Sunday, March 31, 2019

Day 29 of 30 Days of Self Love: Drink Water!

Swimming in the river with Charlie a few summers back

Hello Friends :)

Sunday's nice and quiet here, I'm the only one awake! Alex is a night owl and sleeps until afternoon some days. All six pets are twitching and snoring's POURING RAIN outside so the snowmobiles are's a peaceful and solitary time for me! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge seems so simple: DRINK WATER. We all know the benefits of staying hydrated, heck it's vital for life.

I've had an up and down relationship with drinking water. For the longest time I found it sickeningly sweet. That's when I lived in Montreal, I hated the drinking water there. I put it through filters and I just always felt nauseous drinking it.

Waterfall in the woods

Then I started on bottled water, but either always suffered dry mouth or heartburn from it. It got to the point where I was only drinking a brand called Montellier, it's an effervescent mineral water. I was going through 2 bottles a day of that stuff and it was getting expensive. There were times when I couldn't find the amount of bottles I needed for a month's supply and I ended up getting dehydrated a lot, drinking high sugar juices and sodas when I was thirsty.

The water in our current rental was always rusty and I didn't want to even try drinking it because my water-drinking experiences were always so bad. November, the price of Montellier water doubled so I had no choice but to figure out why I was having so much trouble drinking water! I did a lot of research and discovered that bottled waters fall into two categories:

Alkaline with a PH of over 7
Acidic with a PH of under 7

After doing more research, I read that some people react badly to acidic waters, they suffer dry mouth and heartburn, indigestion and swollen tongues! That sounded like me, so I did a few tests. I have a PH meter that I'd bought for my cheese-making, so I pulled it out and did tests on the water we had in the house.

Water refill from grocery store (no brand): 5.3
Naya: 5
Esca: 7.2
Nestle Pure Life: 7.8
Tap: 8.1
Tap through a Brita filter: 7.9

For me, the Naya water was the worst. I had immediate dry mouth and a swollen white tongue. I decided I wanted to get used to tap water again, so I got the water tested and it was fine for drinking, even though there was a little rust/iron in it, the lab suggested using the Brita filter to help with that.

Waterworks at the duck pond

The big day for me was November 16th - I drank my first glass of filtered tap water in years! Huzzah! No dry mouth, no heartburn, no swollen tongue! :) I still found it a little sweet for me, but I have gotten used to it now. I find that if I have it cold on ice, the sweetness is cut a little bit.

I remember as a kid, hating lemonade, especially pink lemonade because it made me so thirsty!! I still can't drink lemonade! (Minute Maid Lemonade has a PH of less than 3! Very acidic!!) I read a fun fact, battery acid has a PH of 1.0. 😇

When you're dehydrated, you are at risk for many problems. I remember one time my heart was racing so fast, I felt faint...and it was all due to lack of hydration. A friend of mine told me she was dehydrated one day and felt so weak, she thought she was having a heart attack.

We know that being hydrated is great for your skin and your digestion, your organs, your entire well-being and health. It also helps to keep the weight at a healthy range and it keeps your muscles supple.

I just had a memory...when I was in grade school, we used to have gym outside on hot days. The gym teacher had us running around for hours, there were no water bottles or anything like that for us. So many of us kids would have terrible cramps in our sides...all due to dehydration. The gym teacher would tell us to just walk it off. Yikes.

Are you a fan of water? How do you make sure you drink enough?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Day 28 of 30 Days of Self Love: Why Are You A Good Catch?

Fishing on Bass Lake last spring

Hi Friends :)

Happy Saturday! Oh guess what? IT'S SNOWING. if this surprises me...though at this time of year, it won't stick around too long. We have freezing rain in the forecast this afternoon so I really hope we don't lose power!

I'm spending the day in the kitchen. For many months now, I've felt like I was going through the motions as I made meals and sweet treats. My heart just wasn't into it. But in the last few days, I've been getting my "kitchen mojo" back! :) I decided today I'm making a real Italian meal...I have some bread rising, some homemade Ricotta draining in the cheesecloth for my Italian Cheesecake...dinner will be a pasta dish from my Dom Deluise "Eat This" cookbook...and of course, red wine! :) I can't wait to eat!!! (I'll post all of the recipes on my main blog in a day or so!)

So today's Self Love Challenge is to write down a list of why you are a "good catch". Whether you are in a relationship or not, want to be or not, I think it's a good exercise to think about all of the great things you have to offer another person, your family or society! By doing this exercise, you reinforce to yourself all of your great qualities. :)

I think I'm a good catch because:

- I have a big heart that is filled with love, compassion, empathy, generosity and care.
- I have a great sense of humour.
- I like to be active and do fun things.
- I am very handy for small repairs around the house.
- I am a passionate cook and baker (getting back quickly to that!!).
- I'm great with finances, know how to budget and invest (within my own risk comfort!).
- I can have a great conversation.
- I'm creative with my art and my crafts.

As I write things out, I think of more and more things I can add to the list! If nobody else appreciates why you are a good catch...that's okay, because YOU do! :)

Why are you a good catch? :)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Day 27 of 30 Days of Self Love: Unplug!

A gorgeous drake at the duck pond!

