Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's THAT weekend again...

Mother's Day. A day I have come to dread.

That piece of my heart will continue to be missing every year...

I have this continual dialogue in my head questioning if I qualify as a Mom having never raised a child.  The moment I found out I was pregnant I felt like a mother, and thinking of myself that way feels more validating of my loss and continual sense that something is missing.  The ultrasounds I was able to see that little bean growing were magical, and I felt so connected to her I knew this love was unlike any other.

I had one of those moments last weekend that knock the wind about of you. My sweetie and I were out of town heading to breakfast with my family. I was driving and all of a sudden felt my body vibrating and my heart pounding. I pulled over and said to my sweetie I was having a moment and needed him to drive the rest of the way.  I safely stopped as my eyes filled with tears and I felt a moment of utter panic.  I had been driving quietly lost in my thoughts, and my sweetie said he had seen the process unfolding wondering about my silence.  I didn't anticipate it, but retraced afterward and saw how my thoughts led me there.  It led me to the moment I said goodbye to our daughter. Literally I was reliving it all.  I could not pull myself together, but I knew it was okay that I was a mess.

I have felt sadness to the depth of my soul and thought about different moments before and after.  That is the mark of time now: before and after the loss of Amy.  That was the first time I was back in that moment, and it hurt just as much as it did when I experienced it first hand.  To feel a child in you, moving around and then to feel utter emptiness, there is nothing like it.

I try to carry on and often find myself frustrated with how deeply it still hurts.  Every pregnant belly I see comes with an intense sense of resentment.  Every pregnancy and birth announcement is a reminder of our loss and our longing.  Every time someone asks me if I have kids my heart sinks.  Do I say I had a daughter but she's an angel? Or no I don't, which doesn't validate the place she holds in my heart.  The worst is when someone asks if I want to have kids.  I can't imagine asking someone that, but some people think nothing of it.  Do I say I can't have kids or no I don't, just to shut them up & get them to leave me alone.  Every single time I have one of those conversations I find myself just trying to get through it until I can get away before I cry.   I thought it would get easier but it hasn't.  One thing that has changed is that I have gotten better at hiding it.  Time and practice I suppose.

I just try to continue living life as best I can, sometimes that means I am on autopilot and that's okay.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the busyness and then when I slow down it hits me like a rock.  I was at a community event yesterday for work and as I was leaving someone had wished me a happy mother's day.  I didn't say anything, but smiled at the person and carried on.  I left and ran in the pouring rain to my car and once out of sight burst into tears.  I had my cry, wiped my eyes, and carried on with the rest of my work day.  That is my life now.  Have a moment, be in the moment, take a breath, and carry on.
I have been reading a few good articles the past few days and thought I would add some links if you are interested.  I will say I am not always a fan of the language used but the messages really resonated with me.
How to Help Your Infertile Friend
A Letter to Mom's for Whom Mother's Day is Hard
For Childless Mothers
Those of Us Struggling with Infertility on Mother's Day

If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. ~ Rumi

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