Blog Archives

Mama Bear Love

I’m continually stunned and saddened by the state of the health of our children and the overall lack of concern by the population. The rates of autism increase daily, not to mention Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and a whole mess of other similar neuro illness with names like ODD, OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, etc.  Our kids get sicker and sicker.

I can’t believe how many people that have not yet been touched by autism (or any of the other Neuro conditions), cannot muster compassion for those that do. The only explanation is that it is so terrifying, people can’t bring themselves to contemplate the reality of what that looks like.  What it feels like.

The growing population of educated moms learning to help their kids is awe inspiring. But they cannot do it alone. We have to help each other, sharing what works, sharing grace, acceptance and non-judgement when we experience these wild little creatures in our world.

If you run into a “naughty” kid in a public place, or a child trick or treating without a costume, please remind yourself not to judge. These parents and kids are dealing with more than most people could ever imagine and sometimes just surviving another day is all they can hope for.

Their nervous systems are on overload, neurotransmitters are out of balance, and many are sickened by regular day to day activities.

Whether these disorders affect you now or not, they likely soon will. With the increasing vaccine schedule, toxins in self care products (shampoo, soaps, lotion, toothpaste) gmo’s in our food supply and artificial colors that have been proven to be neurotoxins, fluoride in the water, and lack of sunlight and fresh air – these kids are all jumbled up.

SO please, have grace, send love, give encouragement if you see a stressed mom who’s child is melting down in Target. Read ingredient lists. Learn what is in your food, your water. Become educated about the world we live in and support others doing the same.  Take time to learn about initiatives such as GMO labeling, and reducing the toxins in your home.

Because it does matter.

These are our people. This is our planet. And we’re screwing it all up under the guise “that’s someone else’s problem”.

We work our jobs, take care of our kids, go to college, do homework, all the things that society says we must do. But we missed all the important stuff. We missed empathy. We missed personal responsibility. We forget to care about what we eat and trust a mess of politicians to do it for us. We must learn to care about our world and our people – all of it.

So please, the next time you think to yourself “that kid needs a good swat” or “that mother is doing a terrible job” consider to yourself that perhaps that mother is trying desperately to heal her child. Maybe she hasn’t slept in weeks. Maybe the child hasn’t either. Maybe someone gave her sensitive child a sucker filled with artificial coloring and high fructose corn syrup without her consent (happens all the time at banks and grocery stores) and the child is having a hard time processing. Maybe what they both need more than anything is understanding. Compassion. Respect.

Perhaps that Momma Bear is a warrior, studying late into the night, getting her very own personal online medical education with no goal other than to save her children and the children all around her.

Create your Sunshine Life – by sharing the Sunshine with someone who really needs it.

change theworld

 

Yoga and Superheroes

aH homeschooling. Wowzers. Talk about brining your “A” game every day. Being your best, your brightest, your most tuned in. Let’s face it, in the corporate world there are days you can skate (particularly higher up the ladder). If you’re not feeling well, or hungover, or fighting some personal demon you can close your door and work at 50% capacity for an hour, or a day…

But homeschooling? Oh, these wee ones don’t take any crap.  There are ON from the moment they wake. And if I’m not filling them up with a project or an idea or a book, they get listless and bored…and the fighting… it’s amazing how two little people can find so much to fight about!!

I find myself wishing, how do I teach them to meditate? I mean, they aren’t the type to sit quietly and watch mommy and try it themselves.  So what can I do?

Yoga. Boom. Rockstar moment.

But how will I get them to stand still and pay attention and enjoy it??


Bookmark this! The kids LOVED it. Two days in a row. This morning they requested morning yoga. It’s the perfect length to get some morning energy out of them and get them out of a fog.  The lady is beautifully silly and brilliant.  Afterwards we made waffles and they were clearer, more interested in projects, less wiggly.

If only this old body would let me participate!! How I’m dying to stretch with them.

Now, on to Super Heroes. With a 5 year old boy in the house, our life has a lot of superheroes in it. So we are all going as a superhero family for Halloween. Great fun and a wonderful way to introduce sewing (and bedazzling) to keep those little minds and fingers busy! Project for today: Logos to go on our marvelous capes!  Yesterday we went to the craft store and picked out the gaudiest, sparkliest felt we could find!