Hello my Friends! :)

Is there another word for hypocritical??? I don't want to say I'm a hypocrite, but today's challenge may put me in that position lol... ;)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to UNPLUG. Stay off the internet, don't be glued to your phone, don't be tempted to check your email or social media account when you hear a "beep" notification! I realize that I'm on the internet writing a post and I've been on the internet all morning answering me telling you to unplug may seem slightly duplicitous....(oooh big word lol, I have my thesaurus handy!!!)

Seriously though, are you old enough to remember the days BEFORE the internet, before smart phones and Facebook and Instagram? I am. I only learned to use a computer when I went to secretarial school in 1987. After I left home, I spent a few years partying and working in bars, then I realized I needed a better job. The secretarial school taught me to type and take shorthand, and taught me how to use a computer. It wasn't like the computers of today though...kind of looked like this:

MS Dos was the language before "Windows"...When I got my first job in finance, I was on a training program to learn how to use Windows 3.1. That was in 1993 before Windows 95 came out. I remember thinking at that time that life as I knew it had completely changed! Remember that dial-up modem sound?  :)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. Information at my finger tips...communication with friends any time I want...paying bills, checking bank accounts, shopping...and now finding real definitely has made life much easier for a hermit like me! :)

But once in a while, it's good to focus on the non-technical...the garden, Nature, your pets, your family, your a book, go for a walk, open a cook book and make something in the kitchen, do some photography, some art, some home get the idea! :) Enjoy some time in the REAL world!!! :)

On that note, I just want to say that I am slowly but surely removing myself from social media. I never had a Facebook account, but I have been on Instagram for the last year or so. I initially opened an account to follow a few art challenges, but I noticed over the last year that I started to become too "into" the platform by posting photos of the pets, my garden, myself and day to day things. I find myself checking my phone MANY times a day to see if I got "likes" or comments. I was never like that before and I want to get back to the person I was. I will always have my blogs and I love visiting my friend's blogs too! But I think that Blogger will be the only platform I use from now on! That's my way of disconnecting from technology a little bit more!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Day 26 of 30 Days of Self Love: Sleep Well

Sleepy Dana

Hello Friends :)

I hope you're all happy and healthy! It's a grey day today, and it's raining. This worries me since there is still a tremendous amount of snow out there...we're on basement watch these days, any sign of water infiltration and we're emptying everything out of there.

Today's Self Love Challenge is to sleep well. Sleep is SO important...and it took me until I was in my 40's to really appreciate a good night's sleep. I used to brag about how I only needed 4-5 hours of sleep each night - this was during my working days when I worked 100 hours a week and probably went through 10 cups of coffee each day. We all know how that turned out!

Jack: He loves a tummy rub before bed!

Sleep deprivation is responsible for the following:

1. Temporary memory lapses and distorted perception.

2. Moodiness, crankiness and irritability.

3. Lack of coordination and a slower reaction time.

4. A compromised immune system.

5. Your appetite goes into overdrive because your satiety sensation suffers.

6. You probably don't look as good as you normally do: puffy eyes, bags, circles...lack of sleep promotes wrinkles too. 

7. Continued lack of sleep can increase blood pressure and make you prone to cardiovascular disease.

Ready for bed! :)

I know that when I don't get enough sleep, my digestion suffers and my dysphagia really acts up (that's a problem swallowing food). I also have lack of energy, motivation and an overall drive to do things I normally wouldn't think twice doing. I feel anxiety easier and I also find that my heart beats a lot faster when I do simple things like climbing the stairs. I tire so easily.

A long time ago, I decided I wanted to make my bedroom a sanctuary. Though it's true that Alex and I use the bedroom as our living room of sorts - we watch movies in bed and play board games in bed; once 10pm rolls around, the computers, cell phones and remote controls are banished. I try to read a little bit while sipping a chamomile tea to really relax myself for a good night's sleep.

I also do some stretches before bed and a body scan. By body scan, I mean when I'm lying down, I start at my toes and work my way all the way up to my face. I tense up my muscles for a few seconds, one at a time, then relax them. It does wonders!

Charlie and Marlene love to sleep on the futon.

I used to let some of the pets sleep with me, but they really move around a lot, so Jack is the only one allowed in the bedroom now, and he has his own bed on the floor. He's the type of dog who needs coaxing to GET UP in the morning, so he doesn't bother my sleep during the night! The cats never want to stay in one place and the two huskies love to sleep in Alex's office on the extra futon we have there. Alex is more of a light sleeper so he wears ear plugs to bed now.

Another important change we made was that dinner is no later than 6pm now. I personally can't sleep if I haven't digested well.

Exercise during the day helps to tire the body out so you can remain asleep for the time you need.

Last year we invested money in a new mattress, some very good pillows and comfy bedding, that really helps a lot. Since we have 6 pets, and yes, they are all allowed up on the bed during movies...we make sure that we have clean linen regularly. When you're relaxed, comfy and cozy, sleep is easier!

Do you have a sleep routine?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Day 25 of 30 Days of Self Love: Plant A Seed

Hello Friends! :)

It's a wonderful day today, the sun is out, the snow is melting and I faced a HUGE fear...I contacted the landlord to tell him we are NOT renewing our lease...this makes the home buying process all that more real for me! Have a mentioned that I have a great fear of being homeless??? When I left home at the age of seventeen all the way back in 1985, I stayed at a friend's house for a little while until I could get a job. I worked the midnight to 6am shift at Dunkin Donuts making and decorating donuts!!

