happiness

Struttin’

This is first and foremost a happiness blog. 8.5 years ago in one of my darkest times I started looking for moments of happiness in my world. Sometimes it was really hard for me to find even one thing that made me happy in a day – often it was seeing Henry the Heron on my walks – but I made a point of continuing to seek a moment that brought me joy. Eventually my life started getting better and better. Then it got worse. Then it got better again. And so it goes with life. Up and down and sideways. But always back to happiness. My understanding of happiness has deepened and changed over the years, but at the end of the day – those things that bring a legitimate smile to my face are still moments of happiness.

Enter TikTok

Yes, I know- I’m too old for TikTok. My kids banned me from it for ages, just like they did with Snapchat. But at some point this summer TikTok found me and we have been friend ever since.

Good thing or else I wouldn’t know about 🎵corn🎵.

Even better (in my opinion) is Thumpasaurus and their song Struttin. Not only is their own video hilarious, but tons of other people are also posting their Struttin’ videos. And now every single morning the first thing I do when I get up is sit and watch a couple of Struttin’ videos and laugh and smile and then I’m ready for the day. Ok, sometimes I also watch some Corn videos, and that guy Max who spent all his money at Disney (gosh he’s funny).

Today I was able to make my own public happiness moment as Bear the Dog (who is very shy and generally stays off social media) gave me the perfect Struttin’ video. And so I have officially joined the world of TikTok as more than an observer – I am now a participant. Or I should say, Bear is.

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMNKkGAgy/

This seems to be the only way I can get the link to work – but I highly recommend watching Bear strut (you need the volume on) for a smile.

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happiness

SIBO: Inflammation

Well the good news is I’m feeling much better than I have been – both during my horrid shake drinking episode and the weeks that preceded that. Unfortunately I’m still feeling pretty crappy – but I’ll take it compared to where I’ve been

I saw my naturopath the other day to assess were we are at and figure out what to do moving ahead. His concern is that I seem to still have a lot of inflammation. I agree- I can feel it throughout my body. And I’m so, so, so tired from all of this.

The inflammation part I am kind of curious about. I think I’ve had inflammation in my body for years- decades. And on a side note, I think I’ve had some pretty intense food intolerances that have periodically created inflammation as well as other things since I was a little kid. But I’ve had a few weird inflammation flare-ups in the last 20 years or so. After I had the boy my tailbone became so sore I couldn’t sit for 2.5 years. It was awful – I sought help everywhere you could think of and had some pretty amazing professionals on my side. But I couldn’t seem to get the pain to go away, until finally it did and I immediately got pregnant with the girl (no tailbone pain with her fortunately). Years later I had plantar fasciitis for almost 2 years – that was awful as I could barely walk. I worked for a long time with my chiropractor and eventually it went away too. Not too long after that, I developed a frozen shoulder and could barely move that arm for almost a year. But then I left my marriage and so many of those issues went away. I figured it was extreme stress that brought on many of my physical issues.

I still think a lot of this is brought on by stress. Life (thank Goodness) has been a lot more quiet the last couple of years, but I’m still processing and recovering from the shitstorm that we walked through and apparently that is also what my body is doing. I’m learning how to have a better relationship with myself, learning kindness, learning to rest (as opposed to sitting and stressing and calling that rest), and deepening my relationship with the Divine.

Whatever this is that I’m going through I feel like I’ll be a happier and much more complete human when I reach the other side- but damn this has been a long journey. I’m really grateful for all the people I’ve got in my life who share their love and support. I haven’t talked recently about my “tribe”, but I continue to feel very blessed and thankful for the people who God has put in my life.

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happiness

SIBO: ElementALL Diet day 7

It’s been a week since I’ve had food I could chew. Or felt full. And I’m very whiny about that.

One thing I’ve realized throughout this process is that I’ve never been really, truly hungry for a prolonged period of time – and that is a privilege that I have totally taken for granted. Even now when I constantly feel so hungry, I’m not really – my nutritional requirements are being met.

Back in the days when I was teaching there were 2 schools I worked at that provided meals for the students and often those meals were the only times those kids ate. Which of course means that holidays and weekends were extra rough on these young souls. I always felt for them, and was so grateful that they were at schools where they were being fed, but I don’t think I really understood how awful it must have been for them having nothing to eat. And honestly, I am aware that even now I don’t have a real understanding of what it must be like for one of these kids because like I said although I’m hungry my nutritional needs are being met. And also I’m fortunate enough that I am getting professional help to deal with this – how many people are living a life where they can barely function because helping with these kinds of illnesses isn’t covered through regular medical care? I’m ashamed to admit I had very little understanding of things I would have lumped into the larger term of IBS. This isn’t just an upset stomach or feeling kind of crappy. It affects my mental health, my ability to digest food, my joints and general pains in the body, brain fog, and so much more. Quite literally it stops me from being able to do the things I want to do, things I need to do. It feels like I’m debilitated by the equivalent of a paper cut – but it’s so much more than that.