I’ll do my best to remember to take pictures. It’s not a strong point.

While I was making waffles I was thinking about superheroes. That as adults we can get a bit addicted to superhero complex and start being complacent in our life, waiting, searching, looking for someone else to save us.  A new Neurosurgeon with an answer. A test result in black and white to give us the answer to aches and pains. A lottery ticket in an old forgotten purse that is the winning jackpot. Someone, somewhere, save me.  We all have our trials, our pain, our desperate moments. I have found myself lately praying for … someone… something … to just ease the pain. To just make it all better.  I doubt I’m completely alone.

And it struck me, I’m wasting all this time praying and asking for the wrong thing. To the wrong person.

When I was young, I was so successful. I had no college degree. I was a young twenty-something, climbing the corporate ladder. and I never once prayed for “someone” to help me. I knew with every cell in my body that I could do it. That I could make magic. That I could change the world.  Despite that EVERY single PERSON told me it was impossible without a degree. It wasn’t. I was Unstoppable.  I can’t tell you exactly when I was too exhausted to believe in myself anymore with such fervor and passion.

So, from now on – deep breath – I pray to the Divine, God, ArchAngels, and the Ascended Masters when I need help or love or direction. I trust myself to receive the messages and take the steps.  I have faith that I can do it, I will have all the help I need, and I will STOP second guessing these precious messages when they come.

We are going to be our own Super Heroes around here. I daresay that the absence of desperation, hopelessness, and sorrow (which isn’t abundant, but it does sneak through a crack on occasion) will start to create a magical space. And the best part is, it doesn’t matter I I’m right or I’m wrong. Love, Hope, and Faith are always a good option.

Create your Sunshine Life. Be your own Super Hero. If only for today. Look to no one else to create your magic for you. Believe in your divine ability to move mountains and change the world. ~what could it possibly hurt?

Muah.

sing

Perspective and Gratitude, a year later…

One year ago today, I was in a car accident. For the last 365 days my husband has tirelessly supported us in so many ways.

Gratitude Quote

He has physically held me up during the never ending dizzy spells, held my hand during a hundred appointments, and paced waiting rooms during a dozen procedures. He managed all of the little yellow bottles (and their side effects) and been my memory, my balance, my reminder of hope.

He has played several thousand games of “I Spy” and “who am I” with our kids, learned to cook gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, preservative free, and managed balancing all of the nutritional needs of our household.  At the end of a long day, he summons the energy for a walk to the park and adventure hike with the kids.  For a solid year he has done all of the laundry, cleaned the house, paid the bills, mopped the floors, bought the groceries, while I laid in bed unable to help in any manner.

He does this while working a full time job, and spending many, many nights awake supporting our insomniac and nightmare ridden children.

Even as we think that my body is healing, I’m hit with sudden and overwhelming recurrence of symptoms which makes me bitter and angry and frustrated.  But somehow deep down this amazing man finds patience and grace, even knowing this triples his workload, he has never resented it.

Thank you my love. Thank you.  This too shall pass. Nothing is permanent.  The beach is calling…20140101_134535

Falling in Love with Abundance

Today, has been a particularly hard day. I don’t think we’ve had more than 4 hours of sleep a night since the Super Moon started messing with us. Our kids are so sensitive to the moon. Any big moon is sure to send us out of control for a day or two, but this one really left it’s mark!  And to add insult to injury, my son was up vomiting all night, so we really, REALLY have not had sleep in days.  I still cannot sit up or stand for more than about 3 hours without pain, and sometimes, I feel like there is just not a single drop left in my tank. I wonder how I can possible take any more?

Gratitude and joy

(I felt like kicking this guy in the teeth because

whoever said this never had a spinal fluid leak or a modified diet

or hypersensitive kiddos… I digress…)

I ran to Costco this afternoon, and when I got home I reached under the sink to grab something and saw a brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Amazing how the smallest signals can send you into a memory, isn’t it? Peroxide made me think of my home, and growing up, and the magic brown bottle bubbling on a recently grazed and bloodied knee. And I smiled at my life.

I felt overwhelming and intense gratitude that I’m a mom with hydrogen peroxide under my sink. That I was cleaning out my fridge so I could place a big fresh shopping trip filled with meats and vegetables.  I was grateful to be able to stand up long enough to do it myself. I think it’s the first time in a year I’ve been able to stand long enough to shop and put my own groceries away. Actually, I know it is.