When my friend's parents returned from their trip, I had nowhere to go, I was actually homeless for about 2 weeks. There was an apartment building in Westmount, that's a rich area of Montreal, I slept underneath someone's balcony for those 2 weeks until I found a dingy basement apartment to call "home". At 17, you are pretty naive. All I had was my sleeping bag and a backpack full of personal items. It was scary, tiring and dangerous. Since then, I've always been an ideal tenant, terrified of being kicked out on the street! Of course, it never happened because I'm responsible, but that fear is always there!

So today's Self Love Challenge is to plant a seed. Literally or figuratively! The above photo was taken last April when I was preparing for my summer garden. This year though, there will be no starting seeds, but I do hope to have a nice herb/lettuce garden once I get settled in a few months!

I've vaguely mentioned that I've been struggling lately with a toxic person. I think that last night I planted a seed that will remove that toxicity and promote lots of personal growth! I feel like my old self again and she's been gone a little while now! :)

There are so many ways you can plant the seed of personal growth:
- Be open-minded
- Start your day mindfully being positive
- Concentrate on physical health
- Walk away from negativity
- Pursue your goals and dreams
- Enjoy each moment
- Remember that life can be fleeting
- Be empathetic and compassionate
- Don't compare yourself to anyone or any situation
- Be gentle with yourself
- Try new things

And most of all, KNOW YOURSELF. Know what you want, what you don't want and what you are willing to do to be the best person you can be. This will lead you on the right path in life.

Will you plant a seed today?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Day 24 of 30 Days of Self Love: Switch Your Thinking

This is Spencer and Winston on December 28, 2009. I lived on Prince Edward Island for a year and it was such a lovely time. I ended up missing the mountains too much at that time - and I was re-inventing myself, so I moved back to Quebec; but I'd love to live there again!

Hello All :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to switch your thinking. When I'm having a bad day, I tend to have bad memories or sad thoughts about things that are going on in my life. If I don't keep that in check, I risk falling into the pit hole of despair. Sounds dramatic, but honestly that's what it is. I fall deeper and deeper into sadness and regret and I find it hard to crawl out.

The anniversary of my first dog's death is coming up. Winston. He was the sweetest little goofy pug! I loved him so much. He was with me for 16 wonderful years! At times I have terrible regret about how much I worked and that I could have spent so much more quality time with him and his brother Spencer (who I had for 19 years!).

I don't need a date to make me think of him. But somehow the date of his death is tattooed into my memory and I can't help but feel sadness.

I'm trying very hard to switch that thinking around. I've been saying to myself:

"Yes, you worked a lot, but the time you spent together was so much fun!"

"It's true you could have worked less, but you can't change that now, remember how happy he was when you walked him in the woods?"

And so on. :)

Instead of beating myself up, I'm keeping his memory happy. A few tears are being shed, but that's okay. I do miss the little monster!

When I think of abusive situations I suffered in the past, I sometimes still feel shame and regret that I didn't remove myself from the situation sooner. I get into the thinking of "I can't get those years back"...and it can get pretty depressing!

I've started to tell myself this:

"Yes, that happened to me, but look at where I am now!"

Are you able to switch your thinking?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Day 23 of 30 Days of Self Love: Talk About It

Hi Friends :)

Have you got a case of the Mondays? :) I do! I didn't sleep very well last night. Marlene was pacing around and all I could hear was the "click click click" of her nails on the floor...turns out her favourite sleeping spot was taken and she was perplexed! I let her up on the bed with me and she slept the rest of the night. :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to talk about it. "It" is something on your mind, something bothering you or something that you want to tell someone but for whatever reason, you've chosen not to.

A trusted friend, family member, spouse or even a therapist can help. We have a phone number here, 811. If you call 811, you can talk to a social worker day or night. Talking about something that's weighing on your mind really helps to sort out the brain fog.

I have a very bad habit of keeping things to myself. I'm ultra empathetic and I never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable - but by not using my voice, I only make myself uncomfortable.

Also, I do not like conflict, in fact it's one of my biggest fears, so I tend to keep things to myself and suffer in silence. I was taught as a child it's better not to rock the boat, better to let sleeping dogs lie...all that stupid crap that is meant to teach a young person not to stand up for themselves and accept bad behaviour for fear of a person's anger, rejection or judgment.

As a kid I was bullied by a girl from another school. When I would walk home for lunch, she walked the other way home for lunch and she bullied me relentlessly. She would yell at me, push me, degrade me...the typical cowardly bully stuff. I used to get in trouble from my mother for being late and I ended up getting punished often for that because the bully wouldn't let me "pass" until I cried. I never told anyone out of fear, but one day I'd had enough. I screamed bloody murder and the bully ran the other way for fear of getting caught. She never bothered me after that but I was always looking over my shoulder.

Bullying isn't just rampant in childhood. I'm dealing with a problem that I've had for years...yeah, years. There is a person in my life who routinely mistreats me whenever we are together; and I just take my lumps so to speak. Again, Rain...don't rock the boat...

Ever hear of the phrase "Shame lives in the dark."?

Because I'm afraid of standing up to this individual; or because I'm feeling guilty about making them feel bad, I start to feel bad about myself. I question my own feelings - am I just overreacting or am I really too sensitive? Then I realize that maybe my point of view isn't all that important. I doubt my own feelings...then I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone about it and I keep it all inside - just to have it start all over again the next time I meet up with this person.

