Thursday, March 17, 2016


Just got back from a kayaking adventure today. Words can not describe how amazing it is for me to be able to get out and enjoy life again. There were many times over the last six years that I didn't think I'd ever be healthy enough to go out kayaking, hiking, camping, or on long drives... but I'm doing all these things now. Every day I feel like celebrating!
It was 90 some degrees but breezy and cool, especially in the murkier shade. We chose
tandem kayaks so as to be more sociable. 
 The murky green reflections in the water rippled in such a gorgeous way,
ever changing with the dip of each paddle.   
Now here lies a handsome fellow sunning himself . I named him Jasper. He has many gator
friends, such as Bernadette and Claudette. I would have captured their likenesses as well,
but I was busy trying not to crash into a fallen log midstream.
 Some of our friends drifted up ahead of us... while we were stuck high and dry on
said log that I almost but didn't quite maneuver around at the last minute.
Adorable, knobbly knees growing up out of the swampy water...

Now here's one of many hollow logs along the river with quite an inviting open door...
I quite imagine little elves, fairies or tiny water people living in here.  
Rowing into the sunlight, enjoying the breeze... being one with nature... this is the life!  
By mid afternoon we rowed under a canopy of trees and rounded a bend where we docked for the day. What a beautiful experience this was!

I still pinch myself each day with joy when I remember how far I've come in healing. Today's adventure wasn't just kayaking. I went out for breakfast this morning at a diner with my friends, where I had scrambled eggs and blueberry pancakes... I didn't have to order "special" food that was gluten free or dairy free like I strictly had to in the past. I still eat very healthy, but also do fine eating out occasionally.

After kayaking, we rested some, then went out with friends to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. We wrapped up the day by stopping at the grocery store for the week. And by the time evening's dusk had wrapped it's soft, dark cloak around us, we were home and relaxing, watching one of our favorite TV shows. While little Spark drapes himself on or the other of us, cuddling up and sleeping with his face mooshed on my hand like he's accustomed to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gingerbread houses and heroines

It isn't like I want to go back there. It's not like I want to be near them again. But it was the thick of the holidays, and in my memory lingered the pleasant smell of biscotti baking in the oven... slivered almond and cranberry biscotti. Then row upon row of plump chocolate biscotti, newly sliced and cooling. Such a tough cookie, but perfect for dipping in coffee and softening up over family gossip.  This was our magical pre-holiday tradition, baking cookies together, catching up, and listening to Christmas music that my mom had compiled on tapes and had played since we were babies. So there was a healthy helping of nostalgia to go with the biscotti. Some of us were living in other states, but somehow, most of my four sisters if not all of us found ourselves in our Mom's kitchen to help bake right before the holidays.

Not this year. Or last year. Not since being cut off. It's been easy to start feeling down for myself over the holidays, but I decided that overall, honestly... I'm much better off where I am now here in Florida, far away from my toxic family. I'm done thinking about the past, done being a victim. My mindset and perspective has changed.
I saw a quote a few months ago by Nora Ephron that stuck in my mind and keeps bubbling up to the surface in a pleasant, random, fizzy way...
"Above all, be the heroine of
your life, not the victim."
Yes! Exactly! This gal has sass and gumption. I'm so ready to hop on the track going forward these days.
I'm focused on enjoying life to the fullest! Getting a puppy was the first step for me. Then leaving K and moving. Then most recently, my latest endeavor has been creating new holiday traditions. Because the holidays can be quite a vulnerable time, creating traditions with friends can help each involved feel more grounded, rooted, safe and cozy. More loved, even.
My first new holiday tradition this year was building a gingerbread house. Oh my gosh, this was so much fun, even if somebody... not mentioning any names... ate the gummy bears that were meant to grace the pathways and front door of the house. As you can see from the photos, my graham cracker house is pretty simple. Next year I'm going to enlist more friends to help make the gingerbread house even more nifty.
The friends I'm staying with bought holiday sweaters for our dogs and I took pictures of them. Sparky wasn't in the mood to pose when I was snapping shots, as you can probably guess from the shirtless photo above, but he agreed to a rain check in the future. Next year, we may create holiday cards out of the photos, which will be a creative tradition I'd enjoy. Sparky insists he wear a monocle and plaid vest, and he wants to sport a stogie as well. I said I'd think about it. Yes, we all are going to be those people who send that kind of card, lol.  
I'm not the kind to put up holiday lights, but the neighbor down the road rigged this palm to light up at night... it's quite jolly walking past it on 90 some degree December days, seeing cut out palms for Christmas and not pine trees.
These peaceful reindeer are grazing in the late afternoon, tropical weather.
Santa arrives even if the weather's way too warm for his outfit.
This year I started a new tradition with my friends: choosing a live tree from a tree farm. All the years previous, I'd never had a real one.
We wandered around searching for the perfect tree....
... until one of us exclaimed "Here it is!" And that was that. There was a "knowing,"
similar to when you clap eyes on your dog for the first time... you just know.