For a moment I was washed over with gratitude for my life, exactly as it is. Pain, mess, sleepless nights. I felt glad it’s exactly as it is, to be dancing in my kitchen alone while my wonderful husband has the kids out for a bike ride before bedtime. I stopped wishing and wanting and pining for the life that I used to have, or I used to think I had, or I used to think I wanted… and I just fell head over heels in love with exactly where we are right now.

Gratitude

I felt like my chest would split open with joy.  And of course, when they came home there were the tears and drama of bike crashes and brushing teeth, but I took it in stride. This is my life, every dirty little corner, and I do kind of love it. Exactly as we are.

Of course, I keep my gratitude/manifesting journal close and have plenty of conversations with the Universe about the humble changes (sleep, standing, eating a variety of food mostly) I’d love to see in the near future. But for now, in the midst of chaos, I love it here.

xoxo

Clover Sunshine

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Time Warner Angel

After much debate, prayer, tears, anxiety, and hope… I have decided to … HOMESCHOOL.

What?

worry

I totally know. Only crazy people with TONS of energy and a the patience of a real life saint choose to homeschool. I’m mediocre in the patience department not to mention I currently lack full physical and mental capabilities. So why, oh why, would I choose to do that… NOW of all times?

A combination of reasons really, but probably not what you’d think.  We had to let go of Montessori, basically as we just can’t afford private school while I’m not working, and to be quite honest it didn’t really work for my son although it was a blessing for our daughter.  Anyway,  I was resigned to public school. I researched our local school (which ranks really well in test scores – by the way). Again and again we were told that this is a really good school, we’ll be happy here.

So we went to the “new family intro night”. It was held in the school cafeteria, kind of what you’d expect, fold out picnic tables, commercial grade tile, principal and top staffers there to talk and meet the families. A couple of things struck me. 

#1. This was really, painfully boring.  The lackluster powerpoint presentation, and monotone speeches made ME feel restless and it had only been 40 minutes. 

#2 – there was no natural light. Where were the windows? And when will it be over? 

#3 School starts at 7:30am. WHA?

#4 The principal asked the kinds if they like Whattaburger and Chic-Fil-A? They screamed yes (except for my kids which looked at me with total confusion) He proceeded to tell us that we’d LOVE the school lunch program! (folks you couldn’t make this stuff up…) 

#5 They had asked us to bring the children to orientation but only two coloring sheets and about 4 crayons per table suggested perhaps these people were not familiar with entertaining children for an hour?   The kids in the audience began to get louder and louder and energy levels started to peak.  A glance around the room showed children were starting to vibrate.

Finally, blissfully, it was over and time for the tour of the school. The kids were beyond excited to see a new school and their very own classrooms.  Montessori only had 4 rooms in the whole school and this was a complete K – 6 school !  As we began to walk the halls I felt a tightening in the back of my jaw and throat. Like the one you get when you walk by the stack of tires at Costco… chemicals.  Oh well, it will be ok. Then we enter the Kindergarten room and my heart fell. Where were the bright colors? The happy room? WHERE OH WHERE was the natural light? A room for 20 kindergartners yet it was filled with a half dozen computer monitors and dark chairs on dark carpet (yes carpet), and dark lockers in the corner.  The fluorescent lights flickered above. There was no joy in this room. No light. No plants. No color.  How could I get excited about this? How could I ask my 5 year old to spend 7 hours a day in this tiny dark room?

Exploring my daughters 2nd Grade class showed no improvement.  Each class was carpeted and had only one tiny window. Everything in the class was dark – navy or black. Why do the fluorescent lights flicker so? I mean – have you people see One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest? I mean, seriously. Have you?

By the time we got to the gym (also carpeted , also without windows) and the playground (wood chips in a parking lot- no grass or dirt) I started to realize this wouldn’t work for us.  It isn’t about religion, or test scores, or socialization. It’s about Environment. Do you know how depressed I felt after 2 hours?  I don’t care if you taught my kid to be a quantum physicist (which is really quite cool) I wouldn’t ask anyone I know to spend 7 hours a day without color or sunlight. Not to mention starting lecture at 7:30am in a small dark room.  My gosh, if that were my job I’d be miserable. And grumpy.  And my kids are EXTREMELY sensitive to environment, electronics, chemicals, sunlight.

