Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring Change

Well Spring has finally arrived and I am feeling a sense of spring within myself.  I feel like a caterpillar in the cocoon, I am not yet ready to fly but I know it is inevitable.  I have been feeling like I am in hibernation.  My wellness is probably at an all time low.  I just feel like staying in bed. All. The. Time.

I feel like staying in bed, but the busyness of life hasn't allowed it, which is probably a good thing. Yup I'm in a slump. I know I'm in a slump.  But, change is right there. A move to a new town is on the horizon and that change will be filled with lots of growth and health.  It's kind of strange because I know I am not in a good place, but I am not ready to change it just yet.  Weird right? I'm not giving up but I am just not there yet.

I do know what I need in order to feel better. First up, I need to get off my lazy butt & actually get some exercise. I actually have a plan for this! I plan on getting out walking and hiking, dusting off my kayak, and getting back to my yoga mat.  I also want to invest in a bicycle, and once we get settled in our new home start going swimming.

To get myself back to holistic wellness I want to make the most of this summer.  I want to spend time with my family, visit with friends, go camping, enjoy the beach, and do a little bit of traveling.  I also need to make sure I don't get too busy and give myself time for quiet and reflection.

I am not there yet, but I am heading in that direction, and I will get there.

This slump has also rippled into my cooking. I haven't had much creativity and have been opting for quick and easy meals.  Tonight I made tri-colour cheese mini ravioli tossed in olive oil & Italian seasoning, with steamed asparagus and sauteed shiitake mushrooms and a pile of chopped fresh basil.

 I took this dairy free Mushroom Stroganoff and switched out the beef for cremini mushrooms.  I love the richness of stroganoff, and enjoy the lightness of the egg noodles. 

Just to add some more veggies and colour I steamed carrots and peas to serve alongside it.

Porkchops with Mushroom Gravy which we had with mashed potatoes, corn, peas and steamed carrots.  These were a healthier spin on a recipe I used to make using canned mushroom soup.  It satisfied the craving, but won't likely be a regular recipe in the mix.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza, which I should probably call pineapple pizza. I used a pre-made pizza crust and spread some barbecue sauce and then added slices of red onion, chicken left over from a whole chicken we had eaten a couple days before, lots of pineapple, white cheddar, and cilantro. Yum!

She was no longer wrestling with her grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~ George Eliot

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Phoenix Resurrected

Another chapter in this Imperfect Girl's life.Today's post is all about the symbol of the evolution of my journey to where I am today.  Today I am rediscovering self in a whole new way.

So here I am making my way back home to myself... and what a great time to have a symbol that can remind me of the journey.

You may recall in October 2016 I had tattoo done by Crystal Desharnais at Blessings Studio ~ Tattoo Salon & Fine Art Gallery of a monarch butterfly, in memory of our little Amy.  I was so happy with that piece of water colour art that I knew I wanted her to be the artist to revive my phoenix.

I had booked an appointment at Blessings Studio in March for my birthday weekend, and had to cancel because I came down with that horrific cold that was going around.  I was super disappointed, not only did I spend my birthday weekend sick, but I had really been looking forward to seeing what Crystal would create. I finally got to re-book my appointment for today and it didn't disappoint.

First I will tell you a little bit about what led to this tattoo in the first place when I got it nearly 16 years ago.  At the time, I had recently come out of a 7 year relationship that really formed much of my teenage/young adult years.  For the first time I was completely independent, discovering myself, and who I wanted to be moving forward.  I was at a place in my life in which I was letting go of a lot of anger from past hurt and coming in to a place of more compassion and understanding.  At that time fire symbolized the anger for me and when I got my phoenix I chose cooler colours as a symbol of letting go of anger as I was rising up from the ashes.  I had purples, blues, and a greens.  It was about releasing anger and coming up from the ashes with a sense of peacefulness. Not typical colours you think of with a phoenix, but for me it was capturing a chapter of my life that I was moving forward from and it spoke to me.  This was also long before Harry Potter and most people didn't know much about the legend of the phoenix, so people generally didn't ask about my choice of colours.

It seemed like for a period of time the pendulum had swung from a place of fire and anger to the other end of the spectrum to a place of water and peace.  This was a good thing if you knew me at a time I carried all that intensity, but neither ends of the spectrum were really serving me well.  I like to think in the past few years I have found myself in the middle.   The past few years I have been wanting to have her revived, but I wasn't really sure what that would look like.  Now rather than anger, the fire represents my inner passion, which I wanted to have captured in the resurrected version of my phoenix as I move forward into the next chapter of my life.  Here is the before shot.

I knew I was ready to let go of the teal and have a more colourful pallette.  I love purples and wanted a fiery aspect as well.  Crystal laid out the pallette and started painting with the ink to get a sense of what she was envisioning and if that was a fit for me.

At first I wanted to keep the symbols in the center for strong spirit and Crystal played around with that for a bit.

We talked about symbols and how the symbolism could be there without the actual symbols being prominent.

I decided that I wanted the symbols there but not prominent.  I know they are there and that is what is important.  This piece of art is evolving, just as I am. 

