Kristy, Au Naturale: “The Road to Serenity is Ahead” No Judgement Journaling

*Explicit language warning ūüėÄ in this post…

IMG_9854I don’t feel like I am alone in this when I say that I have the best of intentions when it comes to making the time to write in my journal ¬†all my journals. Mustering the courage to write my truth has always seemed too daunting a task. Faced with a blank page and SO MANY FEELINGS?

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so many journals, so little time

But… where do I start? What do I say? Somehow, my therapy via written word always finds a way of brushing itself aside with “I don’t have the time right now. Maybe later” and “Its 2:38 am, I should sleep. Ok, now its 3:02, 3:15, I’ll totally fall asleep because I’m so tired.”

Or, the all time most frequent anti-journaling monster…..distraction.

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Why should I journal anyways?? Before I got myself on the journaling wagon, I read a bunch of information about the benefits of journaling in PsychCentral.com articles, books and even Huffington post. Why bother? Here’s a few reasons:

  1. Writing can be an impressive way of challenging the mind to find words that otherwise may not be used in your everyday speech. Thus, expanding your vocabulary and your brainpower. (higher IQ levels for the win)
  2. Writing can also help boost your memory by actively beckoning the mind to remember events or ideas and then recalling them to the present.
  3. Bringing you into a state of mindfulness, journaling can create a level of self-awareness of just how deeply an issue, situation, or an emotion is felt. It helps you truthfully live in these experiences, so that you may be able to relate more appropriately to others.¬† Empathizing can be a powerful tool in emotional development. Being in the present moment, as well, can help to subdue the gravity of worries of the past, or the fiery pangs of the anxious ones to come. In essence, it’s helping you figure out your sh*&, so you can learn handy tools in dealing with your well-being going forward, and stop lamenting the worries of yesterday. (see what I did there?? I never use “lamenting” when I’m speaking to people. BRAIN BOOST POINTS)
  4. Others benefits, according to the PsychCentral.com article, can be related to problem solving, clarity of thoughts and feelings that can help you to know yourself better, and improving your interpersonal relationship communication.
  5. Sleep!!

So I touched on sleep above. Err, lack of sleep, rather.¬† Has anyone had those glorious nights where your kids are happily nuzzled cozy in their beds and sleeping all night, yet YOU can’t sleep because your mind is running around anazlying and worrying about everything and anything?

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The process of journaling has also been found to decrease the stressors that typically affect one’s ability to rest peacefully through the healing power of RELEASE. Dr. James Pennebaker authors a book titled,¬†Writing to Heal, in which he expresses the true art of unblocking emotional barriers and traumas. We can give them a voice to be heard, understood, and therefore not over analyzed¬†in our minds. He explains that writing exercises can

leave you with a stronger sense of value in the world, and the ability to accept that life can be good–even when it is sometimes bad.

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I know all this and yet…. Think of an excuse, and I’ve said it to myself to avoid journaling my thoughts and emotions that cause me stress and at their worst, keep me from sleeping. Truth is, if I just took five minutes out of my day to write that “thing” that is sucking my awareness into it down on paper, the huge monstrosity of looped thought may just exit my brain altogether. And hopefully, for good.

Here is the kicker: Journaling is also an awesome lesson in self-discipline. And with self-discipline, practice makes perfect.

I’ve admittedly been highly unsuccessful at keeping up with any journal.¬† It wasn’t that “I sucked at journaling” self judgey much? I just felt so overwhelmed with it, that I never even began to try. Frustration would set in before any therapeutic benefit could be reached.¬† The answer was that I hadn’t yet been connected to a journal that fit my personality/emotional needs.

It was through a gift from a dear friend that changed my perspective on that feeling. Suddenly, I was given a daily theme, a dated logbook with meditations, and small practical guidance to look within myself.  I found the points above were key factors in my adherence to writing behaviors. Helpful and simple tools, like this one below, are very powerful.

So, going through these insightful motions of jotting down my physical, emotional, and psychological thoughts for that day and relating them to an intention was my Aha! moment. I loved it, and looked forward to the time in bed right before I fell asleep when I could journal.

So, to Recap what we have learned:

  1. Keeping a journal is a healthy and awesome way to release emotional blockages and enhance your super smartness (which you already have a level of that for reading our blog;))
  2. You’ll need to find a journal that excites you, enticing you to make the time to use it as the tool it can be.
  3. Start slow. Pick a theme or an emotion to narrow in on in order to really understand it.
  4. Write quickly, without judgement, and in a space that can feel private and safe.
  5. Enjoy the process of opening up to yourself. You might be surprised at how in tune you become with your inner workings.

