Tuesday, February 9, 2016

a quarter of a century

Today John and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  My mom and dad sent us a card that mentioned celebrating a quarter of a century  together.  It totally made me laugh.



I am not sure where a quarter of a century went but I am grateful it has been spent with him.  We have accomplished a lot of beautiful and amazing things in a quarter of a century.



I love that each year in this quarter of a century  has made our relationship a little stronger and more comfortable.  I love that he gets me and loves my quirkiness.  I love that he still finds me amazingly sexy and attractive.  I love that he worries about me when I venture out somewhere.  I just love him.

I look forward to another quarter of a century.

Monday, February 8, 2016

the joy of vegan

So I mentioned in my last post this place I have stumbled upon that has my mind, body and soul in sync and at peace. I thought that it all could not get better. I mean I was flying high on my realization of what being authentic and true to myself engulfed me in.....an endless euphoria of balance, peace and love. Then I took the plunge.  I decided it was time to s$&@ or get off the pot. I had watched Forks over Knives way back and dabbled in a few vegan recipes. Never fully committing to making the change completely. Well a few weeks ago I just did it. Up and cold turkey jumped feet first into the world of vegan.

To say I was unprepared for what would follow is an understatement. Never in a million years could I have anticipated how well I would feel in just a few days of eliminating animal products from my diet.

I have never been a huge meat eater but would have chicken, ground beef, pepperoni, processed lunch meats and such. I use to drink more milk but in recent months had been using almond milk and had found I had lost the desire to drink regular milk.....it tasted gross to me. I ate cheese a lot and baked often using eggs and butter. So I won't say I wasn't worried about how I would be able to make this switch. I was comparing it in my mind with times in life I have tried to cut back....watching what I was eating and there is a element of deprivation that always happens. It is hard to stop eating things you love......or think you love. Why wouldn't this be any different was my thought.

After the first day void of any animal products I was hit with the worst headache I have ever experienced.  All that did was fuel my determination.  If a headache that bad came on because I stopped cold turkey eating animal products, there is a reason why in my opinion. Each day had me waiting for that longing to eat those forbidden foods. I waited and waited the whole while enjoying fruits, vegetables, nuts, lentils, beans and much more. That deprivation never came. I am still waiting.

I have long struggled with binge eating and over eating, often of high processed crap like cookies and chocolate bars....as well as home baked goodies full of eggs, butter and milk that I would bake often and over indulge in.  This abuse of food began around the time motherhood got a hold of me....busy days, not much sleep, feeling the need to achieve perfection as a mother, being a people pleaser, limited supports, shifts for John that left me alone carrying much of the burden of raising young children along with the stress of life in general with special needs sprinkled in found me turning to food. Food is a comfort for many, myself included.  I often exercised to an extreme to combat those extra calories.  It has been a bit of a vicious cycle.  For the first time since forever I no longer feel like a slave to food and the insatiable cravings I suffered from so often in the past. I feel in control rather then food being in control.

As a result of the elimination of animal products from my diet I have eliminated a good 90% of added sugar from my diet as well.  I have tried eliminating sugar before and had a little success but I think doing it along side the elimination of animal products has been far easier.  I am not sure why.  I think some of it is because I am being very conscious. When you choose to go vegan it requires a huge amount of commitment and consciousness.  Commitment about why your doing it and consciousness about each thing you decide to eat. Really it runs along side with how I want to live. I believe consciousness is the key to a good and happy well being.

The aches and pains I had been attributing to getting older and maybe the need for a new mattress have pretty much cease to exist. I was sore the other morning getting out of bed but that would be due to some serious weight repetitions....a nice healthy sore I can live with!!  Within a few days my skin looked beautiful and vibrant. My energy is through the roof. It has always been good....I am the one that goes goes goes but lately it had been weening and I assumed it was an age thing as well.....it wasn't. It was a diet thing for sure. In fact had I made this switch to vegan years ago it may have been scary the extra energy I would have had!!  Within days my body was changing. The constant look of bloating in my belly was disappearing. I was seeing definition in my belly and waist that has been hidden under this constant bloating for years.  I feel lighter. I feel a joy and elation I have never felt. Like a constant high. I believe it is because I am fueling my body in such a positive way.

