The End of My #the100dayproject

As I went to sleep last night, I was excited.  I brought the kids to the cottage with me, and I could not wait to take the last of my 100 photos of the sky up north.  I was hoping for a gorgeous sunrise photo – the kind that I seem only to be able to capture from the rocky shores of Georgian Bay.

I was woken up by the first kid at 5:45 – the older one, anxious to see the highlights of the Jays game from the night before was up and begging to turn on the tv.  As I opened my eyes and looked out the window . . . all I saw were clouds.  I resigned myself to the idea that I would simply take a photo later in the day – maybe of a gorgeous sunset instead – and went on with my morning activities – like making coffee and breakfast for the kids.

As I was puttering around the kitchen, I looked out the window only to see my sunrise.  What had been an overcast sky had turned into one with just a few clouds and the sun miraculously rising through them.  It was gorgeous.  And with hushed instructions NOT to wake granny & granddad and to wait for me to get back, I ran out the door to try and capture my photo.

But not matter how hard I tried, I could NOT capture what I had seen out of the kitchen window.  All I got was this:

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I returned defeated yet again, and got back to assembling breakfast.

As I set the table and sat down with the kids, I looked out and down towards the Bay.  For the second time this morning, I grabbed my phone, issued hushed instruction to the kids to behave, not to move, and to WAIT till I got back, I ran down to the water, and was able to capture this:

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And once again, I was reminded that things don’t always work out the way you hope or expect them to.  And that sometimes, that’s for the best.  I didn’t get a perfect photo of the sun rising this morning.  But I did capture an image that I absolutely love.

And why is it that I love this photo so much?  Because it perfectly captures both the light and the dark.  Like some of the other photos I’ve shared, it’s a reminder (to me, anyway), there there is always light after the dark (or that there really is always a silver lining to every cloud).

But more than anything this morning, I was reminded of the concept of perspective.  Throughout this project, all I’ve had to do to capture a really interesting image, was to turn a quarter turn, walk a few extra steps, or simply try to look at the sky from a different angle.  Today, I was looking, and hoping and expecting to find my perfect photo in one direction, when all I had to do was look in the opposite direction to find it, my joy for the day.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…………….

If I’m to be really honest, I’m sad that this 100 days has come to a close.  I have genuinely looked forward to taking these sky photos every day, and while some days the quotes I used just appeared to me, other days I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few moments looking for the perfect quote to use.  I have loved taking a few moments out of every day to look up at the sky, to pause whatever it was that I was doing, and spend a little, even it was only 60 seconds, by myself.  While I’ve thought about continuing this project for another 100 days, I don’t want to spoil the magic of these past 100 days.  And so, with this I’m saying goodbye to this project and I’m off to figure out something to challenge myself with next . . .

 

 

 

Nourish

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If someone asked you how you nourish yourself, how would you answer the question?

Would your thoughts automatically turn to the food you eat?  Or would you think about the things you do for yourself, the things you love, the things that make you come alive?

As the pace of life speeds up around here in what seems like an exponential fashion, with the plethora of end-of-year plays, presentations, recitals, competitions . . . I’ve found myself saying to the Husband, “I just need an hour to myself”.  Evidently the Husband grew a little tired of my refrain and finally asked me point blank “How in a day do you not have an hour to yourself”.

And then, in that funny way the universe has of delivering exactly what you need when you need it, I came across this article, “The Busy Person’s Lies” in the New York Times.  To paraphrase wildly, turns out I, along with pretty much the rest of us, have more “free” time in a day then we think we do.  Which means, the Husband is right.  I most definitely do have an hour to myself in a day – it might not be 60 consecutive minutes, but those little bits of time here and there most definitely add up.

Which brings me back to the title of this post . . . Nourish.