That's shame. And it's wrong - nobody should feel shame for being mistreated. I will never claim to be perfect and I've said some choice words to this person in the past out of frustration, but overall, I've been way too lenient and forgiving - to my own detriment. It becomes a cycle of ups and downs and it's hard to manage - especially when you love the person. You want so much for them to see the err of their ways, but at some point, you have to face the facts - they don't want to change, so YOU must change and walk away!

So recently I decided to talk about it. My mind was so jumbled over the confusion I was feeling over this insanity. I am now talking to a person I trust very much and opening up about everything that's happened over the last few years with this individual. It's hard because I'm still kind of embarrassed that I allowed it to continue. I have mentioned in a previous post that this is the year I'm ridding myself of all toxic people in my life and talking about it is a great start to that process.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Day 22 of 30 Days of Self Love: Listen To Your Intuition

When I climbed Mount Orford for the first time in 2007, I felt awe..I knew I wanted to climb more, be more active and spend my life surrounded by Nature. This is when I started to feel more spiritual, more in tune with Nature.

Hi Friends :)

Happy Sunday! I finished my painting yesterday and I posted "Painting and Pooches" on my main blog Rain's Garden, if you want to take a peak! I hope you all got crafty and creative yesterday!

I want you to stop right now, close your eyes and take inventory of your emotions and how your body is feeling. Do you have a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach? Are you feeling joyful, at peace and happy? Are your eyebrows furrowed? Are your shoulders up to your ears?

Your emotions and your body are always trying to tell you something, as Mama Pea put it...they are SO connected.

This is your intuition, your gut feeling.

Today's Self Love Challenge is to feel your intuition; and if you've lost it a little, take action to restore it. It's your best friend!

Usually when we are very well balanced, feeling joy, gratitude and harmony...we don't really think about listening to our intuition because we are just feeling so good!

But suppose you are between a rock and a hard place. You need to make a very big decision about something and you are just stuck. You've talked it out, you've made a pro's and con's list, you've imagined are still stuck. Intuition will guide you. When you think of decision "A", what is your body telling you, what feelings are you experiencing? Do the same for decision "B" and monitor the sensations you're feeling. Most times we already know what the right decision is, yet we somehow resist making it!

This little fella surprised me one autumn morning...yeah, I felt that anxiety and quickly ran away! I'm sure his intent wasn't to poke me, but I didn't want to take that chance!!

When I feel anxiety, then something's off. I can feel a person's negative mood when they enter my personal space. A great example is when I'm at the grocery store. I don't even have to look behind me to know that the person behind me is irritatingly impatient because I'm apparently taking too long to empty my grocery cart. I have to remind myself that I have done nothing wrong, that my intuition is telling me that I need to protect myself from that toxicity.

When I feel empty or sad, then I know there is some kind of disharmony in my life. Of course, I get sad from memories too, but if I just suddenly have this feeling, then I know I'm not living my life the way I should be living it to make me happy. Something is missing and I need to find out what that is. I often feel depression, but sometimes I feel a difference between depression and sadness/emptiness. The last time I felt this way was last fall and that's when Alex and I decided we are, without a doubt, buying our home this year!

When most people feel fear, they are likely in danger in some form or another. It may not be physical danger, but there is something threatening their well-being. You know the feeling when the dumb-dumb in the car behind you is tail-gating you. Not only do you feel his/her negativity, but there is a threat to your life with them driving so aggressively.

In my case, one of the insane effects of burnout was that I have a very wonky "fight or flight" reaction. If I get into a disagreement with someone, I feel intense fear. This is overkill, but it happens. I actually do feel that my life is being threatened and it's very challenging to overcome this. But usually the fight or flight reaction kicks in when you are in real danger.

The "dreaded" ski lift ride!

One thing I've noticed is that when I feel fear, it's because there is something I want so badly, but haven't made any effort to attain or achieve it. First I feel guilt, but then I feel fear that if I go ahead and try, I will fail. Interesting huh? It took me a long time to recognize this, so now I just move ahead no matter how terrified I am! A good example is that I really wanted to conquer my fear of heights..but it was a weird fear of heights. I'm comfortable in tall buildings, on a mountain top, but the idea of riding the ski lift DOWN the mountain terrified me. So the fear I was feeling was a wonderful combination of fear of heights, fear of falling and fear of failure in the form of an utterly spectacular meltdown (thanks Louise for that phrase!!!)  :) But one day in 2007, I just got on...and yes, I cried, I had my eyes closed, I felt intense fear...then I saw the bottom of the mountain. I felt relief, and PRIDE! I did it again the next day...over and over until I felt no fear at all.

When I'm walking in the woods, I feel at peace, relaxed...I am content and happy and I know I'm on the right path in life!

When I'm excited about something, when I have butterflies (not anxious ones!) in my stomach, I know I'm doing something very thrilling and fun! I get this feeling when I'm painting, cooking and creating.

When I feel awe, when I'm feeling very impressed by someone or something, that's a sign to me that I really want to do something new. As I mentioned under the first photo, climbing a mountain for the first time left me with a feeling of awe...and Nature became my way of life!

If I feel pain in my shoulders and neck, I know that I have too much stress. Same thing if I'm clenching my jaw. Alex has also noticed that when we watch suspenseful movies, I squeeze his hand without really being aware of it!

