying. That space in between is important, and sometimes more valuable than the victories themselves.

So while I set out to accomplish the things I hope to, I’m reminding myself right now; to stop and smell the flowers in this space in between.  To not let this space go wasted anymore.  It’s time to start building myself in these spaces, not tearing myself down. <3

ACK! My First Signs of Pubescent Spiritual Acne!!!

MY life is supposed to be about me, isn’t it?  I mean, aren’t I the star of this show?  Isn’t it about my wishes, my desires, my goals, my plans….. hence MY life?

I’m reading a book with a small group that I am a part of, called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It’s geared towards developing authentic faith in God as opposed to the status quo mediocrity we sometimes become accustomed to.  You know, just going through the motions.  Regardless of what someone practices, I’m sure we all relate to faith that becomes more routine than intimate, more bland than from the heart. Personally, I find doing things I am “supposed” to do, or that I’m “obligated” to do, without really wanting to; SUFFOCATING.

CrossI’ve been a Christian all of my life, but who knew my faith (almost 37 years later) hadn’t even hit puberty yet!  It’s like I woke up this morning with pubescent spiritual acne that I wasn’t expecting!  I’m only through the first three chapters of this book and already a fury of thoughts and shifted perceptions fill my mind, but one in particular moved me.

Have you ever considered your own mortality?  I hadn’t, well not until this book.  I must admit, I’ve considered OTHER people’s mortality without ever having considered my own.

I’ll admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world, and it’s definitely something I need to constantly work on; from hurrying my poor husband out the door to listening to my Dad tell me eleven times over a span of one week how important it is to save…and when I feel my blood start to boil, I try and remind myself that there will probably come a time when I will wish for this annoying moment back (knock on wood).  That since heaven doesn’t allow phone calls, I need to take in whatever time I have with everyone around me right now regardless of context or content.  Does that work for me? Does it help me become a more loving, understanding and patient person? Not really.

Until this book challenged me to consider MY own mortality….GASP!  True enough, despite how invincible I’ve mistakenly seen my own life, the reality is, I could die at any moment.  It really would just take one person’s inopportune text message or that extra drink that someone had after work to unintentionally clip me and send me into never never land….

I’ve heard all of the clichés, sure “live like you’re dying” – “be present in each moment” blah blah blah, but none of those stirred any authentic consideration until Francis Chan convinced me that I could literally die tonight.

If that negligent distracted driver should spin out my vehicle tonight on the street – and I know right now, that it could happen just hours from now – I immediately recognize that I’m not concerned about me and how I’ve been treated, I’m concerned about the ones I’d be leaving behind and how I’ve treated them.  Was I kind enough? Did I love enough?  Could I have been more nurturing or positive?  Could I have been more helpful and considerate?  Who could I have given more to? Who should I have reached out to?

If I am given the luxury of the knowledge that, yup, tonight that negligent guy is going to fatally hit me – I’d make sure to kiss Jason before he left this morning, I’d pop into my parents Wintery Morninghouse and see how they’re doing….but aside from just relationships, I’d step out of my car, take a deep breath and truly feel that cold wintery air on my skin. I’d look around to really notice and see the places I blindly drive past every morning; the beautiful red brick buildings, the misted air over the beautiful frozen river  – I feel like I would morph into a quiet observer, my higher self.  I wouldn’t be annoyed by the traffic because I’d be so busy appreciating this last ride.  I probably wouldn’t be judging that insecure girl in my office who speaks too loudly and for too long, because my higher self  would forgive and understand that she is only acting the way she knows how to.  My higher self would never have the capacity to waste one moment of this last day on any kind of judgment, hate, intolerance, impatience or anything other than LOVE.

RenewedBut the interesting thing that I realize, is, these thoughts aren’t coming from a worry of how people are perceiving me or making sure I’m liked when I’m gone; it comes from a strong sense of self responsibility.  It is my responsibility to give patience, kindness and love….not for others to deserve it.  I am responsible for my actions and I truly can choose my responses, because I know; that if today were my last day on this earth; I’d even smile at an “enemy”.

So thank you Francis Chan for helping me recognize that each moment of my life is truly a gift. That me being here right now writing this, is a blessing.  I can’t be sure that I’ll retire, collect pension and have morning walks with J by the river each day – so instead I will live this day recognizing that instead of focusing on myself, I’d much rather focus on the big beautiful world around me …. <3

Visions and Dreams and Bears OH MY!