For the past 42 days, I’ve been taking a picture of the sky, pairing it with a quote that appeals to me on that day, and posting it on Instagram.  I’ve been LOVING this project.  I’ve found myself slipping out of the house, often walking a block or two, or sometimes just out on to the front porch, to capture something in the sky that’s caught my attention. These little “outings” (they take less than 5 minutes usually), nourish me more than you can imagine.  And while I might spend more than a few minutes reading quotes to find the best one to go along with my photo, these are not minutes I dread . . . in fact, it is quite the opposite . . . I have loved and learned and been reminded of so much in the words that I have read.  Put differently, and much more succinctly, this little project that takes just a few minutes each day, makes me happy.  Really happy.

And when you’re happy, your likely to enjoy doing a lot of other things too – ok, household chores may still be a well, chore, but they seem to be so much more enjoyable when you’re in a good frame of mind.

Of course, when you’re in a happy state of mind and things are ticking along nicely, you might just find you’re not desperate for that glass (or 2 or 3) of wine at the end of the day.  Or you’re not raiding your cupboard for something sweet or salty or “not good for you”.  Instead you might find yourself choosing to physically nourish yourself with more nutritionally dense foods (you know, the foods that are “good” for you).  And as you eat less of the “bad” and more of the “good”, you start feeling even better . . . . lighter, happier, energized . . . and so the cycle continues.

My point in all of this is this . . . we likely all have more time in a day than we think we do. We likely all have at least 15 minutes, if not an hour (even if it’s not all in a single 60 minute stretch) do to something that nourishes us.  If we can take that small amount of time, and really appreciate the fact that we are doing whatever it is that we want to do in those minutes, we might just find ourselves a little bit happier.  And from that, over time you may find yourself making most more little changes that bring you even more happiness and nourish your body and your soul.

And on that note, I promise to no longer utter the words “I just need an hour to myself”.  Because I now know, that I don’t need an hour.  I just need a few minutes to connect with what brings me joy and to show gratitude for those few minutes and all will be right in my world.

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Gratitude

I was mid-workout at the gym today when I saw something out of the corner of my eye that struck me so deeply I needed to pause and take a moment of gratitude for where I am in life, and the fact that some days I am blessed with, and can appreciate, moments of pure unadulterated joy.

To backtrack for just a moment, I feel like I have to explain a few things here . . . I haven’t been writing much, mostly because I’ve been away.  We just got back from (another!) trip to Disney.  This trip was special though . . . this trip was a real family trip . . . my parents took my family and my brother’s family for a week in the Magic Kingdom.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  I can’t remember the last time our whole family was so happy.  I will forever remember my parents walking around the Magic Kingdom holding hands wearing ear hats.  I will never forget the Husband and my brother pushing strollers wearing ear hats around the Magic Kingdom either!

But I digress.  Five years ago, our little family of four made their first trip to Disney.  Five years ago, on that trip to Disney, I was forced to face the fact that my symptoms were not getting better, they were getting worse, and it was after getting back from that trip that I started in earnest down the path that would lead to my diagnosis, and everything else that followed.

In 2 weeks, I have my annual follow-up MRI and checkup  And after that’s done, my 5 years post-treatment will have passed, and I will officially be declared “cured” by the medical community.

I will admit that going into this trip I was thinking that the timing of it had worked out pretty perfectly … What better way to mark the end of this chapter of my life.

But looking back, this trip didn’t feel like an ending … It felt like a celebration of a new beginning.  A lot has changed in the last five years …. (I know it’s gratuitous, but I had to throw in these before and after photos – the dress my little one is wearing in the first phot was given to her by my amazing friend that she is named after, making this a very special photo for me) ….

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But most of all, I’ve changed.  I know now that things change.  All the time.  And that it’s not always good to hold on to the past or what is . . . because some really good things can come from change.  This has really been reinforced over the last few weeks as I’ve been working gone my #the100dayproject.  The sky is constantly changing, sometimes it gets cloudy, sometimes the clouds give way to clear skies, and sometimes, there is just a sea of blue sky.  Just like life, sometimes bad things happen, but the bad times do end, and give way to happier times.  And sometimes, there are nice stretches of happiness.