Learn to listen to your intuition. If you feel overwhelmed, remove yourself from the situation you're in, take a break and just sit and be silent. Be aware and learn how your body and emotions are trying to guide you! And most importantly, be honest with yourself. A lot of the time we will ignore our intuition out of fear of failure, fear of heartbreak, fear of saying no or just fear of changing directions in life. Trust yourself!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Day 21 of 30 Days of Self Love: Get Crafty!

Hello Friends!

I hope you're having a nice start to the weekend. It's sunny today and mild, I can hear the drip drip drip of the snow melting on the roof! :) And...I can also hear the vroom vroom vroom of the loud weekenders racing up and down the road on their snowmobiles, sigh. THERE ARE TRAILS PEOPLE!!! 😬

Today's Self Love Challenge is to get crafty. Doing crafts with your hands automatically puts you in a mindful place because you are focusing solely on what you are doing. This is also called "diversional therapy" in the psych world. By focusing on creating something, you are taking your mind off painful and negative thoughts.

Improving your skills creates a feeling of pride and confidence as well. Creating something that brings you joy boosts your mood and your spirit! So why not do something creative today? I haven't touched my paints, pencils or pastels since early February, oh my, I can't believe it's been that long! I'm putting a stop to that today!! I have my easel, canvas (the last empty canvas I have!!!) and my paints all set up and I'm raring to go! I'll share my painting with you when I'm done!! :)

How can you get crafty today? :)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Day 20 of 30 Days of Self Love: S-T-R-E-T-C-H!

Jack Stretching In The Sun
Hi Friends :)

I hope you're having a great day with nice weather! It's snowing again here, sigh. But it is very pretty, the snowflakes are nice and big! It's snowman weather! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to stretch. How good does a big ol' stretch feel? I say pretty good! I try to stretch as much as I can, especially when I've been idle for some time. Our pets stretch every time they get up, I think they have the right idea!

According to, many of the benefits of stretching often are:

1. Increased flexibility and joint range of motion.

2. Improved circulation.

3. Better posture.

4. Stress relief.

5. Enhanced coordination.

A good stretch after working out or doing heavy physical activity ensures that you are less sore the next day too. I've found when I don't stretch after a long walk or working in the garden, I have a tendency to pull a muscle and get injured. When you work a muscle hard, or overwork it..the muscle develops little tears. Gentle stretches help to heal those micro-tears and strengthen the muscle. I learned this when I was taking Anatomy at University. I've read lots of conflicting information since then about when to stretch, how long to stretch and when not to stretch. All I know is that if I don't stretch after working out or working hard, I pay for it the next day!

Yesterday I took a 2-hour snowshoe trek in the mountains on a very famous bike path called "Le P'tit Train du Nord". (The little train of the North). It used to be a railroad line, but got converted into a bike/walking path many years ago. In the winter, people use it to cross-country ski and to snowshoe. I walked 6 km! You can bet I stretched when I got home and I'm not too sore today!! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Day 19 of 30 Days of Self Love: Ten Questions To Answer

Hello Friends :)

I'm a great advocate of self-help, self-improvement and self-reflection. I was chatting with a friend yesterday and she is going through a really tough time in her relationship. She said with a giggle "I'm so effed up." I responded with "We are ALL effed up in some way or another."

I said that to make her laugh a little bit, but when you think of it, isn't it true? If we think that we are absolutely perfect, then that is the part of us that needs a little work I think. I have a truly happy life, a great partner and a lovely pack of furballs. But I also have issues and struggles, just like everyone else.

Some people choose to bottle them down, sweep them under the rug and pretend they don't exist. I can't do that. I did that in the past and the result was disease! Everyone once in a while I read a lot of articles on deep-thinking and personal growth. 

Today's Self Love Challenge is to thoughtfully answer the ten following questions, as honestly as you can. And if any of the answers make you feel uncomfortable or unfulfilled, the next step is to think about what you can do about it - then take action. We only live once, let's make this life the happiest while we still have time! :)

1. Did you tell yourself that you love YOU today?

2. Are your actions guided by love or by fear?

3. Am I a good example for others around me?

4. Do I treat myself with self-respect?

5. Am I a happy person?

6. Am I an inspiration to others and to myself?

7. Am I comfortable being alone?

8. If I died tomorrow, would any of the little crap matter?

9. What is life calling me to do? (Am I listening?)

10. Am I living the life I want to be living?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Day 18 of 30 Days of Self Love: What Makes You Proud Of Yourself?

Jack and Marlene

Hello Friends :)

Happy Spring Equinox! :) The warmer weather is SO CLOSE I'm very excited!!! :)

What makes you proud? What have you achieved in your life that brings you the deepest pleasure and the most satisfaction?

Today's Self Love Challenge is to write a list of what makes you proud of yourself. I sat down this morning when I got up and wrote a long list of what gives me the most pride. There are lots of little things and a few really big things.

I guess this is just another version of listing your accomplishments and achievements in life; but it goes one step further by reinforcing that rewarding feeling, by reminding you of the great things you've done and how amazing it feels to have done them! :)

Charlie and Dana

I'll share a biggie with you. 

I am most proud of how I've designed my life. By that, I mean I was able to overcome so much suffering in the past and now live of life of gratitude and positivity. I am proud of how I take care of my relationship, my home, my self and my fur family. My home gives me pride, my lifestyle gives me pride and it's only getting better!