I’ll use my current theme as an example.¬† It is related to one of my favorite books, the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck The title speaks for itself. Buy it. Read it. Live it. You will thank me.

The Journal, also a gift, called “Zen as F*CK” A Journal For Practicing The Mindful Art of Not Giving A SH*T”, has me laughing like an awesomely carefree mad scientist and I am 514B7Y42PML._AC_US218_LOVING it. Each page can take less than 20 minutes. I find myself smiling when I am done, accomplished in my mindfulness task for that day.

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One of the factors that I never found in my research about writing therapy, was the amazing affect it has had on my hopefulness.¬†In the last 2-3 months since beginning this practice, albeit not daily but almost, I am slowly rediscovering who I was always meant to be. I am finding a woman who knows how to be confident in feeling happy, kind, warm, and balanced. Oh, and hilarious. Definitely hilarious. (if you can’t laugh at yourself, right?) And to think, it wasn’t that I found any old journal and started writing.¬† This all started to happened because,

          a journal helped me find my way back to me.

-Psssst, and I totally dig this new me. She’s kinda awesome.

I hope you take this time to rediscover you through the art of writing. Because chances are, you’re freaking incredible. Have an amazing voyage!

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Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, mom of 2 and homesteader in Virginia.

Save Our Water Series, Vol. 2: Sustainable Agriculture and The Importance of Supporting Regenerative Practices

In our first volume of the Save Our Water Series, we spoke about rain barrel production and the benefits on small gardens to big farms.¬† Today’s volume will illuminate the myriad of important information gleaned when researching sustainable farming, and what it can do to really save our planet.

We will begin by understanding what Sustainable Agriculture is.  In short, this type of farming practice keeps the greater good in mind. It protects the environment, public health, animal health and habitat, and allows us the ability to produce good food without hindering the next generations ability to do so.

Well what is GOOD FOOD? Great question. “Good” food, in my opinion, is local(the further it travels, the more preservatives have to be used), truly organic (get your round up out my face) properly fed (grass fed, or true omnivore diet for chickens because chickens are NOT vegetarian), non hormone or GMO enhanced (screw you Monsanto and the three headed , genetically modified horse you rode in on), FOOD grown or grazed in soil that not only is rich in proper nutrient densities and ratios, but also maintains a pesticide and herbicide free grade.

Let’s break down the difference between Industrial Practices and Sustainable practices.

Industrial Crop and Livestock Production

So basically, Industrial crop and livestock production uses a type of monoculture. What is Monoculture, you say? Oh, let’s let the experts explain.

“Monoculture is a common practice in modern agriculture in which large acreages of land are planted with one type of crop, usually multiple years in a row. Often such techniques are used to supply goods to other regions or countries. Monocultures deplete the soil and crops grown in this manner become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays (i.e. pesticides). Monoculture on animal factory farms refers to the raising of one type of animal (generally chickens, turkeys, cattle, or pigs) confined in densely packed expanses, often treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent the diseases that would otherwise spread quickly through the farm. These operations produce much more waste than the surrounding land can handle, and the farms are associated with numerous environmental hazards as well as animal cruelty. The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).”

Sounds AWESOME, right?

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This seems, to me, that they are operating under the notion that they are gonna treat everything like crap, just to “feed the world” chemically downgraded food that is low in nutrients, and high in toxic crap.

Sustainable Livestock Production

Farmers that use practices with sustainable focuses allow their animals to eat an instinctive, natural diet, to move freely on pasture, and to eliminate the stress and disease (hello no disease, no antibiotics needed…f*#%ing DUH) that a cramped environment produces.

People are led to believe that in order to feed more people, we must use genetics to produce food that can withstand drought, bugs, weeds, and weather patterns. That is just untrue in a lot of cases. Sure, the big companies take a hit in the wallet when these things happen, but to truly teach sustainable farming will impact our whole world.

“Regenerative Agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity ‚Äď resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”

I cannot explain the benefits any better than Regeneration International can in their well researched list below.