So now what?  Um. I’m learning. I’m reading books and blogs on Montessori at home, Unschooling, and child led learning.  I’m also working on structure, plans, and strategy. I’m overwhelmed but powering forward. (by the way, I do know proper English writing style but I prefer blogging as I speak so please refrain from any grammar lessons – I’m too fragile to take it with grace!)

There are many, many public teachers in my family and my life. One of my best friends is an amazing teacher at a public school. I have the utmost respect for these people and I don’t judge the system or  kids in the system. I just don’t feel like it’s the best solution for us. But will I be good enough? Will I do good enough? Oh, the doubt that bubbles to the surface.  In fact, I haven’t even told  most of the people I know because I worry.. they’ll judge me. I worry they’ll ask a question that I can’t answer.

But really, my kids are 5 and 7.  And I’m pretty smart. And I know what they need, what they are interested in, and how to keep them engaged.  I know I’m doing the right thing. I do.  I just caught myself worrying what “everyone” will think.

And then an angel came to my door today. Dressed as the Time Warner repair guy. Our internet has been blinking in and out for weeks so they finally sent the big guy to check out the source. He showed up while we were working on making cards at the kitchen table, and eating lunch. My house was not clean. There were flip flops flung and legos on nearly every surface. The pillows of the couch constructed into a fort for Transformers and Legos to fight off the intrusion of teddy bears.  My skin glowed warm with embarrassment as I led this stranger into our home.  The shame only grew stronger as we walked outside into the yard and found random undies that had been discarded in a flower bush after a sprinkler session one hot afternoon and I could see that the leaves must be raked and the grass around the edges had grown long. 

We went back into the house and the kids were wild and excited to show off for a stranger. Jumping on couches and distracted from the project. I kept trying to redirect them, break up the fist fights before blood was drawn, put back on task of addressing an envelope, reminding them to clean up their mess. Between my shame of a messy house and my exhaustion trying to keep the kids on point and have a meaningful conversation with a stranger (not to mention I realized I hadn’t laid down in a couple of hours and my head was starting to spin) I was kind of a wreck.

Finally, the blessed internet was fixed and I could go back to homeschool focus. I had broken out in a sweat and stood defeated in my messy living room as the Time Warner man shook my hand and told me to have a nice week.  As he walked out the door he turned out, looked me the in the eye and said “I really appreciate the way you are raising your children.  I see a lot of people with their kids, friends, family, and work and you’re doing an amazing job.” Of COURSE, me being me, my eyes welled with tears.  I stood 5 feet from this stranger who had just spent the last hour witnessing my messy house and wild kids and he left me with a compliment.

His words ring over and over in my mind. I’m doing an amazing job. Amazing? Really?

Well thank you Universe. I needed that today.  I really, really, really needed that.

 

Create your Sunshine Life – follow your intuition when it tells you to compliment someone. Don’t hold back. Give the love. You have no idea what it could do to someone’s day… or week… or life.

power of a smile

Be the light, find the magic

Sooooooo, I’m nearly at the 11 month mark since the car accident. 11 months. I’ve spent the 36th year of my life on bedrest, and in hospitals, and in indescribable pain. Wow, what a journey.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons, OK that’s the understatement of the century. Each day is hard. It’s hard to wake up with a planet splitting headache and nausea, and god help me, please not the spins.  But it’s a daily reminder to Dig Deep. Deeper. Find the strength. It’s there.

The thing about chronic illness (a word I despise) or pain or whatever terminology you choose… is that there is NO SPACE for self pity. None. Every morning there is a choice, it’s called “deal with it” or “cry” and so help me, when the crying starts….it’s hard to stop.

And there are some things that I think you can only learn when you’re digging deep. Because you (from a favorite Jerry Maguire quote) “Are Incapable of Dealing with Bullshit”.

Some of my most treasured lessons from my 36th year:

1. Whatever you think you absolutely “HAVE TO DO” you “cannot miss” they “cannot do it without you” – you’re wrong. You don’t. You can. They can. Truth. (Ahem mother’s out there, slow down and read it again).   The world WILL keep spinning without you. Life will go on. There is absolutely NOTHING that cannot wait.  Imagine if you will all those things that are deal breakers, that you must do for the world to keep spinning – then getting in a car accident and being stuck in bed for oh… nearly a year. Guess what? Everyone lived through it.