One example of my great pride has to do with my pets. Firstly, that I saved 6 pets from loneliness at a shelter - well that gives me a very deep sense of pride. I wish I could have adopted more! :)

I am a proud pet owner and I take a lot of pride in how I care for them. As many of you know, I switched the 6 pets to a home-cooked diet last August. The main reason was to try to reign in some mystery allergies that one of the cats and two of the dogs had. Also, I won't go into detail, but it was due to something very alarming I read about processed pet food.

Baby Oscar and Leo

It was a learning curve, but after 8 months, none of them have any allergies anymore, they are all at a good weight, they are super healthy and even Marlene (who has bladder stones) has had no UTI's that entire time! They are eating very healthy and are missing no nutrients! The best part? We can STILL afford it! :)

Despite all of the challenges I faced such as finding an inexpensive source of meat, figuring out how much food they all need, the long process of elimination of certain foods/supplements to ward off allergies, how I would find time to cook for them, how I would cook the meat, what supplements they all needed, how to keep Marlene's bladder stones in remission etc....I'm so proud of myself that I took that leap because the reward is happy and healthy pets that will live a long, wonderful life!

What makes you proud of yourself? :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Day 17 of 30 Days of Self Love: Get Some Exercise

Hi Friends :)

I hope you're having a nice start to the week! It's so sunny out these days I'm loving it. If only the temperatures were a little milder, then the snow could start melting! I have a feeling it's going to be a MUDDY spring here, still wondering where all that snow is intending on melting....

Today's Self Love Challenge is to get some exercise. Get active! Do your body and mind some good. You don't have to go to a gym to stay in shape. I've often mentioned that I jump around each morning on my little mini trampoline, which I lovingly call my "little tramp". :) I exercise daily so that I don't have to worry too much about my calorie intake on my non-fasting days.

But once spring starts to arrive, my desire to be outside is really intense! I usually give up the little tramp around this time of year for long walks outside, with the dogs and sometimes without!

Today I went on a TWO hour walk by myself and I feel so restored, so at peace and honestly a little worn out! Being active improves your health, your mood and your sleep. When things are preying on my mind, a long "walk and talk" in Nature is very therapeutic. Yup, I talk out loud when I'm in the woods, it helps me work out my problems! :)

Back in 2007, I read that taking 10,000 steps a day can keep a person in very good health. The origin of this idea is supposedly from Japan. It was around this time I was considering getting off my meds and losing the 100+ pounds I'd gained on them. I bought myself a pedometer and I WAS SHOCKED at how little I moved around. On a good day I walked only 500 steps!!!

So I made it my goal to hit 15,000 steps each day to help me lose the weight. I had basically doubled my weight back then - I was carrying the weight of two Rains!! :)  Just walking to and from the postal boxes was a task and that was just a five minute walk. I remember the first time I walked up the mountain, I thought I heard a car radio "boom boom boom" was my heart beating out of my chest - that's how badly in shape I'd become after burning out.

My favourite jogging trail in Orford Quebec

Slowly and gradually I was able to up my step count and I walked for 2-3 hours a day. I was living in a mountain village named Orford at the time and there were so many nice hiking trails on and around that mountain. I was so fit that I was taking 7-hour hikes a few times a week. On other days I would jog through the woods for a few hours. I was in heaven!

Winston and Spencer - The first two loves of my life! (Don't tell Jack!!!)

I was so active...I biked a lot too. At that time I had two pugs, Winston and Spencer. They were aging and couldn't keep up with me on the hikes, but I always brought them along with me on long bike rides. I bought one of those little kiddie trailers and converted it from seating to a nice big pillowed area so they'd be comfy. They loved it! :)

I long for those days when I hiked my time away. I still have my bike and there are some really nice bike paths about a half hour from here. I'm going to get back into biking as well. Jogging is out for me now because of my wonky knee. But I'm going to be walking a lot more in the next few months until I can start hiking in the woods again. The dogs love it, I love it, it's great exercise and it makes me feel good. Ever heard of "runner's high"? That's when your body gets to a point where you feel a kind of euphoria as your brain releases endorphins. As we know, endorphins both kill pain in the body and bring on feelings of joy. I remember getting that "runner's high" after about 25 minutes of activity; and never wanting to stop jogging, biking, hiking and climbing - a GOOD addiction!

I can't seem to get any high off that little tramp though lol! :)

How do you stay active?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Day 16 of 30 Days of Self Love: Laugh!

Hi Friends :)

Today is an easy one! Your Self Love Challenge for today is to laugh! Laughing is so good for your mind and spirit. And according to the Mayo Clinic laughter is also good for your body:

- Laughing increases endorphin release in your brain, a hormone that naturally reduces inflammation and pain in your body.

- A good belly laugh fires up your brain and body, then cools down your stress response, resulting in a good, relaxed feeling.

- Laughing soothes tension and helps reduce physical symptoms of stress.

- Positive thinking and laughter improves your immune system by releasing "neuropeptides", which help fight stress and illness.

- Laughing lessens the effects of depression and anxiety by improving your mood.

I laugh a lot, it's easy to laugh when you have pets because they can really be very amusing and goofy. I also listen to a lot of Old Time Radio shows, especially Bob Hope, Jack Benny and George Burns. I also love the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers...the comedy of that era can't be beat! I'm a big fan of SCTV (a Canadian comedy troup/show from the 80's) and I love my Looney Tunes!