I’m still having my existential crisis. Although it now comes with a side order of grief, which makes sense since I’ve stuffed down so much of my grief to “deal with it later” – which I suppose is now. I have stayed committed to staying off social media while I go through this aside from posting on my blog. But yesterday when I opened my ipad I saw a notification from this dog I follow on Facebook. Poor Bradley Bear (BB) is a Pyrenees/beagle cross and is just the cutest little guy. On Friday his 18 year old cat sibling crossed the rainbow bridge and poor BB had been quite distraught. So when I saw the notification I figured I’d just go on fb to see how poor BB was doing. Not well it seems. He had a rough couple of days and on Monday they took him to the vet to find out that his kidneys were in total failure and they made the decision to put him to sleep yesterday.

I spent the whole day crying for this dog. Which kind of shows you where I am at emotionally. So this morning I once again cheated and looked on FB to see how the poor owners were doing. What I discovered was that when they went to go to the vet for his rainbow bridge appointment he was doing so much better – so he’s home on hospice care and being loved for a few more days. You just never know what is around the corner.

I don’t know why I’m sharing BB’s story but it really affected me – and made me realize how much of my own grief I’m holding in and probably need to deal with.

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SIBO: ElementALL diet day 5

Well, I’m still doing it. Still feeling like crap, but still doing it. I keep thinking “this is the die-off phase and it won’t last long”, but it is still going on. Today has more sibo-like feelings in that I’m quite achy and joints are a bit sore. But I know there’s no way I’m eating anything that is activating sibo so it must be die off.

Although I feel like I’m starving to death I’ve actually gained 3 pounds. Because.. of course I would. So that’s great. I’ve lost about 30 lbs though since I’ve been working at this so I suppose in the bigger picture it’s not the end of the world. It seems as though sibo either causes massive weight loss or weight gain – and my body has always responded like a 17th century peasant heading into a famine: “Oh I must preserve every ounce of fat I have to survive what is coming ahead”.

I have also entered into some kind of existential crisis. Who am I? how do I fit into the world? What is the meaning of life? Who is God? What is the Universe? A lot of these are questions I often ask, but they feel different right now and the answers I’m coming up with are significantly different. A Course In Miracles talks a lot about the willingness to see things differently, and the further I go on this journey the more I understand that phrase. Just when I think I kind of understand things, something inside shifts and once again I see things differently.

My current existential crisis is asking for quiet to absorb and sort things out, so I’ve stepped away from social media (I’ll post this but I’m choosing not to look at or scroll through my social media) so that I can have some quiet time for my brain. I have to say, it’s nice having my phone off and not getting constant notifications about every little thing. Of course that needs to be balanced with some social interaction because we need each other. I keep thinking of Thoreau and his quiet time at Walden Pond – not totally isolated, but living in seclusion – and also his famous quote about leading lives of quiet desperation.

I think about this quote a lot. And I think it is as true now as it was in the 1840s – at least for me. Maybe even it’s this quiet desperation that led me to be sick. For sure it was the anxiety and trauma that surrounded it. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

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happiness

Sibo: ElementALL diet day 3

I had no idea it was possible to be so damn hungry and so repulsed/scared of food at the same time.

After I drink my lunch today I will have completed 3 full days of the ElementALL diet and have 10 more to go. I have to say at this point that the 10 days is stretching out in front of me like eternity.

The bad: I am soooo hungry. I’m getting enough calories, and I’m getting proper nutrition, but I’m so so so hungry. The shakes still taste like unsalted horse sweat after said horse went swimming in a stagnant swamp. I’m also hungry. I am in a committed relationship with the bathroom at this point. I get quite hungry. Still quite bloated. And finally, the hunger.

The good: this is the third night I’ve slept straight through. I’ve struggled so much with my sleep over the years and being able to close my eyes and not open them until it’s time to get up is something I had kind of accepted wasn’t in the cards for me. A lot of my sibo symptoms have lessened. I have a bit more anxiety today, but in general my anxiety is so much less than it was a few days ago when I was in active flare up. Same is true for depression and intrusive thoughts. My joints barely ache anymore. My headache is almost gone.

No matter how bad I feel right now or how I’m complaining, it’s nowhere near as bad as I felt a week ago. And a week ago I didn’t feel nearly as crappy as I did earlier this year before I started working with my naturopath.

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happiness

SIBO: Relapse? Never resolved? Frustrated

Things are not going well in SIBO land for me right now. It’s been at least a couple of weeks of pretty extreme discomfort (achy joints, headache, brain fog, anxiety, not sleeping etc) and I’ve finally decided that perhaps we never got rid of the sibo and with me introducing new foods it’s flared up again.