Once both Crystal and I were happy with the freehand design she took a picture which would be her guide as she tattooed.

Then it was time to get to work!

The beginning outlines



A helpful guide but only a guide, the real deal is perfection!

I absolutely love the way you can see a bit of the original phoenix design below and how it looks as though she is rising from it.  This phoenix is resurrected!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Often it is the deepest pain which empowers you to grow from your highest self. ~Karen Salmansohn

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Time for Change

CHANGE! The time has come... My sweetie has received a job transfer and we are moving to the Comox Valley!  I am so thrilled, and this is all happening so fast.  We were planning on putting our home on the market this past week, but we accepted and offer before it even went on the market.  Now we need to find a home to move into. The market in the Comox Valley is really hot right now so I'm a bit nervous about how this will play out. Nervous... excited... scared... excited...

I have been struggling internally with my job for quite some time.  I love the actual work but the politics of a large organization along with the lack of cultural awareness has not been lining up with my values.  When I started this job I thought that maybe I could be a part of a greater change, but after 5 years I realize this is so much bigger than I can affect on and it has been wearing me down. I have been reflecting on this for the past couple of years, and really haven't been sure what to do.  It's a good job, the pay is good, there are benefits and a pension, a good amount of holiday time, all things that aren't easy to walk away from.  I have been hanging on for those reasons, and they aren't the right reasons.
So last week I told my supervisor and colleagues that I will be leaving the organization at the end of June.  I had been driving to work that morning knowing I would tell them I was leaving but I wasn't completely sure what I was going to say.  I actually didn't know what I would say until I was in it.

As I was driving to work that morning my sense of knowing came to me.  I need to take some time away from work.  I need to get to know this new version of myself.  I choose to be led by my soul.

I'm so lucky to have such a supportive sweetie.  He understands that I need to do this for me which will be good for both of us.  I am not sure how long this break will be but I know I need this.  I need to carry on and try to live with passion and authenticity again.  I am going to take some time to get to know this new version of me.  I am not who I was a year and a half ago and often look in the mirror and see a stranger.  It's time I get re-acquainted with myself.  It's time to re-ignite the fire within me and rediscover what drives my passion.  It is time to focus on my holistic well-being.

I continue to play around in the kitchen exploring new recipes.  I found myself falling into a bit of a slump with just having the same things over and over again.  Here are some of the things on my plate these days...

Creamy Butternut Squash Linguini with Fried Sage.  I use a gluten free linguini noodle.  This was  so creamy! I will be making this one again for sure.  It is vegan and I sprinkled it with vegan parmesan.

I have been trying to eat more cabbage, and exploring new ways to eat it.  I made this Cashew Cabbage. I like the idea of this recipe, but I think for me it needs some tweaking, my sweetie quite enjoyed it though.

I had this with some chicken sage sausages, and home made HP Sauce.

One of the things i crave is Chinese food, especially chow mein. Often when I do indulge and go for Chinese I end up regretting it shorty after.   I made this  Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein for a healthy spin on chow mein. This as good although I think I will use less ginger next time.

Here is one of my stand-by recipes. Fried Rice is a good quick throw together dinner here.  I fry carrots and mushrooms, use left over rice, frozen peas & corn, fried egg, soy sauce, and 5 Chinese spice, and green onion.  I always have these ingredients on hand so it is an easy dinner when I don't have the brain power to think about what to make.  It also makes a lot so I can have it for lunches or dinner the next night.

The last few years I have been paying more and more attention to what I put on my body and the chemicals in my home.   I have been trying to invest in products that ave natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals.  It's quite amazing once you open that pandora's box!  I like the Think Dirty app and have found it helpful for researching beauty products.  This is an area that is continually expanding for me.  As I use up something I research what I want to replace it with.

I have totally jumped on the essential oil wagon.  I do not have a loyalty to one company, but I do pay attention to how the oil is extracted and use caution with my brand choices.  I have been expanding my collection of essential oils and exploring making my own cleaning products.  These are my 2 favourite oils to use as carrier oils to dilute the essential oils.

Here are some of my favourite oils right now: Saje lemon & lemongrass, doTERRA On GUard & Lavender, and Young Living Panaway.  I also use a lot of peppermint, orange, eucalyptus,  & tea tree (melaleuca) which I am out of right now.  Lately my diffuser has been running with On Guard.

I always carry a rollerblend of Young Living Panaway diluted with almond oil and Saje Peppermint Halo in my purse.  If I have any muscle soreness I roll on some Panaway, and for headaches I go straight for my Peppermint Halo.  I have also blended lavender & cedar which I roll on my big toes & temples when I climb into bed.  I keep in on my bedside table.  I also have one in my toiletry bag for travel.  I made a blend for when I have my period which I call cycle.  It's clary sage and geranium.  I often roll this over a layer of Panaway when I am in my period misery.  I diluted all of these blends with almond oil.

I ordered a bunch of bottles for cleaning products and containers with rollerballs for essential oil blends. When shopping on Voyager for the bottles I came across these bottles which I am using in the shower so I don't have the huge bottles and I find with the pumps I am not pouring and using as much product.  I just used a sharpie to put an S on one and a C on the other, so I know which one is shampoo and conditioner.  I love Voyager they have a huge variety of supplies for the DIYer!  I am just using up the cleaning products I have now and then will be making my own so I will be sure to share that in a future post.

Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finding the Light

We are the third week in to March and I have been focusing on trying to get my health back. The last week of February I came down with what I thought was a typical cold.  I took the weekend to rest and care for myself.  I ate lots of chicken noodle soup, drank copious amounts of orange juice, slathered my feet in On Guard essential oil, slept, and slept, and slept.  Monday came around and I was sure I had it beat!  Then Tuesday came and as the day passed I found myself in denial, I was not fully recovered as I had thought.  I ended up missing a few days of work and found out I had bronchitis/early pneumonia.  That was the beginning of March and I still have remnants of the cough and congestion.  That one was a doozie!  A teacher of mine once told me that when we do not care for ourselves we get the little sickness.  If we do not listen and care for ourselves after the little sickness, we get the big sickness.  Ok okay I am listening!

Winter for me is typically a time of reflection and isolation.  This winter was particularly cold, dark and long.  It has been a good metaphor for where I have been at with my emotions.  It is such tricky water to navigate.  I try to sit in the feelings as they wash over and move through me, paying attention but not getting stuck.  I find myself often struggling with how much to sit in it.  I find myself questioning am I sitting in the darkness too much?  Or am I asking the question because it is an uncomfortable feeling?  One never questions if they are sitting too much in the joy!  Maybe I am asking these questions because life just continues to go on around me, and I'm projecting what I think others expect of me. 

 It has been a long time since I have felt like my authentic self, and I suppose I have this story in my head that others are expecting me to be that again.  The trouble is I have been exploring who my authentic self is and I am not sure anymore.  My authentic self has changed, and I will never be the person I was before I said goodbye to our little Amethyst.  There are definitely elements of the old me but I'm really trying to figure out how to sit comfortably in this new me.  I still hold the values of honesty, integrity, and respect at the forefront, and am struggling the most with the honesty and I feel like my public face is often a mask which to me feels fake.  Necessary but fake.  I've never been very good at hiding how I feel and it takes a lot of energy.  I find it often leads to coming home from work exhausted, cooking dinner, making lunches, and getting to bed as early as possible.  I think the fact that I am able to do that is the only way I have been able to continue putting one front in front of the other and not just staying in bed.  Honestly that's where I want to be. In bed. And just stay there.  Being sick gave me some space to do that, which I appreciated.  Now it is time to get out of bed!

I am making a conscious decision to dig deep into my inner spirit and lift myself up.  It's not to say that I am going to stop paying attention to my pain as it moves through me, but I am going to focus my attention on figuring out who I am NOW.  Part of that is to strengthen my holistic well-being.  I can't keep just putting one foot in front of the other, I need to feel alive again.

I haven't been content sitting in this place of transition.  I am ready for a big change, and change is right around the corner.  Last week I had the privilege of presenting to a Child & Youth Care class speaking to Cultural Awareness and Humility and it was the first time in a long time that I felt that fire inside me.  I am not feeling the same passion for my work anymore and it's feeling like I need to shift something.  I miss the social justice aspect to my work, I miss being a part of greater change.  It seems my fire has returned in some aspects of my life.  Sounds like a place to start... it's also time to re-visit how I am caring for myself holistically.

Somehow even with riding the roller coaster of grief and being sick I have managed to continue cooking.  I have been opting for the easier meals and the regular rotation because my brain power is limited.  Fish tacos are a regular meal item around here.  I like making these because I can do most of the prep the night before and just cook up the fish so they are ready in about 15 minutes.  There are some variations of them depending on what is in the fridge, but they always have white fish, broken into pieces and pan fried in my taco seasoning.  I make my black bean & corn salsa with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt & pepper, cashew cream, and my guacamole.  This one I used snapper, which is my preferred fish to use, and topped it with fresh pea shoots.

These ones I used haddock and a generous helping of cilantro. You can really use any white fish.  I have also used halibut, cod, sole, mahi mahi,& tilapia.  Like I said previously snapper is my favourite option, but I go with what's fresh or on special.

My sweetie often doesn't get off work at his scheduled time so he's not able to help out with meals during his work week.  With my low energy I have found myself exploring more of the quick throw together dinners, but I also don't want them loaded with preservatives and junk.  I also don't want to be picking up restaurant food all the time.  My ability to be creative in my cooking has been lacking in the same way my energy has.  I found these yummy easy throw together dinners at Save On Foods that just require adding a few fresh ingredients.  I also find them versatile because you can cook them on the stove top or throw it in the crockpot and just walk away.  This stew was delicious, and I am looking forward to the other 3 I still have to try.  I suppose exploring these options could count for some creativity rather than just having a bowl of cereal;)

I love me some curry! My favourites are red and green Thai curry.  I have tried numerous recipes but they never taste as good as what I eat at the restaurant.  I found this delicious canned Green curry.

I sauteed carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, & bamboo shoots.  I made some basmati rice to serve it over. Doesn't look very inspiring, but oh so delicious!

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. 
~M. Scott Peck