A Global Shift to Regenerative Agriculture Can:

  • Feed the world:¬†Small farmers already feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland. >¬†Read the GRAIN Report
  • Decrease GHG emissions:¬†A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. The current industrial food system is responsible for 44 to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. >¬†Read the GRAIN Report
  • Reverse climate change:¬†Emissions reduction alone is simply inadequate. Luckily, the science says that we can actually reverse climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks. >¬†Read the Rodale Institute Report
  • Improve yields:¬†In cases of extreme weather and climate change, yields on organic farms are significantly higher than conventional farms. >¬†Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Create drought-resistant soil:¬†The addition of organic matter to the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter. >¬†Learn More
  • Revitalize local economies:¬†Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies. >¬†Read the FAO Report
  • Preserve traditional knowledge:¬†Understanding indigenous farming systems reveals¬†important ecological clues for the development of¬†regenerative organic agricultural systems. >¬†Read the Action Aid Nepal Report
  • Nurture biodiversity:¬†Biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. >¬†Read the Report
  • Restore grasslands:¬†One third of the earth’s surface is grasslands, 70% of which have been degraded. We can restore them using holistic planned grazing. >¬†See the Evidence
  • Improve nutrition:¬†Nutritionists now increasingly insist on the need for more diverse agro-ecosystems, in order to ensure a more diversified nutrient output of the farming systems. >¬†Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

We Can’t Afford Healthy Food

This is a legit concern as health food stores are quite pricey when it comes to organic food. Finding your local farmers market (yes, they have them in cities all the time) or finding a crop sharing organization such as Agriberry here in Virginia and Maryland, helps keeps the cost of truly organic farm fresh foods down.  It also provide the added benefit of having your family eat what is in season, which requires less industrial farming interventions.

 

In small towns, like ours here in Virginia, farmers markets supply these local farms a venue to sell the fruits of their hard labor. We utilize these markets for produce, and have a gone in for several years on purchasing a cow sharefrom a local SUSTAINABLE farm here in Orange, VA called Renewed Pastures Farms.

Farmer’s Market Setup

The owners, Jason Goforth and his wife, invited the family and I to tour the farm and see exactly what the farm does to remain sustainable. We could even see how the cows live and graze if we wanted to!

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‘Sup, Jason?!

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In the health food store, a pound of Grass-fed meat is roughly $6-$8 depending on the store and the company. Over time if you are an avid beef eater like we are, the tax, price for gas for the trip, the packaging, and price fluctuation in the market adds up quickly. So, we do a cow-share with some friends of ours. We get 1/2 a cow that is cut to order and will last us roughly 8-12 months. At less than $8 per pound, we get filets, flank steaks, London broils, and even or ground beef allotment for a STEAL compared to grocery store. And Jason delivers it right to our deep freezer!

So we have local (within 100 miles), preservative free (freezing is their only method), and true sustainably farmed meat that our family can rely on for an unbeatable price.

How can we NOT afford that?

*** Check out this PDF on Grass-fed Cow Market News.***

The simple truth is this, we have to support our farmers who work their butts off to uphold truly sustainable farms. They rely on us to purchase their products, be it produce or meats, in order to keep their higher standards up. So let’s get out there and support our local folks!

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The Tale of the Contaminated Pool

My family and I just had a wonderful camping week at the beach. The sun, swimming, tiki bar (what what?), and nights by the wonderful campfire with extended family were all relaxing and rejuvenating.

We reflected on the the fact that the only things we took away from camping were wonderful memories, big smiles, sun-kissed skin, and a better understanding of a need for personal space.

“Well,” we thought. “That one day was weird when we had to leave the pool because it had been contaminated.” We had just thought some kid (even though “it” happens, amirite?ūü§£) had pooed, which is awful in and of itself. But what it turns out to be, oh, is much worse.

Resuming daily activities Monday morning is when I quickly realized that sunsational vibes were not the only thing we brought home with us.

Phone rings: 10:00am

“Hi, Mrs. Wright…….little #2 has HEAD LICE and needs to be picked up immediately”

<Screech screech screech horror movie noise>

Those who really know me understand that I have an incredible visceral repulsion and hair-trigger panic button when it comes  to flying insects and now also to tiny creatures you can barely see that latch on for dear life and suck your bodily juices for sustenance.(Is that too graphic?)

I panic. BIGTIME. We’ve never had lice in our house before!

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It’s coming from INSIDE THE HOUSEEEEEEEEEEE

I immediately stop my work and go to get her, all the while assuming I am going to pick her up and she’s going to be covered in these horrible blood thirsty pests.

A little History with my bug hysteria can be explained in the flea “epidemic” of 2015 when my dog had two fleas. I assumed the whole house had been taken over and went a little nuts and replaced all our carpets and our couch, bought a Dyson cordless and vacuumed six times a day. Totally normal behavior…

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So, I vow to go immediately home, burn all clothes, shoes, beds, pillows, couches, carpets.

“That won’t be enough. The whole house will have to go up in flames. BURN IT DOWN”

So instead of going back down the road of epidemic, I reassure myself that I should assess the situation first, then react. High fives for rational thought.