I decided to make this change because of our environment because of what the production of meat and animal products does to our resources.  I know there is the whole, we were meant to eat meat our ancestors did, however our ancestors lived in a different time.  This is a very informative documentary that sheds light on this problem. Be forwarded there are parts of this documentary that brought me to tears and validated further my choice to become vegan. It isn't easy to watch. It is available on Netflix.

I decided to make this change because of what animal products do to our bodies.....the many many health issues that are a result of consuming animal products.  The science and proof is there....we just need to listen.  Forks over Knives really sheds light on this but as well this documentary is enough to make you think twice before putting another animal product in your mouth.

Lastly,  I decided it was time to be authentic to myself. Would I kill an animal with my own hands and eat it?  No, no I would not.  Would I be okay with getting milk from a cow the way in which it is done or eggs from chickens in the manner it is done? No, no I would not.

There is some speculation around how an animal feels right before it is slaughtered. I lean towards thinking there is some truth to this thinking. If you happen to watch the documentary I suggested from my last post you can consider how everything we do affects everything in the world. So treating animals in ways we could never imagine being treated, all in the name of milk, eggs and meat.....well I do think that creates some pretty bad energy.  So think about that.....eating something produced from that bad energy.....I know some might think it sounds crazy but it is food for thought in my opinion.

I have a friend who is vegan but they have their own chickens and eat the eggs because as she puts it....they know what their chickens are fed and how they are treated.


I appreciate that John has supported my decision to switch to a vegan diet even though he is a we need meat kind of guy. He ordered a veggie pizza with a quarter of it without cheese. That was so incredibly sweet of him.

It took a few days for my body to get use to these changes.  But I seem to be past that and just feel so good moving forward. I can't ever imagine eating any other way now. I am completely sold on enjoying life eating a vegan diet.

One of my favourite vegan treats are these black bean brownies.  I can not say enough about how amazing these are.  How they decadent and delicious and did I mention they are loaded with protein?? Black beans??  There is zero guilt involved eating these!  I love them warmed a smidgen with a banana cut up on them.  So good!!


The one thing I worried about was how I would feel about pizza without cheese.  Now John ordered our take out pizza the other night void of cheese and it tasted great but I also did do an at home vegan pizza using a recipe found here for a vegan parmesan cheese



Our food processor is going to come in very handy!!


It came out perfect and sprinkled on a pizza topped with loads of veggies it was delicious and did not have me missing a cheese loaded pizza at all.


Another thing I have been loving is sweet potato fries.  Oh my lanta.  These are amazing.  That dip is not vegan. 


Another recipe I tried was vegan fried rice.  It meant using tofu instead of chicken.  I had not ever really tried the tofu thing.  I was nervous. Well this was da bomb!  It tasted exactly like chicken fried. 


There are a ton more recipes I plan on trying and I am truly so happy to have found my way into something that had been missing from my life.  A compassionate way of eating.


Lastly there was lots of basketball this past weekend.  Lots of knitting and another pair of gloves left behind where they were cast off. #leaveitwhereyoucastoff It is defiantly a thing for sure now!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

the mother teresa of knitting

It has been a few weeks since I have slipped into this space I love so much.   I have so many thoughts and things I want to share.  The first month of 2016 has brought me to a place that is hard to explain. There are times when I think of how to explain it and I fall short in finding the right words.  I am going try to share in the next few posts and maybe you will understand and maybe you won't.  I think when change happens in the way I have felt it happen to me...it is so personal and even overwhelming that to articulate it can be difficult.