Happy new year!  The start of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals and reflect back on the year past.  I started 2013 with a vision board which was the first time I had ever created one.  Now looking back at the year in it’s entirety; I’m heartened that so much of what I had hoped to accomplish did blessedly come to fruition.

Vision Board Happiness is a Journey Vision Board Family Closeness Vision Board My Book Vision Board Healthy Living Vision Board Church Family Vision Board Travel Vision Board Quality FriendshipsVision Board Everlasting Love

Everlasting Love: Jason and I got married on May 18, 2013 on a beautiful spring day.  The day was full of family, friends, laughter and love. It was the perfect start to our married life together.

 Our Wedding Day My Beautiful Bridesmaids Our First Dance

 Quality Friendships:  During the year I reconnected with old friends, made new ones and cherished those closest to my heart.  There is nothing more valuable than the power of close connections, mutual respect and unbreakable bonds.  Thank God for girlfriends and sisters.

 My GirlsQueen E Girls  Reni and Jennie Bridal Shower Brunch  Mon Lid and I Ayah and I Laughing

 Travel:  Jason and I travelled to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, a beautiful, romantic and exotic getaway.

Costa RicaCosta Rica 2

Church Family:  Jason and I became introduced to City South Church through our friends Leesila and Colin. Immediately we felt a connection to the service, the message, the worship songs and the sense of community within the Church.  We soon became part of a small bible study group through the Church and immediately felt welcomed and comfortable in this group of wonderful people.  We feel blessed to have found such a good fit for us.

           Leesila and Colin The Machados City South Church

Healthy Living: I learnt so much throughout 2013.  I was introduced to health, nutrition and fitness in a remarkably eye opening way that truly affected and touched me. I credit this introduction to Geha Gonthier of the Wellness Clinic who really sparked my interest and curiosity to delve deeper and learn more about nutrition, balance and health.  She introduced me to a more holistic approach to body, spirit and mind; seeing as I had compartmentalized them from each other for so many years prior.  She showed me how my unwanted weight gain was a reflection of something going on deeper inside of me.  She awakened within me the possibility of healing myself; by myself , for myself and because of myself.

Wholesome Foods Geha Gonthier Health and Fitness

My Book: I had started writing a fictional story back in 2004 but had writer’s block for years.  Life mimics art and art mimics life.  I had been in a personal state of indecision and flux for so long, that I wasn’t able to sort out my personal or fictional story. But finally, this past year, the clouds parted and life became much clearer; allowing me the clarity and the freedom to pick up my pen again.

Family Closeness: 2013 really highlighted to me the importance of family and the home my heart always finds in the company of my family.  From my daily phone calls with my Dad while I drive home from work, to the sistership I have with the K-5, the Indian store runs with my Mom, to the reconnection with my extended family during our wedding…TRUE LOVE is the only word that I can use to express the language communicated amongst family.  This past year too was the beautiful start at Jason and I building our own home and family with our mischievous cuddly dog Teddy.

Mom and Joydan Mom and Pooch Dad's Bday Family K5 GirlsLazy Teddy Bear Sept 2013

Happiness is a Journey Not a Destination: There were definitely some unexpected happenings this past year, times of turmoil and trouble.  Times of loss and setback.  But all of it is just life, taking the good with the bad.  The key to my own peace of mind is to not be so attached to the things outside of me, the things I cannot control.  I can’t control people’s assumptions or judgments of me. I can’t control people’s perceptions of me. I can’t control the way people speak or act…the people that come and go, the way the tides turn…but the truth of the matter is – none of these things actually change who I am.  I imagine it like a light inside of my heart.  My God given light; mine by birth and right.  This light is the truth, the purity and the essence of who I am.  And no matter what happens outside of my body, absolutely nothing can dim this light.  Sometime in the face of conflict I might forget, but all I need to do is close my eyes, focus on my heart, feel the brightness of my light and remember that nothing changes who I am, and the only thing I have to do is just continue being me.  It’s the same for all of us, we all are perfectly who we are inside.

            So I’m learning to not wait to be happy, but instead be happy along the way.

           So happy new year! I’m excited to start my new vision board for 2014; to focus on new goals, new visions and bigger dreams (oh my!).

We’re Dying and They’re Profiting? That’s BS.

People are dying of cancer…women my age are dying of cancer? Fighting Cancer

It’s mind boggling and mortifying.  It seems so random and so unfair.  In the past couple of weeks, different friends of mine have been dealing with the deaths of their loved ones to cancer.  It’s sad to see anyone lose a battle against cancer, but it’s especially strange when it happens at such a prime age.  We should be planning dinners and gatherings with our friends, not funerals.  Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves and protect our families?