I also know now that I know how to take care of myself when things aren’t so good.  I  know how to properly nourish myself and my family.  I know what my, and my families’ sleep needs are.  And I know how to take care of myself and my family on an emotional level.  And so, when something that’s “not so good” happens again (we’re human, it will) I have an amazing set of tools to rely on to get me and the family through the tough times in a much better way that I ever could have before.

In my old role as a banker, I would be taking this time to sit down and plan out the next five years.  To envision where I’d like to be, what I’d like to be doing, and to think of the steps that need to get taken in order to get there.  But what these last 5 years have taught me, since none of it was planned, mapped out or premeditated,  sometimes, it’s just better to go with the flow; to do what feels best for you in your gut/heart/soul, and that as long as you come at things from a place of love, things will be ok.

And as I finish up this post, I am again faced with that deep sense of gratitude.  I am so very grateful for all that has happened since that trip 5 years ago.  And I am so very grateful for the place I find myself in today; a place of pure joy.

 

#100DaysOfLookingToTheSky & Some New Super Quick, Super Easy Recipes

 

The universe works in magical ways sometimes . . .

In my last post, I talked about how much happiness I derived from watching the sun rise with my kids each morning while I was on vacation.

Shortly after, I came across the #the100dayproject . . .

And an idea was born . . .

For the next 100 days, I’m going to take a picture of the sky.  It might be a photo of the sun rising . . . it might be of rain clouds . . . it might be of the sun setting.  From now until July 27th, I’ll be collecting these photos under #100daysoflookingtothesky.  I’m excited about this project.  Watching the sky is nothing if not life affirming.  I suppose that’s why so many phrases and sayings about the sun, the sky, the moon (the sun always rises, even the darkest night will end, the sky’s the limit . . .).  But I digress.  Like I said, I’m excited about this project and where it might lead me . . . metaphorically and physically.  And today could not have been a better morning to start the whole thing off . . . As I ran laps around our neighbourhood park early this morning, I captured the gorgeousness of the sun rising, and I have been in a happy frame of mind ever since.

And now to leave the esoteric behind and focus for a minute on the practical.  Spring is that magical time of year when activities like hockey and skating should be wrapping up with sports like soccer and baseball taking their place.  Instead, I’ve found the next few weeks will have us playing hockey, skating, AND playing soccer and baseball . . . which means, dinners in our house need to be able to get on the table quickly AND they have to be consumed quickly by everyone.

While it can be tempting to answer the call of the mac & cheese boxes that seem to scream my name from the pantry, I remain 100% committed to feeding myself, and the Husband and the kids real foods that aren’t processed and that contain minimal amounts of gluten and sugars.  So, what is it that we’re eating???  Well, last week we got home at 5 and I had 45 minutes to get my son fed and out the door . . . so I made salmon cakes with an avocado cream sauce, roasted cauliflower and steamed carrots.  In fairness, I did have 5 spare minutes in the afternoon before I had to pick the kids up from school, so I got the cauliflower chopped then so it would be ready to toss in the oven when we got home . . . but really, that only took an extra 5 minutes . . .

Baked Paleo Salmon Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

4 tins of organic salmon (I use the Raincoast Trading brand)

3 eggs

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbs coconut flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs, paprika, salt, pepper and coconut flour.
  3. Drain the excess fluid from the salmon and add it to the bowl.
  4. Mix well so that the egg and salmon is completely combined.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop, drop about 1/3c of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I make about 7 patties from this recipe.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven, flip the patties over, and bake for another 10 minutes.

While the salmon patties were cooking, I threw a cookie sheet with the chopped cauliflower (which I had tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) into the oven too.  I also used the cooking time to scoop the flesh out of one avocado.  I put it into a bowl and mashed it well with a fork.  I added a few tablespoons of our kefir and stirred it around till it was well mixed – you could use sour cream, greek yogurt, plain yogurt in place of the kefir).  And I put a pot on the stove to steam some carrots to complete the meal.

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Yes, everyone ate this meal . . . everyone enjoyed eating this meal . . . and I was one happy mom.

Best part . . . I could use one of the leftover patties for my lunch the next day, and the rest of the leftovers were frozen so we could have a SUPER quick meal at a later date . . .

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