We drove the tree back home and had a decorating party where we baked cookies, listened to Christmas music and decorated the tree. After that we went last minute shopping, which was pretty smart since Christmas was the next day.
This Christmas has been by far the best Christmas of my adult life. My roommates and friends are empathic and quirky, warm natured and authentic, with a tad of goofy thrown in the mix. We had fun addressing presents to each other that the other hadn't bought, just so everyone felt like they had contributed equally in the gift giving.

I whipped up mashed potatoes while my friends roasted the turkey and tinkered with the sides. My one friend made this gravy that could have won awards... it tasted like something a grandmother who loved you quite a bunch would make to warm the cockles of your heart. We lifted toasts of sparkling cider, then curled up in the living room to watch favorite Christmas movies.

I didn't miss my birth family on Christmas day. I actually felt more supported, safe and free to be myself with my new friends than I ever did in my own family. The positive, loving energy here transformed the day into something magical. Even Sparky and Mamsie joined in the festivities... they both earned a stocking each this year.... but whereas they pawed milk bones and chewies out of theirs, we upturned a clementine nestled in the sole of the foot, and piles upon piles of miniature chocolate snowmen and Santas in ours. Because even heroines need some kind of super power fuel, right?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Liquid sunshine

It's Nirvana here, I tell you. Even though it's February, the temps are in the 70's, and it's sunny most every day. There is an orange tree in the back yard here that produces edible oranges. After being washed and cut open, the ripe ones are juicy and bursting with life. It's like drinking liquid sunshine. My body feels so light and incredibly healthy afterwards.

I step off the patio to stretch out in the yard in the morning. The skin feels amazing on my bare skin. I run with Sparky, then lay out in the grass on my back soaking up the earth's energy. Then I do some morning stretches while still barefoot in the yard.

There's a wild Asian Pear Fruit tree in the yard as well. The fruit is oval and peach, an inch and a half long. Tastes like a cross between a pear and kiwi fruit. It's delicious, but the oranges are my favorites.
The orange tree in the sunny back yard...

Glistening oranges, sweet and full of life.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Positive affirmations and manifesting

Life has changed so much for me the last several months. I honestly am still pinching myself. I got myself out of a living situation that was not conducive to healing, as well as a location that was physically not the best for my health. I'm living in Florida now, which has been my dream for quite some time... I'm finally free of the cold NY and PA winters. I'm surrounded by a totally new set of people... no one in my life now knew me before, and no one from my past contacts me now except two sisters. There is a possibility that I can work again in the future, get my career back. My physical health has been coming back to me faster than I imagined! I'm going out and being social and living life more than I ever have since 2010. I didn't think for years that I could change so much by leaving, since my health was fragile up until right before I left PA. But... I did it! Friends, I did it.
The manifesting, self hypnosis, and positive affirmations I've been submerging myself in for some time have finally paid off in real life. I wrote out a collection of positive affirmations last year on note cards, stuck some stickers on to jazz them up, and bound them together with a whole punch and metal ring. I'd concentrate on one or two each week, or flip through the whole set occasionally. But that was just a start... just a stepping stone. The cards on their own did not do the trick for me. I needed more.  I could tell that the affirmations just weren't sinking in and applying themselves in my daily life. So I found some positive affirmation meditations and self hypnosis recordings online that I could listen to while falling asleep. This way the affirmations could sink into my subconscious more easily as I drifted from that world between wake and sleep. Effortless!

Another fun habit that really flipped my world upside down was visualization. I skipped ahead in time and let myself fully feel in 3-D the amazing feelings of gratification and enjoyment that went along with whatever it was that I wanted to achieve. I would be in that moment with all my senses to the point that I was all but there.
Visualization is enjoyable any time of the day, but it seems easiest for me while falling asleep. One of my favorite guided meditations I listened to often as I fell asleep asked me to picture something difficult that I had already achieved, and then watch myself thoroughly enjoying the result of this achievement, visualizing it in vivid detail using all the senses. I would then place this image on the left side of my mind, saying, "It's already done." Then I would picture something else that I had not yet accomplished, but wanted to in the future. I would visualize myself as if in a real movie, relishing each sight, sound, taste, and smell. I'll give you a snippet of my image. I would be on the beach barefoot in Florida, doing an early morning jog, full of health and energy. The sun would be rising, and I would leave the beach and walk into my home where a yoga class would be setting up, waiting for me, as well as a guy and two tow headed, curly haired kids. Then I would place this image on the right side of my mind, while thoroughly enjoying watching it play out.
Next comes the cool part. Just switch the image on the right side to the left side, and say, "It's already done." And this is where your sleepy brain sighs and relaxes, and you fall asleep knowing that it indeed is already done.

Here are a few of my favorite affirmations that I wrote down on cards:

What self affirmation has helped you in the past?

Do you have any tricks to help yours stick?

I'd love to know!

~Affirmations are from the work of Louise Hay.