Restoring my wits, I remember the thousands of other parents/kids/humans that have dealt with this issue in the past. And I got a lovely suggestion from our daycare provider (who was an angel and bagged two to educate me since this was our first time dealing with it) for a service we have here in Virginia called “The Nit Fairy”¬† They searched for, treated, checked me and my daughter and scheduled a follow up with us! I paid for it….$300 to be exact…but the peace of mind that someone did a thorough job in finding them and treating them while teaching me what to do step by step feels priceless to me. Hopefully y’all have this in your area as well! It’s worth the search.

Now…..the aftermath. As soon as my son and husband get home, they are checked and treated. I use the OTC RID lice treatment on both, and vacuum and spray all carseat heads, and regular seats, seat belts, bike helmets with the home spray included in the kit.

Now, we wait….

24 Hour Report: So far so good. All have been checked several times with combing twice.  Bug and egg free for today.

1)Mental itching and feeling of bugs all over level: expert.

2)Shampoo game: on point

3)House cleaning status: laundry done, things bagged and tagged, brushes/toys/ shoes drowned for two hours and counting.

What Do I Do Now?

I am not going to lie to you, looking through photos to show you what one of these things looks like made me throw up in my mouth.

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HOWEVER! For the sake of me never wanting YOU to have to question “what the heck do I do?” upon the words “Mommy/Daddy, my head itches.” arriving at your door, here is a guide on what to do:

Step one: Saddle up, you’re riding this suck fest for two weeks plus.

The average lice egg takes up to a week to hatch. Meaning, if you don’t get the nits (lice eggs) out, you’ll have a brand new harvest in a weeks time. You’ll have to go through the WHOLE rigamaroll again if they go unnoticed.

Get a treatment kit either OTC, call for a prescription from your pediatrician on what they recommend, or go to a place like I did that treats you there. To decide, think about how you feel about chemical OTC treatments versus using an oil based solution such as a blend of Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil in a carrier Olive Oil.

Step Two: Treat yo’self and your WHOLE FAMILY

Get enough kits for your whole crew. Even if you don’t SEE anything on them, chances are there at least one. After you treat, wait seven days and treat again.

********Always follow the FULL instructions on how to treat in the pamphlet. Better yet, call your doctor and ask them!***********

This Comb is pretty legit as a replacement for the normal comb! Not necessary, but made me feel like I was doing more to alleviate my irrational tiny bug abhorrence.

Step Three: Housekeeping Diligence

The second most important step is to be violently and insanely diligent with cleaning up anything that anyone treated has touched in the last two days before finding the, gulp, infestation.

Wash: All clothes, sheets, pillow cases, hats, princess dresses, gloves, blenders, miniature schnauzer-doodles, goldfish… I don’t care ….WHATEVER THE KID(s) or y’all HAVE TOUCHED, wash it in 130 degree water. High heat for 20 minutes and roast the little things.

Dry Clean: Anything you cannot wash at 130 degrees and put on HIGH heat in dryer for at least 20-45 minutes, should be dry cleaned. Comforters, pillows, dragon pillows, fort roofs, fort sides, fort anything.

Bag: Anything else such as toys, tiaras, magic wands, and seal it for FOUR weeks in a bag and shake it like a polaroid picture when you take it out before use.

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Vaccuum: Everything. Everywhere. All the time. Carpets, floors, couches, mattresses, headrests and car seats, your desk, headboards on bed. Just get an iRobot and call it a day.

Step Four: Pete and Repeat.

You know the old joke, “Pete and Repeat were on a boat. Pete fell off, who was left?” Yup…..basically you can clean and wash and vacuum for as long as you want. But everyone needs to be checked daily until you see no more lice or nits. Up to two weeks after last treatment. If you still see lice or nits after the two treatments, get your butt to a doctor cause you’ve got a superbug.

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You could also just shave your head if you want. Believe me, in my initial freak out mode I told the day care provider that I was going home to shave everyone’s head. I mean, why not?

Please Share what has worked for you and your family to rid yourself of these evil effers that can hold their breath for TWO HOURS under water. Unless you say Powdered Sugar is delicious and the lice hate the sugar. (name that movie??) download (8).jpeg

<Kristy mumbles “holding their breath for two f$%king hours?” BLEEECCCHHHH¬†>

Hope this helps you not to freak out like I did. Do as I say, not as I do:)

48 hour report: One sluggish bug found……Repeating steps above….AGAIN.