WorldKeepsSpinning

2. Slow Down. Like a snails pace, then slow down some more. I’m built with one speed, Fast. Multi-tasker extraordinaire. Over achiever. Always racing to the finish line. Drive fast. Cook fast. Clean fast. Shop Fast. It might be genetic.. because I’m SLOW compared to my mom!  I’ve been rushing through everything and never knew it.  Nothing slows you down like bedrest. It’s like a freakin anchor. So now I walk slowly with my 5 year old and we look at leaves and cracks in the sidewalk and bugs, without the nagging sense of hurry.  When I shop, I move slowly and enjoy the experience. When my kids talk – I stop multi tasking and I Listen. I really listen to who they are and what they think. I don’t know that I ever really did that before. Not really, with the slowness it deserves.

slowdown

3. Don’t judge. Anyone. Ever. For anything. It’s not your place. You have NO idea what they are going through. I have a whole post I can dedicate to this. But for now, trust me. When you leave your house, or get a phone call, or see something and you think “wow” and that little voice starts to judge. Just slap it. Send love to the person, double time, and a little to yourself as well.

magicloving

4. Make time to meditate, pray, and journal.  If you don’t have time, like really seriously don’t have time, then you need it most. Make it a priority as if it’s your life on the line (because it is).  I believed in the power of prayer and the goodness of meditation and even thought it was a good idea to journal. But I never actually consistently DID IT. I never made time, I just thought about it and thought that was enough. IT’S NOT.  Make 15 minutes a day for morning prayer, meditation, reflection and at least 10 minutes at bedtime. Conscious time, not lying in bed as you fall asleep. It will change your life. I promise. Feeling short of patience? Irritable? Pain? Anxiety? Isn’t it worth 20 minutes a day to try, rather than calling your doc for a prescription? Or worse, just living with it?

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5. Be the Light. Find the Magic.  Whatever you are going through, there is always someone going through more, dealing with “worse”. When you are teetering on self pity, just remember to be the light instead. Your light may shine for someone else who needs it, and that itself may give you the power to be strong.  By being the light, you also start to find the magic. And it will pop up in unexpected places if you are moving slow enough to see it.  The world is filled with love and hope and magic, but most of us are too busy rushing off to Target or judging what someone else is doing to notice.  Stop reading the tragedies and gore on the news. Take a 21 day sabbatical. Fill your world with positive affirmations, love, peace and hope. Fill your Facebook feed with people who inspire you, HIDE those with the drama.  And start looking, magic will pop up in the greatest places.

magicmoments

Create your Sunshine Life, without a year of bedrest. Slow Down. Be the Light. It’s the biggest reward you may ever give yourself.  xoxo

 

~clover

Farewell Love Letter

It’s been awhile… Today I drive to Houston (in the hatchback so I can lay flat) so tomorrow I can fly to Durham, NC.  Friday will be my much anticipated visit with Dr. Grey at Duke Medical Center.

This is my affirmation for the trip. Traveling alone. Trusting in the helpfulness of strangers along the way.  Putting complete faith in the universe to get me there and get me healed. When I get scared, or feel alone, this is my mantra:

 

she is brave

 

It’s funny, when you can’t really stand up or move your body, exercise, or think clearly for 9 months – something shifts. A deep shift, way down in the marrow of your being. I’ve always prided myself on being fast moving and quick witted. I was the fastest, most efficient, waitress, college student, marketing exec, and mother. In fast, I was so quick and so efficient getting to the next step that I never in my life slowed down to really BE where I am right now.

adventurequote

Well I got hit by the freight train of all Universal Freight Trains. How about a condition to slow you down, mentally and physically? These are just some of the important lessons in gratitude I’ve learned.  In preparation for healing, I have been putting together a list of the things that a CSF leak has made me grateful for that I never knew I was.  This is my gratitude and farewell love note to my spinal fluid leak….

1. I love the feeling of warm water on my hands as I wash them. It’s really a lovely experience. Slowing down to appreciate the sensory experiences of my day. Particularly those that are most subtle.  The soft slipperiness of soap on my hands, the gentle aroma of soap.