"Dumb and Dumber" - a very silly movie that has me laughing every time I watch it!
I know that when you're not feeling well, the last thing you feel like doing is laughing. I've been there; it seems too overwhelming! But pushing yourself to watch a funny tv show or a silly movie can do wonders for your mood. Now that most people have internet, you can find lots of funny things on You Tube (also Daily Motion and Vimeo) - from entire movies to stand up comedy. Enjoying a good laugh is a great way to love yourself and take good care of yourself!

What makes you laugh?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Day 15 of 30 Days of Self Love: Have a Cozy, Hygge Day

☘️☘️☘️ Happy St-Patrick's Day! ☘️☘️☘️

I guess I should have saved my "luck" post for today! On a weather note, I think this is the first St-Patrick's Day I can remember in the last few decades where we haven't had a show-stopping blizzard. I'm very grateful for that luck! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to have a cozy, Hygge day. For those who don't know, Hygge (in short) is a lifestyle coined by the Danes. Its goal is comfort, coziness, relaxation, togetherness and a soothing environment of well-being. I find the concept fascinating because I was kind of already living that lifestyle, though I call it my "pajama-life"!

I thought I'd give you a pet tour today. Since I'll be cuddling up on the couch with the pets very soon by the fireplace, I wanted to share with you how much furry love I have in my Hygge home!! :)

Light some candles, get in your pj's, make some hot cocoa (or an Irish Coffee!!), sit in a cozy chair cuddled up with a blanket and read a book, write in a journal or do some hand crafts. Cuddle up with the pets and spend some time with them, enjoying their company and the unconditional love they give you. Make yourself a delicious comforting meal and enjoy a relaxed and leisurely dinner with friends or your honey bunny. 😏 Have a glass of wine by the fireplace.

These are just some ideas that I have for today! How will you cozy up your day? Do you practice a Hygge lifestyle?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Day 14 of 30 Days of Self Love: Be Mindful

Animals are naturally mindful.
Charlie isn't focusing on the past or the future! She's paying attention to everything that is going on around her - in the present moment!

Happy Saturday Friends! :)

How is your weekend starting? Funny that I ask that because since I stopped working many years ago, I always forget what day it is. Usually I know it's the weekend because I can hear the neighbours on their snowmobiles in the winter; or shouting in their backyard in the summer. Alex and I often joke that our "weekend" is Monday to Friday because that's when this village is the calmest and we can really relax! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to be mindful. I kind of started to talk about that on day 6 when I wrote about doing nothing. Being mindful is keeping your focus on the present.

When you wake up, don't bolt out of bed in a panic - pay attention to your mind and body, how you're feeling.

When you eat, savour the taste and texture of your food, don't just shovel it down!

You can be mindful in everything you do each day. When you're walking outside, pay attention to your surroundings, to the steps you're taking, to the sounds you hear. Feel the effects of the weather. When someone is talking to you, give them your full attention, listen to their words and pay attention to their body language. You can even be mindful while doing the dishes! Notice how the water feels on your hands as you clean each dish.

This morning I was especially mindful in making my morning "coffee-cino". I stayed in the present through the entire process of making my decaf, heating up my milk, frothing it up and sprinkling some cinnamon on top. I enjoyed the sensations of each step - especially the fragrances!! I sat by my office window, looking out at the snow and the sky and enjoyed every sip! I had no worries! :)

Being mindful, in the present, can improve your life in so many ways. It definitely reduces stress because you aren't focusing on worries and problems. When you have less stress in your life, you have less illness - both physical and mental.

You become more sensitive to what you need and more empathetic to what others need.

Mindfulness also helps with focus and concentration - this is something I've been working on for a long time. I have mentioned that one of the side effects of burning out was the loss of many of my cognitive skills. I find that being in the present is helping me to regain my focus and help me concentrate and retain my memory. This also leads me to be more motivated to reach my goals.

I also think that being mindful increases my feeling of gratitude. When I am experiencing everything around me and being aware of my environment, my body, mind and emotions; my sense of self-awareness heightens and I feel so fortunate for everything I have in my life. I'm able to see what isn't working in my life as well - without judgment - and I'm able to set goals to change those things.

If you truly want to change your life you must first change your mind! I wish I could take credit for that quote, but I read it somewhere last week! :) It's very true though. Staying mindful can really open your eyes to everything in your life that is worth holding on to; and to those things worth letting go of!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Day 13 of 30 Days of Self Love: Turn Your Luck Around

This is last night's dinner: Chinese Hot Pot! I wanted to show you the napkins I folded, I decided to put the roses on a heart-shaped base! :)

Hello Friends!

Today is day thirteen of my month-long Self Love Challenge...and it's Friday. I know it's not Friday the 13th, but I got to thinking about luck today - good and bad!

I had a co-worker back in the day who was all doom and gloom. Luck was never on his side, everyone and everything was to blame but him...his parents, his career, the government, the Universe was against him. He was the unluckiest guy in the world and he was miserable.


He seemed to gain some kind of pleasure (or relief?) from spreading around his negativity and playing the victim. People did fall for it and gave him empathy and pity...but eventually got tired of his "poor me" act. 

I'm sure everyone knows somebody like that! I used to always tell him to see the positive in life, see the blessings he has - but of course, someone who wants to be miserable will always find a way to deflect any kind of positive suggestion given to them.

I am someone who believes in the Laws of the Universe. This quote sums it up for me:

"When you don’t understand the connections between the universal laws, you naturally encounter obstacles. You may feel lost, frustrated and confused about your purpose. It may even feel like virtually everything goes wrong for you, no matter how well you think you’ve planned.