Godspeed good soldiers…

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Kristy, Au Naturale: Making Fitness Fun Wherever You Are

Alright Alright. I have waited long enough to talk about it. So let’s do it. Guess what? I Crossfit. And what’s the first rule of Crossfit?

               Always talk about Crossfit.

And boy, oh boy, did I ever uphold that rule! I’m pretty sure people ran for the hills when they saw me coming because, “She’s gonna tell us how many pull-ups she did yesterday”

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Yup….that is exactly what I would have done;) But now, I have learned the power of balance and FUN in adapting workouts to fit into the life of all that wish to have fitness be a priority in their lives.

It seems about time that I share some of my hubs’ and my favorite Crossfit Workouts. I do this so you can know that not only is Crossfit for everybody, but it can also be adapted and scaled down for every¬†BODY.¬†

I’ll give y’all (that’s right I am a Virginian) two versions for these adapted workouts. The first version will be the Crossfit prescribed workout. The second will be adapted for the at home motivated fitness junkie.

You should of course only do these if you know you are medically safe to do so – if you’re not sure, ask your healthcare provider. And for Pete’s sake, use good form!!!! Not sure what good form is? Invest in a few personal training sessions or CrossFit Gym sessions (you might just get hooked like me).

Kristy’s Most Favoritest Crossfit WOD Ever

“Annie”

download (5).jpegWhat you’ll need: A jump rope and a yoga mat. Oh and some Chamois Butter¬† just trust me and buy it. High Reps=hello sit-up chafe.¬†

Oh and also if you’ve had kids……..These little life saver Poise Impressa protection things are Ah-May-ZZZING protection for those 150 reps of jumping. And yes, you will probably pee on yourself if you aren’t using them, let’s all just be real.

The point: We do these repetitions on a metabolic conditioning scale. The way it works is the clock starts, and you want to get in 50 reps of double unders then sit-ups. Then, you do 40 and 40, 30 and 30, and so on…..FOR TIME.

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You said do what?

Don’t have double unders? No problem, just triple the amount of single unders (standard jumping rope) you have to do.

50-40-30-20-10 reps of

Double unders

and sit-ups

Annie at home”

What you’ll need: Your body and a yoga mat

50-40-30-20-10 repetitions of:

High Jumps

and Sit-ups

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Record your time. And repeat in a couple of months and see if you can can get a faster time!

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My Husband’s Choice

“Nancy”

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We are back into the METCON here, but this sort of run/weight training is amazingly efficient in reaching your anaerobic thresholds. Threshold meaning the point when you “feel the burn” but you keep moving through anyway, fighting the urge to quit!

5 Rounds for Time:

400-meter run (roughly a quarter mile)
15 overhead squats

Men: 95 lb (with weight plates and a barbell)
Women: 65 lb (weight plates and barbell)

Crossfit.com explains this workout of the day, or WOD, perfectly.

“This benchmark couplet is meant to be light and fast. Reduce the load on the overhead squat so you can perform all the reps unbroken and still run fast.

Intermediate Option
5 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
15 overhead squats

Men: 65 lb.
Women: 45 lb.

Beginner Option
4 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
10 overhead squats

Men: 45 lb.
Women:¬†35 lb.”

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“Nancy at home”

What you’ll need: A 1/2 mile route and free weights (you choose the load)

NO weights?

Find a heavy object in your house or use your baby/toddler for Mom/Dad-ercise!

5 rounds for time of:

1/2 mile run

15 air squats

OR

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OR 15 baby thrusters (shown below)

These are some fun ways to “dip your toe” into the world of High Intensity Interval Training to see if it is for you. But trust me, it is.

Enjoy rocking out and sweating massive amounts of High Intensity Awesomeness!

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I mean, who can argue with that?

Sing Peace: The Power of Positive Intention

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Our scene opens to an Amphitheater. Its Grandparents Day and its my son’s first year at this Montessori School. I am excited to show my Father in Law and his wife how AMAZING this school is. It’s reputable accreditations, top notch facilities, child led education model, etc. Then the kids come out. They get in their positions for a song. Then the music starts…

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way ’round the world

Light a candle for me, light a candle for you

That our dream of peace, will one day come true

Sing peace around the world.

Goosebumps. Tears.

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I am utterly inspired by this song that my son’s Montessori Primary class is singing. Mesmerized by the message, I soon forget about all the impressive outward characteristics that the school offered. They, in front of my eyes, are showing me that they are teaching the kids about world peace.

What a notion! Light a candle for peace? Is it really that simple? Can I really believe that me lighting a candle for peace for all, will be enough to actualize that peace?

Yes, the power of positive intention is exactly that. Amazing, untapped, raw, power. 