I should start where I believe it all began and that would be my desire to simplify life.  I continue to move forward releasing myself of this item or that item.....this task or that task....fostering those relationships that make me whole and bring me joy....carving out a wonderful space that is void of the things I believe make life unenjoyable.  Making life about the changes I want to see in the world. I want to see a world where people live for less.  A world where having the next best gadget isn't a persons primary focus.  A human race that isn't in constant competition.  A world where everyone is equal. Where the ones we perceive as enemies are no longer seen that way. Where the words that come out of person's mouth are thoughtful and loving.  Where everyone works towards a positivity and embracing everyone no matter of race, religion, possessions or how a person looks.  Sometimes it is difficult to imagine such changes.  It is hard to imagine that there is any way one can contribute and change the world.  I mean it would take a miracle.....or would it?

The other week I was with Shelby at an appointment and I had a thought as I was finishing up a pair of fingerless gloves....as the nurse was in and out...she was so sweet and it was endearing how she kept calling Shelby Shelley.  Neither of us corrected her.  I thought how sweet would it be to finish a knitted item and leave it where you cast it off.  There for some unsuspecting person to find.....maybe that special nurse....a cab driver....a co-worker.  An act of beautiful kindness.  In that moment of thought it was like a wave of joy rushed in over me.


I decided that from now on my basketball, travel, appointment knitting would be a special bag that would always have a project that could be left somewhere once it was done.  I got more and more excited about the possibility of this awesome little thing I wanted to begin.  I made a little poem:

Do not worry for I was not lost,
I simply was left where I was cast off.
Each stitch was kit with this purpose in mind,
So take me with you and enjoy your fun find!

#leaveitwhereyoucastoff

The next day I finished those gloves up in the glow of the most amazing hot chocolate at our local coffee shop and left those gloves behind.  I rode a high of elation all day and even for days after.  My sweet Porscha said I was like the Mother Teresa of knitting.  That made me giggle and was perfect to hear.  I am finishing up another pair and can't wait to do this again.  I have all that I need in my travel knitting bag in the event I finish them somewhere...a tag and some ribbon. Honestly I can't begin to express how this makes me feel.  Like a comfortable blanket wrapped around me because I am doing something for a complete stranger.....their skin colour doesn't matter.....their religion doesn't matter....what they have or don't have doesn't matter.....their mistakes in life don't matter.....just this amazing small gesture matters. 


And yes it is so small...I know your thinking that but that is where it all begins.  I watch this documentary.  Please consider watching it.  It is on Netflix.  I borrowed it from the library.   It really just validated my thought process.  It made so many things makes sense.  I feel like I have been given the opportunity to see life in such a different light.  It isn't something that has happened overnight.  My life and my challenges have brought me to this beautiful place that is so incredible and peaceful. The balance I have in my soul right now is like nothing I have ever experienced.  I am not a religious person but I imagine you could equate it to finding God in your life.  Heck maybe it is God knocking at my door...I don't know.  I just know that my life feels filled with such a wave of compassion, love and kindness like I have never felt before.  I have always been that person that is positive and kind but this is like so many levels above that. 

If you knit please feel free to use the poem and hashtag and join in and leave some love for someone somewhere.  That would be truly amazing if knitters all around began this little bit of knitting love......if one day we looked to see people posting about the great knit they found and how wonderful it made their day.  A good life is created with small acts of kindness and love.  Those acts bring us all closer to a better world and future. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

an engagement

We had some pretty sweet news when Porscha got back from New York City with her boyfriend Joel after New Years.....the boyfriend part had been replaced with fiancee.  Joel proposed to her when they were away.

Now we knew it was going to happen because Joel came to John before they left. It was cute because he did it at the gym during John's teams basketball practice. Joel said how it was the only time he could sneak away from Porscha.....she was in the car and she thought he'd gone in to ask a question about the GPS they had just borrowed from John.  John of course gave him his blessing because when a young man makes your daughter happy and they treat her well the answer is hands down yes.