Now, by new foods I don’t mean things like chocolate cake (sob), or even things like potatoes or grains. It was things like Swiss chard, eggplant, asparagus, and olive oil – all things cleared with or suggested by my naturopath. I kind of blame the olive oil even though it’s supposed to be good for sibo but at this point I have nothing besides a hunch. I was doing well when I was using avocado oil, but when I ran out a month ago I switched to olive oil and it’s been a steady decline since. But there could be other reasons.

Of course it’s not just a weekend but a long weekend so I have to wait for my appointment with my naturopath until Wednesday. But yesterday I kind of snapped and decided to help myself because the pressure building inside me was becoming too much to take. By pressure I mean that it feels like I’m being wired with very uncomfortable electricity that just vibrates through my body giving me a headache and feeling of pressure that makes me feel like I’ll explode. And I’m sharing this in case there are other people out there suffering who have no idea what is going on or feel like they’re alone. Although I would never wish this on anyone, so I kind of hope I’m all alone with it.

I went to our local drug store – Two Pharmacy in Cochrane- and picked up some liver support, berberine, and oil of oregano, all of which I had been on before during the kill off phase. I bought a different oregano oil though and I think I’ll wait on that until I see my dr. So far there’s a lot less pressure but I still feel like crap. I’ve cut out everything besides hamburger meat, because I know meat doesn’t feed the sibo. And while i’m grateful for the cows that are healing me, damn I miss vegetables. But I have a lot of gratitude for those cows, they are healing my insides not to mention that my house and my life here was literally built because of cows, and I am eternally thankful for what they are doing for me. The fact that their lives were given to improve my health is not forgotten and I am constantly in a state of gratitude for that.

So I go Wednesday and find out whether or not becoming my own doctor over the weekend was a good idea. I don’t know what else to do- it’s not like you can go into urgent care and say that you feel like you’re dying because of sibo because it doesn’t show up on regular tests. But damn, it does kind of feel like you’re dying. And that’s not me being dramatic, it’s bloody awful. I can’t believe I ever used to just cram food in my mouth and not worry that it was going to debilitate me.

But this will eventually be resolved and I’ll feel like I’m back on track with my healing journey. Actually even though I feel like crap I still know I’m on my healing journey. I’ve come so far, and so much of this is just using intuition and stepping back and allowing God to be present (that and a lot of crying and trying to bargain with God for my health – but those aren’t probably as helpful as the first two).

Blessings

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Dad’s Flowers: The Crocus

When I was a little girl, Dad used to take me and my sister out looking at the plethora of wildflowers that surrounded us here on the ranch. I never would have imagined that most of them would have disappeared in recent years, and this makes me appreciate the beauty and the bounty we enjoyed back in the day. Dad knew all of the names of all of the flowers, and he usually knew a little story to go along with them too. It wasn’t until I was much older that I appreciated how much work he put into his wildflower knowledge. Even if he’d known all of the flowers that surrounded him growing up in northern Ontario (and i think he did know most of them), he still had to learn all of Alberta’s wildflowers. This kind of became his thing, and after years of showing the flowers to me and my sister, he took friends on walks in Kananaskis, learned to photograph the flowers with an amazing talent, and later on took his grandkids on flower walks – each kid with the same wildflower book we had as kids, with spots in the book to write where each flower was spotted.

Dad put together a wildflower book for us, complete with his own photographs and the stories that he wanted us to know that go along with them. I remember when Dad was in the hospital, near the end, and I’d either take in old photo albums, or these flower books and go through them with him, sharing memories or often him just listening to me read. I had to put them away after he died because it was so painful – but I rediscovered them and thought it would be fun to share!

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Old pictures, old friends, old houses

A few years ago a dear old friend of mine (in years not age haha) gifted me a picture she’d found of the “old house” here. The “old house” is the one by the barn that my great grandparents built, and the house that we moved into when we returned home.

It’s cool because not only does this picture look exactly like the “old house”, it actually IS the old house.

I wasn’t sure where to hang it and have tried a few different spots in different rooms. Then today I was looking at the Braeside house where my Grandpa Ramsay lived (you may remember the story my Grandpa Ramsay told, you can find it Here) and realized that these two pictures belong together.

The house where my great-grandparents Copithorne lived, where my grandpa was raised, and the house where my grandpa, and great grandma Ramsay lived with my great-great grandparents in Ontario. And they should be hanging here in the house my grandparents built – our home.

I feel so much gratitude towards this friend who found this picture for me, made a special trip to meet me to give it to me, and who generally has just been a great person to have in my life. We met 21 years ago when we were expecting our now adult sons and have stayed in touch throughout the years.

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