“This morning, in this room, these children are using their power to change the world.”

<Andddddd……scene>

Many folks ask me whether or not I’ve heard the latest on local, national, or world news.¬† The many tragedies that happen daily, the “government’s latest screw up” and “this party is responsible for the demise of all humankind”. For those who absorb and feel energy,¬† frequently called Empaths, these types of things go beyond effecting just their thoughts. We feel this sort of devastation viscerally, which is why it can be hard for us to stay “up-to-date” with current events. It physically and emotionally hurts….quite literally.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes with constantly being bombarded with the negative things that go on in the world. It is not that we wish to remain ignorant, it is that the physical and emotional pain of feeling it becomes too much, and we must protect ourselves from it in order to live our best life.

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I know, kid. I feel it too.

Within the last ten years, I have developed a ritual that helps me feel the power of proactivity within what feels like a muddy bog of the energy of today’s world. When I feel taken by the overwhelming feeling of the worlds tragedy, I stop and light a candle. This grounding technique helps me to send up a prayer of protection for myself and the world. I take one moment to speak aloud my intention for that day. “I intend to live today happily and in gratitude” or “I intend to offer a feeling of peace to all whom I encounter.” Walking in that truth, I believe, has the power to effect maybe even ONE person. If I can effect one person, then the ripple effect can begin.

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I feel as though it is safe to say that most of us have heard of the Power of Intention. Ever heard of the book, The Secret? Oprah has!!!!

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Whaddup Oprah’s Book Club List?

The book explains that in the theory of Quantum Physics, everything has an energy; including thoughts. If we think about all that we have to be grateful for, we tend to open our hearts and minds to attract MORE of the same. This goes both ways. Both negative thoughts AND positive thoughts attract one another. Relying on this can have profound changes on one’s life. Simply speak your intention until it ultimately becomes your reality. In the book, that can mean financially, spiritually, romantically, or anything you else can imagine. We are, in essence, limitless.

After all, we’ve heard this same notion since we were littles ourselves.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.”¬†

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Nice one, Jimminy. Thanks.

And why the heck shouldn’t they? If we are all individually powerful enough to make this happen,

imagine the potential energy of the collective?

The mountains of positivity that things like The World Kindness Movement can move.

An example lies in yesterday’s stresses I faced.¬† For me, they were almost too overwhelming for me to function. Money, parenting, and hormones (TMI? ah, lighten up;))got the best of me. So today, I woke up with the intention that I would feel nothing but butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows. (photo below) I even dressed the part as a reminder. Needless to say, I had an amazing day today in that I could see the good, the fun, and especially the hope in all the things that had stressed me the day before. Had I not intended to live differently today, I would have most likely felt the same stresses take me over. Silver linings are just that. Shiny lines in the proverbial sand that let us choose whether to stay on the side the negative, or to choose to see the positive.

There are ways you can get yourself involved bringing kindness to the world. The Random Acts of Kindness Organization has plenty of ideas, lesson plans, and even motivational quotes to help you on your way. If you’d like to keep it simple, then just smile at a stranger every now and again. It is said to be hella contagious:)

Or, be like this kid,  Maurice Adams, Jr..

We can all learn from Maurice. Well done, good sir.

Dr. Annie Answers: Summer Reading

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I have a bit of a book obsession. My husband has dubbed my problem “binge-reading disorder”. It’s been there since childhood. I think my personality testing (ESFJ) lands me 49% introvert, 51% extrovert for the sole reason that I like books almost as much as people. Well, if we’re being honest here, more than most people.

I’m asked a lot for book recommendations and absolutely love giving them! I read all kinds of genres from non-fiction to youth dystopian to raunchy romance to historical fiction… you name it. I usually read books that come in series – trilogies or more, but know not everyone suffers from the same binge-reading disorder I have, haha… I love specific requests, but also have some all-time faves and recent finds that would be great summer reads!

Drama/Romance Singles: Best for Quick/Busy Vacations

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

For Outlander fans like myself who were marooned with no more sequels after the last book, this one is a fabulous read. I love that the romance, drama and mystery take place in one of my favorite cities in Italy as well and features a kick-ass female lead character.

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

Before you roll your eyes too hard at the author here, this second work out of the Twilight author is a whole different level of maturity. Where Twilight was all teen angst and predictable plot twists (yes I read them, yes I loved them, everyone’s entitled to their own book preferences), The Chemist actually surprised me and kept me dying to get back to it when I had to put it down. Plus, again, brilliant main character chick rules.