2. I cherish the feeling of a clean body after I get out of the shower. When every vertical moment counts, the option of taking a shower is weighed equally against sitting up while eating, hugging my kids, going to the bathroom (kind of an important one) and the amount of pain I’m willing to experience. That said. I don’t shower a lot. It just doesn’t rank high in the cost/benefit ratio. But when I do – OH – clean hair. Clean skin. The feeling of gentle detox after my skin has a good salt scrub. Heaven.

3. Having the physical ability to snuggle, read, and tuck my kids in. I won’t lie. Before this, the end of the day was rushed. Hurried. As everything else in life. My overall emotion (though not expressed) was “hurry up and go to sleep already I have a long list of things to do yet”. Now, I weigh if I’m physically capable of walking down the hall to their room, sitting slightly propped up reading and snuggling. And the days that I get there – are truly beautiful, precious, and cherished by all of us.

4. Clarity of mind. I can’t remember when I last slowed down, meditated, quieted my mind, and reveled in the silence. Moving slowly. Removing the clutter of thought. Taking time to just be still and quiet. Feel the gentle breeze on my face, listen to the birds, and reward myself a few precious minutes away from the eternal “to do list”.

5. Listening. It’s amazing how much more you hear, see, and feel from others when you slow down and listen. Subtle shifts in energy, love, the needs of those around us. It’s like a whole world, the energy between people. But you have to stop. Slow down. Take a breath. Take another. Close your eyes. And listen. (much easier when there isn’t a lot of activity up there!)

6. Caring more about taking care of myself and less about what people think. Challenge. How much does what other people think affect your day? Be honest. Now, could you pull out a yoga mat and lay for 20 minutes at the park? on a crowded sidewalk? What about an airport? Could you strike up a conversation with a stranger and two sentences in say “excuse me, I need to lay down while we finish this conversation?” and lay down. Right there. Wherever you are. Without a yoga mat. Because you simply must. It’s confronting – but extremely freeing as well. Getting over what people think so you can get on with what you need to do in your life, is an incredible super power. Try it. Especially someplace random and public where you’ll never see the people again. I dare you.

Create your Sunshine Life.  I’m grateful for the rich experiences that have given me new perspective.  I encourage you to try slowing down for 1 whole day. Wash your hands mindfully, read a book, lay on your back in a public place and look at the clouds. This is the good stuff. And it has absolutely nothing to do with anything that we think is important.  Besides, it’s MUCH easier to just learn the lessons yourself than receive the Master Lesson from the Universe in a rather unpleasant way. I’m all for one-upping the Creator!

It’s going to be a long trip, but what else do we have to do?

be brave

~Clover Sunshine

Incredible, Easy and Powerful Granola

I’m finally able to start cooking a bit again! Yay. I love cooking.

I haven’t made Granola in awhile. If you haven’t either, now is the time to start! It is easy, cheap, kid friendly and a great way to sneak in all of those “great” ingredients that are challenging to get in otherwise. You can create a healthy, brain building, protein packed snack. Especially for those of us with special needs or highly picky children (or spouses…), this is a win/win.

Here’s what I did, but the beautiful thing about Granola is that you can’t really ruin it. Change it up, make it your own.

Ingredients: (organic goes without saying… )
Dry:
4 cups organic rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup (give or take) of toasted almond slivers and pecan pieces
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (the big ones is what we prefer)
2 TBSP Hemp Seeds
2 TBSP Chia Seeds
1 (or two) generous handful of toasted pumpkin seeds

Add at the end:
1/3 cup Dried Papaya mini pieces
1/4 cup dried bananas

Wet:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup good raw organic honey
1/3 cup REAL maple syrup
1 tsp real vanilla flavoring (or whatever you prefer)

Preheat oven to 275.

Mix all of the top Dry Ingredients in a large bowl. Put the coconut oil, honey and maple syrup in a pan and gentle heat so it mixes and is pourable. After removing from heat add the Vanilla Flavoring and stir well.

Pour your wet/sweet mix over the big bowl of oats. Keep stirring until it’s all kind of moist.