I googled the prevention of cancer, and the advice that came up sounded a little old wives tale’ish; eat a lot of garlic and blueberries, be active, don’t stress out, eat less sugar, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, use greener products, ditch your non stick cookware, don’t stand too close to a microwave while it’s on… there merit to any of these claims?

Who knows?  The advice changes from expert to expert.  Some say less protein, some say more…we are constantly bombarded with such conflicting information that it’s difficult to really know or understand what we should be doing or who we should be following.  Who really knows how the choices we make today will affect our tomorrows?  I don’t know what I believe anymore.  But the question is, can I somehow mitigate my risks? Is it worth it to try and protect myself or is it a crapshoot?

Well, one thing for certain, we can’t rely on our bodies to always remain resilient and withstand the things we put it through.  As we age, we can’t expect our bodies to bounce back, like it use to in our younger days.  Turns out  we’re not invincible.

Me Shortly after I started writing this blog, I thought I was resigning to the fact that I would never again be that same girl I was in my twenties or early thirties. I thought I was nostalgically and wistfully looking back at my prime “bounce back” days.  Those easy recovery days from any ailment I inflicted upon myself; excessive partying, drinking, not sleeping enough or eating too much junk food.  But today I realize that I don’t feel resigned, I feel glad to be here instead of there.  I feel fortified and empowered by knowledge and self awareness.  Instead of blindly living I feel justified in choosing more intentionally.  What I thought was innocence back then was more of reckless ignorance.  I would have assumed that being able to better see and understand the parameters of my health and physicality, (as opposed to living invincibly in every moment) would make me feel weaker, but I actually feel stronger.  I’m glad age popped that bubble for me. It wasn’t until I put on weight that I started exploring and delving into my own health, and what started as a superficial look at weight and self image turned into a journey down health, wellness and wellbeing.

I’ve been reading a book, “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and Processed Foodit’s fantastic.  It’s informative and very easy to read.  It’s similar to Paleo principles but so much more reader friendly than I found the Paleo Diet.  It basically talks about food and how it affects us psychologically, physiologically, hormonally, our immune systems and gut.  It details the effects that bad foods have on our systems, and it’s eye opening! Bad foods aren’t just French fries and ice cream.  It talks about the stop button that less nutritional foods lack which makes us overeat and the pathways this overeating creates in our brains which lead to food addictions.  It details the way bad foods affect our hormonal levels and how they throw them out of whack.  It’s very interesting how our bodies have been naturally and intricately designed to function, and how we throw all of these processes off by the processed food we eat.  It especially highlights how we are naturally programmed to seek sweet, salty and fatty foods for survival, but how food manufacturers have perverted our sense of taste by exaggerating these flavors ten fold and how we’ve all fallen for it – THEY save money by making food that is cheap for them to make because it is so artificially produced and how WE spend so much of our own hard earned money ignorantly buying this crap and becoming their crack addicts, while THEY continue to profit.  We become addicted to these foods while our bodies sooner or later begin to suffer the consequences – excessive hormonal imbalance?  Leaky gut?  We’re not invincible.  We are being led a million miles away from the bodies we were designed to live in, and the health and wellness we were meant to have.  There use to be a more natural order to life, our bodies and the environments we lived in.  Things are so contrived nowadays though, that it’s hard to see past our “new normals”, I grew up with these manufactured goods, why would I have questioned them?  But how do you weed through all this fake stuff and get back to the good stuff? How do we undo what has been done? In a way, I feel like I’ve been duped.

I was duped when I thought aspartame was a good substitute for sugar because it wouldn’t make me fat. I was duped when I smoked cigarettes without realizing the ridiculous addictive nature of them. I was dupedBite of the Apple when I use to constantly buy easy to make “just add water” dishes, or ate fast food on a daily basis…I was duped when I trusted the world around me and lived with a naïve taken for grantedness; assuming that people wouldn’t seek profit at the expense of my health and wellness.  Until I took a bite of the apple and took a good look around….

I don’t know how to prevent cancer (knock on wood) or save the world from greedy food manufacturers, but I do know that I care about my body, deeper than how it looks. I care about how it feels and the way it functions. I want my vessel to be strong enough to house this strong me.  I want the capacity to run good distances, think with clarity, sleep soundly and feel even keeled and in control day to day.  That’s where I choose to start mitigating my risks.  I may not be able to control the future, but intentionally choosing to stop taking my body for granted is something I can do in my present.  Health is a privilege that we ought to cherish and maintain.  Certain food manufacturers may not care, but I certainly do.