The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

 

This one is a young adult fiction romance that will appeal to grown-ups as well. The main character is struggling through the end of high school to college transition, teen romance and a new, supernatural ability all at once (puts ordinary life in perspective!). Beautifully written story that makes you think with new parts of your brain in a fun way.

Trilogies and Beyond: Best for Longer and More Leisurely Trips

The Atlantis Gene (Origin Mystery Series) by A. G. Riddle

This series is an absolutely riveting Dan Brown-esque mystery/thriller with romance about the origins of humans on Earth. It brings in a life-on-other-planets dimension that is very mind-stretching and so fun. Again, love the smart and capable main female character and the star-crossed romance woven through.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The penultimate book in this series just released in May, we will have to wait for 2019 to get the final addition. If you’re a quick reader – maybe wait because the anticipation is killing. me. This story of a dystopian alternate world where humans and Fae (think hunky super-strong and magical humanoid fairies, not little Tinkerbell types) have been separated and one strong-willed young woman’s actions will bring about a radical shift. Romance and mystery and drama abound in the beautiful set of books. I’ve already read the whole series twice and can’t get enough!

Non-fiction That is Actually Fun to Read: Best for when you want to learn something but also not be bored

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

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I’ve already posted about the low-fat lies that have been spread throughout western society due to lack of good science and a few big egos along with a whole lot of well-meaning people. This book breaks down in readable terms the actual history of this, the impact for nutrition science today and also how you can change your health and life with the knowledge. Backed up by meticulous footnotes full of research, this book is worth reading and sharing.

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

This is another thing modern, western society has been getting WAY wrong. We don’t sleep enough at baseline and lots of people are sabotaging their natural sleep and then drugging themselves. This can have very serious negative health effects. I’m not talking about ‘feeling groggy’, I’m talking about car accidents, dementia and even increased risk of cancer. This goes over real, practical advice for improving your own sleep that aligns with the best research out there.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Lawson herself suffers from mental health issues and is able to be honest and raw and f*cking hilarious about them in a way that magically uplifts your own mind. I laughed so hard at this book, I had tears rolling down my face and ab cramps. I still giggle every time I pass a piece of taxidermy to this day. Do yourself a favor and get it.

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OK, ok…. I’m cutting myself off! I could go on all day.¬† I’ll just have to do more of these posts – have a specific request? Leave a comment and I’ll add to my list for next time!! For now, g

rab your beverage of choice and relax with one of these great reads.

Love to you all, especially our faithful followers ūüėČ

1Dr. Annie is a married mom of 2, family doctor and self-acknowledged book addict in the Sacramento area.

Kristy, Au Naturale: Weight Loss Journey, A Hard Life Lesson in Transformation.

I am not even sure where to begin with this post. I’ve asked myself a million times whether or not it is a good idea to post about my weight loss journey. The answer is always the same. Yes. Because it¬†ISN’T¬†about weight.

It’s about the journey.

I was always playing sports growing up, so I never really thought about weight. Being genetically predisposed to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity never ever crossed my mind. ¬†As I got older, and the metabolism started to decrease, I began to take notice. Then….. I had kids.

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After I had my first little one, Christiana and I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Super ambitious goals are the only goals!! “Sure I can run 13.1 miles 8 months postpartum. I’ll just train my ass off, lose all the baby weight, and feel FABULOUS, right?”

EHHHHHHHHH (cue game show buzzer noise)

So so so so wrong. All that training and I lost ZERO pounds or inches. ZERO. I also ended up hurting my hip flexor pretty badly during that race because…hello...cross training is necessary when training properly for long distance running.

It was then that my metabolism came crashing screetched to a halt. I was eating all the food and drinking all the beverages. And it was then that my body image started to wain. An increase in scale weight and clothing size caused a HUGE decrease in self worth for me.

<Depression enter stage left>

Depression set in pretty hard. It was soon after that I spent a majority of my days in tears, not feeling worthy of any kind of love. OK, I know what you’re thinking,

“weight shouldn’t have anything to do with that…. society….. diets… magazines….. women are predisposed to unhealthy mindsets due to having their bodies objectified and sexualized in our faces since we were little and it shouldn’t affect them….”

Yup….all that. ¬†All of the yeps. But I still hated myself for letting myself get to a place that I hated myself, perpetuating a vicious negative feedback loop.

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210 lbs, size 18 my heaviest

Fast forward to my daughter being born. With little #2, I never slept. She was up every 45 minutes of her life for the entire. first. year. I cannot get back all the wasted time on social media looking at photos like the one above and seeing someone I didn’t even recognize. It became impossible to see any happiness in my life. I was being blinded by how disgusting I thought I looked. I couldn’t see the beauty in the way my daughter is looking at me in this photo. The joy radiating from her sweet little face…

<Cue second bout of depression and self loathing>

It was then that my husband, bless that sweet man, had HAD IT!