Joel is a sweet fella. He has been very committed to Porscha.....whenever schedules allow he drives to see her on weekends at school. They spend time here at our house and at his house. They go on dates and just seem to fit together like matching book ends.


This picture just is truly perfect. The moment she realized what was about to happen. I never thought your child could look more beautiful to you but here with tears of joy captured I see such beauty. Joel did good. He carried that ring for three days.....in fact at one point when he was too hot he took his hoodie off and asked Porscha to put it in her shoulder bag.....in the pocket was the ring box.....so for a time she carried the ring around. He wanted to propose in front of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Each time they were to visit it, plans got changed. So on the last day they finally made it there.  

Back home we were waiting to hear....it is my understanding that Joel's family too was waiting....checking texts, checking Facebook.....waiting for the word. It was so nice to hear and then have them home safe.  We are so happy to welcome Joel to our family.

Although I have yet to have to pleasure of meeting his family I know that Porscha has been welcomed with warm hearts. I am very confident that she will always be supported and encouraged in a loving and positive manner.  I told my sister that it is different but in a good way. She will continue to get to know and love another family....another mother, father, siblings and so on.....and I love that. Based on how sweet Joel is and by what Porscha has shared with me about his family, I know that this new family will treat her with respect and that their words will always be kind and that warms my momma soul.  An actual wedding is a few years away but I look very forward to this next phase in Porscha's life and our lives.

There was a banner waiting for Porscha when she got home for her birthday.  She was away in New York during it and had made it clear there had better be a banner.  I had put a picture of Harrison Ford on it with a caption:

Porscha, How could you do this to me?  Engaged?  Why?  I am heart broken.  Farewell, Harrison.



I kept laughing at it every time I read it.  I kind of slay myself at times.  She liked her banner....I joked there would have been tears had I not made one...she said that yes there would have been.  For whatever reason they love these crazy banners.  I often joke that I will be 80 years old with my 
crayons making banners for their birthdays. 


Speaking of birthdays.  This handsome little guy turned one.  Hard to believe a whole year has past.  I am so happy for Christopher and Lee-Ann.  I wish we could see them more but when we do I am always so warmed by what a sweet little family they have begun.  They are great parents to Logan. He is a lucky little fella.


Monday, January 11, 2016

welcome to the family

Before Christmas I saw this cute snowman jar but the price was a little too steep for me.  It was $30.  I also am trying to fall into the camp of eliminating those random impulse purchases we make too often.   So the other week we were back in that store and I noticed they had some Christmas stuff on sale. Well the snowman jar was there.  So I ended up buying him.....firstly I still loved him when I saw him that second time and knew he would sit on our counter for years to come and bring joy to the people I love....secondly I had downsized our decorations a bit this year.  I donated a few things that had lost their umph for me and stuff I wasn't using....and lastly he was $8.......yes $8 dollars.  So I think it turned into a very conscious purchase in the end which I feel good about.  He is so flipping cute!


I thought it would be a little sad to pack him away without christening him with a fresh batch of cookies.  I saw this post and recalled making those cookies way back after seeing the original post here and so I decided those would be a perfect way to welcome this cute cookie jar to our Christmas decoration family.  I am going to be sad when the cookies run out and he gets tucked away safe.....maybe he should stay out for the year??  

Speaking of welcoming someone into a family....I have some very sweet news I will share in my next post!!  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

cheers to 2015

Well 2016 awaits us.  I can't believe that another year has passed.  My sweet friend Alisha.....I think it is safe to share that she will welcome triplets in 2016....bought me these amazing chalk pens.  They are so neat to use and there is no dust.  She said as soon as she saw them she thought of me.  Well understandable so considering my wee obsession with chalk boards.  They work great!!!


Are you still stuck on the triplet thing???  Yes I said triplets.  Apparently a 1 in 8000 chance to have this happen naturally. I am excited for her, her husband and their two other children.  I think that their world will change in so many great ways in 2016.  She is very dear to me and I am so happy that we have become friends.  She gets me and I love that.  I look forward to seeing her year unfold.  There definitely will be some of those slouch hats in baby size!!!!