Place parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet (it will take two). Pour granola onto cookie sheet in a thin layer. Bake 8-10 minutes, stirring half way through. Watch it like a hawk – nothing makes you sadder than burnt granola. 😦

When it’s done, remove from oven and let it cool COMPLETELY. After it is cooled, mix in your dried fruits and store in an airtight container. Enjoy for breakfast with a little Hemp milk or as a dry snack for after school!
Best granola recipe
Now the really good stuff:

almonds – Great source of protein, Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Selenium. Helps blood sugar and brain health!
pecans– Protein, Vitamin E (protects cell damage in the brain), High in Antioxidents and fiber.
Hemp Seeds – These are arguably one of the most complete sources of nutrition. Balanced protein and more omegas than Flax. This is a brain super food. Don’t skip this easy way to incorporate it into your diet. Plus they are nutty little goodness that your kids will probably never see!
Chia Seeds – are known as an energy booster AND a sleep aid. Double win. High in protein, omegas, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. They have 8 times the Omegas as salmon (and easier to consume if you ask me…) read = brain health.
pumpkin seeds – Get this! Pumpkin seeds are great for prostate health and bladder function. They are also proven to assist with DEPRESSION and are a natural anti-inflammatory. They are an alkaline forming seed and are used in many cultures as treatment/prevention for parasites.
Papaya – high in Vit A, C and folate but most notably a miracle help for digestion. Got heartburn? Digestion issues? Increase papaya! It’s also an anti-inflammatory a great for skin and hair health!
bananas – Help with brain power, potassium, bowel health, energy and DEPRESSION.
coconut oil– I need a whole blog post dedicated to coconut oil. Have you seen “my big fat greek wedding”? You know how they use Windex for everything? That’s kind of how we are about coconut oil. Buy an organic, cold pressed tankard of it at Costco. Thank me later… 🙂 But if you’re not real fond of the flavor this is a great way to get it in your body without tasting it too much. Here’s the scoop it’s great for killing Viruses, Bacteria, Fungi, Candida (which is an epidemic in our world), supports the immune system and thyroid (another one that our society is in desperate need of). It boosts energy, is heart healthy, and helps with Diabetes. Fatty acids from coconut oil go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. It also helps you BURN FAT.
raw organic honey – Reduces inflammation, strengthens immune system, calms nerves, balances blood sugar, and is an energy booster.
REAL maple syrup (splurge on the real organic stuff, not the cheapo HFCS pancake syrup) – This is high in manganese and zinc which are great for prostate health among other things. High in antioxidents, calcium, minerals and B vitamins

Create your Sunshine Life by putting something really good in your body!

Muah.

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The Elusive Pursuit of Happiness

Does anyone else notice the interesting phenomenon in the world right now of searching for HAPPINESS?

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There are new books and online “challenges” seemingly released every week regarding the science of happiness. The Happiness Project. Delivering Happiness. Finding Happiness. 100 Days of Happiness. Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness.

There are courses from online institutions, Hay House speakers and even UC Berkeley has a program on discovering happiness.

Both Metaphysical and top religious leaders from every corner of the world (and many formal religions) preach the importance of happiness in worship, faith, manifesting and living a Divine Life.

The world is obsessed with discovering Happiness.  The word is like a warm hearted, heavy bosomed friend. Happiness.  Little blond pigtailed girls in a field of yellow flowers, soul mates lounging near clear Caribbean blue water, hiking the backcountry of Montana with Man’s Best Friend. We all get a feeling in our heart when we think of happiness. So why does it only last a moment? Why is everyone searching so desperately for an emotion that we are all born with? Why are we going to meetings and asking our guru’s for detailed information on how to do it?

We are digging for something more. There is something deep inside that says this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

We are living a life that is not up to our potential. We got distracted by pretty objects, and ego driven goals, judging and comparing ourselves with the people around us, determining who and what is Good, Better, Best.  We were distracted by the pursuit of Financial Wealth, or Suffering while in Service, each trying to prove that we are a good enough version of ourselves. We have spent our lives judging.

How many hours of my life have I spent telling myself that I am not good enough?

We are not the right weight. We do not have the right bank account. We have not been good enough parents. We aren’t organized enough. We haven’t lived enough. We haven’t given enough.

We live in a society where happiness is not only NOT A PRIORITY, there is no room for it.  Our jobs demand countless hours, there is no priority for the value of vacation time, family time. Happy time. The marketing messages that we are fed tell us that we must buy something to be a better version of ourselves. How many hours of programming have we received in a lifetime telling us that we are not pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, rich enough? Of course we believe it. Television and radio have been subliminally programming us our entire lives.