“I want you to see what the children and I see, so I used my Christmas bonus and signed you up for the on-track class at the closest Crossfit. It’s already paid for….you’re going”

<jaw drop……anxiety sweat dripping>

Walking through the doors that day in January of 2015 changed the course of the rest of my life.

Through education, HARD WORK, team commoradory, nutrition challenges and changes (we went mostly paleo), and push from my family…. I started to feel worthy of this change. The weight loss started happening slowly, then once my diet changed, my metabolism that had been seemingly dormant for 4 years decided to wake up!

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3 months after beginning Crossfit, was down 15 lbs and SO MUCH HAPPIER already.

Suddenly, I could do stuff. Pull-ups (albeit assisted but WHO F$*&ing cares I was doing PULLUPS) pushups, deadlifts, stuff I had never even thought I’d be capable of.

Pretty soon, I found myself at a 55 lbs weight loss.  FIFTY FIVE POUNDS!

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155lbs

But….was I truly happy? Well, I went from hating my body, to becoming OBSESSED with it. I spent every moment I had thinking about workouts and how I needed to get there and see the people that had become my friends, my lifeline. I would get anxiety about every workout everyday.¬† And if I missed one, I’d have anxiety that I’d lost all the fitness I had worked so hard to get. Every day I’d miss dinner, and homework, and family time to work on this new body of mine. I looked for my self worth and validation for missing those things in every “you look amazing!”, from people that I heard. I found physical validation in others finding me attractive, since I had spent so long feeling hideous. In other words, my mental health battle had just begun.

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Thinnest here at 152 lbs size 8

I kept getting thinner and thinner. Skipping breakfast, drinking protein shakes instead of lunch (mainly because the anxiety for the workout that day would leave me nauseated), and only having an appetite for dinner after the workout. My coaches even noticed and talked to me about my weight. They weren’t happy.

It was shortly after this that I started having panic attacks. Undiagnosed depression and anxiety had gotten the best of me. With the up and down extremes, using weight loss and working out as the only escape, it became hard to even notice that I had lost myself and the person I was. I was no longer the carefree woman my husband married. The thing that made me happiest at that point, was now my greatest source of angst and pain.

Life threw us a giant kick in the ass when my son started losing interest in school. We started having emails and notes home from his teacher that he was way behind and not able to focus in school. Essentially, we took him to the gym and came home and put him in front of his homework or the television and talked about crossfit in the kitchen.

ROCK….BOTTOM…..PARENTING………FAIL……..<cue more self loathing>

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That woke me up to just how bad my mental state had gotten. I looked for validation at the expense of everyone but me.

My supportive (you know who you beauties are) friends and family took me aside, and told me that they loved me, but it had been as if they’d lost me to crossfit and crossfit people for two years at this point. So I changed….

I refocused my awareness on healthily eating, (whatever I wanted…not following a specific limited diet) being okay with skipping workouts and only going three days a week and NEVER in the evenings. We reinstalled family dinner around the table, and no television during the weekdays. And the biggest factor was that I asked for help. That help saved my sanity, just as Crossfit had saved my health two years earlier.

This is yesterday

The scale went up, but guess what….so did my performance in the gym. I still crossfit and I still think it’s the greatest exercise for me. My husband does it now, too!

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holla at yo boy

I ended up pulling away from the obsession, and have maintained a healthier weight for my body, mind, and life balance ever since. Anxiety is something I still struggle with daily, but the self awareness actualizes true coping, instead of filling and fueling it with old habits and relationships.

My point in writing this story is to show that, while I may have felt skinny and awesome in some ways, I hadn’t truly healed myself. I live a life nowwhere I am so much happier, showing my daughter that I have a little weight to me, but it comes with greater strength. She can see all that Mommy can do. I can balance now. And I hope to inspire her to adopt this motto: Strong is the new skinny. ¬†Strength, balance, ¬†SELF LOVE, and happiness have been the end goals to this journey and will continue to be. For now, when you ask me what my weight is in the above photos, I will answer this way,

” 155# deadlift for 100 reps, 75# on the barbel for the rest of the 200 reps. And guess what, I threw that damn scale out the window……..”

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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

18835945_10103938084553859_8628446883750688728_n Kristy is a married mom of 2, doula, massage therapist, and dedicated crossfitter with a passion of healing the human body and mind in Virginia.