New Years Eve is very quiet and slow paced around these parts and I am so okay with that.  We enjoyed Chinese food for dinner.  I made some confetti squares earlier and tea.


I have been catching up on Ellen shows and knitting.  Compared to my crazy Christmas Day this is perfect.  I want 2016 to see me simplifying life even more.  I saw this blog and this challenge.  I have decided that 2016 things will leave my house in 2016.  Broken stuff.....odds and ends....the socks missing their match....the things I know I won't use and even some of the stuff I am unsure about because here is the thing.....I am not hanging on to stuff for that one day when I might use it.  I want the things in my home to all have a purpose and a need.

I can't explain to you how this transformation feels.  Unless you decide to make a huge conscious effort to downsize....you won't get it.  This isn't about looking at your bookshelf and getting rid of 3 of 50 books.  This is about picking 3 of the 50 that really matter and donating the rest.  This isn't about getting rid of clothes to buy more.  It isn't about wants.  It isn't about having what others have.  It is about less.  It is about less stuff.  It is about less on your plate.  Choosing to make a point of deciding what you won't do each morning when you wake up instead of making a list of all that you need to get done.  It is about eliminating relationships that don't make you flourish and fostering the ones that make you smile inside and out.

Doing all of these things and more will bring you to a place where your mind is calm, your soul is at peace and you truly enjoy each moment in life.....living 100% in the now.  Negativity will not find a way into your world.  You will be able to navigate what life sets before you with grace.  I can't explain it.  All I know is that my quest for simplicity in 2015 has been so rewarding.  I look forward to continuing into the new year making my life the best it can be by making my life about less.

I look forward to a wonderful new year ahead.  I hope to enjoy the ones I love and cherish more and perfect that whole hygge thing.

I hope 2016 brings you much joy and a lot less!!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

twenty-one

Porscha turned twenty-one today.  It is so hard to imagine where the time goes. 




I went back and was reading blog posts from her past birthdays.  They make me smile. 

19       18      17      15      14      13      12

Her 20th birthday and her 16th birthday where years I wasn't blogging and let me tell you that I sort of kick myself for stepping away during those years because looking back at these posts....and other times when I have got to reading old blog entries.......I just feel such a a joy.  This space makes my heart burst.

Porscha made a huge step this year into adulthood by leaving to go away to school in the fall.  One thing I love love love about this is that she has told me (and her basketball coach at school) how much she appreciates her momma.  Once you leave the nest and your momma isn't doing so many things for you it opens your eyes to how darn awesome your momma is!!!  I am happy that she found that appreciation.  It takes some of us much longer to realize how much our parents do for us and how they love us unconditionally.

I love that she made the choice to go even after meeting a very special young man here at home.  I know it was hard for her to go and it was hard for him that she went but I see such maturity in her ability to choose wisely and to have faith that it all would work out.  It helped that he made such a wonderful commitment to her by visiting her when he could on weekends.

Porscha has grown into a beautiful caring and amazing young woman.  There isn't much more I can say or ask for.  I feel incredibly blessed.

She is away in New York City with her boyfriend Joel.  I joked that there will be no banner because she isn't home but there will be when she gets back.  I had hoped to have it made before she left and have Joel hang it for her when she woke up this morning but Christmas kicked my ass and it never got done! I love that she still looks forward to the banner.  I know she is probably having the time of her life and this makes me beyond happy.

Porscha,

Your life is yours for the taking.  Embrace it.  Wear the shiz out of it.  Find joy in the smallest of things.  Be sure to slowly walk through life and absorb it all in....if you move too fast you will miss the best parts.  Be sure to always work to stay positive and find the silver lining when things don't go as planned.

Cheers to you on you Birthday xoxo

Love your biggest fan xo