Our schools, our homes, our jobs focus on gaining knowledge and wealth. Where is the society enforced focus on gaining happiness? Prioritizing happiness as a fundamental goal? It’s coming. There is a growing awareness that pushes against the old norm. The new awareness says, “I am enough. I am human. I am blessed. I am here for joy. I will make mistakes, and it is ok.”

There is a certain letting go that happens in the acceptance of who we are. And wouldn’t you know it, that letting go is the exact thing that allows Happiness to rush in. There is a shift happening. As a society, we are starting to place value in Happiness. We are forgiving ourselves and others.  I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. A world of happiness.

Ever wonder what would happen if children were taught to follow their happiness? Check out this amazing TedTalk. I promise it’s worth the 11 minutes.

There, I just saved you thousands in an education pursuing happiness. Your Welcome.

Create your Sunshine Life. Go Be Happy. Let that be how you make your decisions. Let that be your reminder to love yourself exactly as you are.  Because if you are happy first, then the rest of it really doesn’t matter, right?

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The Joy of Just Being

joy of beingI think perhaps that is my lesson (well one of them anyway). Remember to just BE. It’s so impossible. I swear, if the Universe had provided me with any gift OTHER than A) a brain injury that literally HURTS to concentrate or think (or read for that mater) and B) a spinal fluid leak that literally makes me violently nauseous, dizzy and an exploding headache then I don’t think I could ever sit still.  get this… if I sit up or stand vertically I get violently ill. That’s all. Sit up and get struck down sick. Seriously, how crazy is that? Can’t think. Can’t sit up. Can’t go for a walk. Can’t read. It’s kind of like some unbelievable Hallmark Movie of the week.

But I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m merely pointing out that the Universe has literally provided a situation that makes me sit and FEEL.  Contemplate life. Want to know what’s really funny? My blood pressure is dangerously low, so when I try to at least meditate I can even sicker! It’s actually hilarious. So much for trying to control anything. My current role is just sit. And feel. Actually, don’t sit. LAY and feel. For 5 months.

Can you imagine your life if you could not sit up or stand for 5 months. Before my last surgery I had times that I could sit up for an hour, maybe even two before I got sick. It seemed limiting at the time to not be able to leave the house for more than an hour total. But now, I’m lucky to get 3 minutes. My husband has to basically be a single parent. He handles cooking, cleaning, groceries, picking up and dropping off kids and managing all of my medical appointments. Not to mention living with my emotional rollercoaster and pain cycles!

But, I did have a moment in the hospital of clarity. I realized at some point how long I’d been in the ICU and it was at 13 days. I thought “but my family CAN’T live without me for 13 days. It’s just NOT possible.” and then I realized “they are. they have been. everyone is still alive”. There was incredible and profound understanding for me. But life goes on. It always does. The things we think are impossible. The things we spend so much mental energy FEARING, in the long run, if it does happen then it happens. You still get up every day. You still breathe. You still work. You still pay bills. Life goes on. We adapt. So really, there’s no sense spending a single moment on fear.  It’s a waste of the good stuff.

I write affirmations in my little journal every day. I visualize the life I want. I send love to the people I love and that pray for me. I feel my head with gratitude, love and joy. I listen to music that makes me happy (LOVE Sara Bareilles at the moment, she’s SO happy and Pandora really is quite amazing at picking out good stuff)

I have the itch to travel (not surprising I suppose). I have this fantasy of an old converted school bus with a bed I can lay in. Funky turquoise curtains. Card table for food and games. (Um, yes, Pinterest is one of my current obsessions). And heading out on the open road. Texas to California on a massive adventure… —yes, I know the reality of days in the car with two young kids for days on end… but I’ve got nothing but time to dream so in my dream we’re quite Brady Bunch-ish…. actually we’re more… do you remember Dharma and Gregg? We’re more like Dharma’s parents-ish. ha!

Create your Sunshine Life by finding the Joy in just Being. Slow down. Turn off your phone. Computer. TV. Listen to your kids. Hug your family. Sit outside in the fresh air. Start simple. And for gods sake, pour a nice glass of wine.

Much love to you all. Muah.Joy

 

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