In contrast, people who live their lives with an awareness of the interconnected laws typically report feeling more confident, productive and reflective than ever before. While there is advanced personal work you can do with respect to each law, even starting out with this general grasp of the different laws may make a noticeable difference to the way you feel." (

Today I want to focus on the Law of Attraction. I really do feel that positive attracts positive; and that negative attracts negative. I didn't always believe this...I was kind of like my ex-coworker for many years as a young adult. I couldn't see that my pessimistic outlook on life was opening me up to negative experiences. Now it's crystal clear to me, funny how hindsight works!

Are you like my ex-coworker? Or do you see the glass as half-full, or better yet, overflowing??? 😄

Do you feel lucky in life? Let's face it, we all have struggles and problems, but generally speaking, is luck on your side? If not, why not make a few changes to bring more positive experiences into your life?

1. Stop judging your current life as something (or anything) negative: If you are always thinking that you got the short end of the stick in life, that's what you will always have. I've been really wishing and hoping that my renting days are over...I want to own my own home and land. For a long time, I was miserable, I was never able to believe that my dream would ever happen. I hated renting...I felt like I'd be renting forever, never having a stable home. But last October, I started to change my perspective, and well, look what happened. I got my pre-approved mortgage and I'm a few months away from buying a home now. NO MORE RENTING!!! 😊 Of course, it's not just that I stopped judging my life, but doing so set everything in motion and as the months passed, my dream has nearly become a reality.

2. When you notice a negative thought, accept it, think about it, then switch it to a positive one: GUILTY as charged on this one! My negative thoughts always revolve around people, how people have badly treated me and how I didn't defend myself or get them out of my life quickly enough. It's unbelievable how programmed we become. I could be sitting in my living room, looking through cookbooks, when suddenly a memory pops into my mind about a time I'd been bullied or abused. If I don't reign in that thought, it can get out of control! I can let it upset me and ruin my day, or worse, put me into negative thinking where I'm susceptible to depression. It's okay to feel upset over a bad memory, a negative thought, but it's so important not to let it linger.

Here's an example. Last week, I remembered a time when my older sister always made fun of me in public. Back in the 1990's, I was out with a group of friends and my sister showed up at the same pub with one of her friends. She walked up to me and told me my hair looked ridiculous and that I needed to grow up. I'd had my hair in braids and I really liked how it looked on me. Usually when she did this, none of my friends stood up for me, and it was the same situation. I felt pretty humiliated and tried to ignore her. Having this memory last week really brought me down, and I started to think about everything that she had said about me over the years, the insults, the criticisms, the smear campaigns... I felt so defeated, I felt like crap to be honest. 

Do you see how just one memory (or negative thought) can mess up your self-esteem???

But then, I remembered what happened after that incident at the pub so many years ago. Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder. A young waiter stooped down and whispered in my ear "I really like your hair that way". 

So that bad memory ended up turning into a nice memory of a total stranger showing me empathy. This allowed me to forget my evil sister's attempt to tear me down and focus on the kindness of a stranger.

3. Stop the blame game: This goes without saying, we all need to take responsibility for the choices we make in life and stop finding excuses by blaming everyone and everything around us for our bad luck or misery.

4. Always look for a positive in a negative: There was a property that I really had my eye on for the last year. I found out that there was a right of way that allowed anyone to walk about 10 feet away from the front of the house to the lake. I was so devastated, I thought this was THE property! But you know, despite my disappointment, the positive is that I have learned about right of ways and zoning areas in real estate law.

5. Believe in your higher power that everything will turn out in the end, despite any curve in the path: Anyone who believes in a higher power knows how effective it is when we turn our troubles over to them. Though I don't believe in a traditional God or Goddess, I do revere Nature and the Universe. I trust that the Universe has my back and that with sound decisions, good choices and a positive, loving attitude, everything I want in life will happen in time! :)

6. Expect good things to happen; but don't forget to take action to make them happen: This is both the Law of Attraction and the Law of Inspired Action. We can visualize everything we want as much as possible; but without setting things into motion through action, it is unlikely that anything will change. Wishing upon a star is still something I do! But if the wish is something I truly want to manifest, I make a plan of action too!

7. Listen to your instinct: This is a tough one for a lot of people, myself included. For many years, I stopped listening to my gut reaction. Through peer pressure and the pressures of society and family, I felt as though my gut was always steering me wrong and I ignored it. Boy did I learn some hard lessons! Learning to listen to your instinct can take a lot of work if you've been ignoring it for so long. I think I'll do a separate post on this one!

But you all know that feeling, I know it well. You meet a person and you get a little anxiety in the pit of your stomach. Someone asks you to do something and you instantly feel how wrong it is. You think you're alone when suddenly you feel as though you're being watched. That's your instinct trying to warn you about something. 

Contrarily, your instinct can really confirm that you're on the right path too! Someone in my life had been quite abusive to me in the past. It was due to a mental health disorder that he actually refused to seek help for. I was always forgiving, empathetic, trying to help out etc...and my gut always told me (usually through nausea and anxiety) that I wasn't making the right choices. 

One day I stood up to this person and told them "NO MORE". I told them I was willing to stand by them and love them, but that I would not allow any more abusive behaviour from them. After I confronted this person, I felt a great sense of relief and empowerment. This was my instinct giving me a tremendously LOUD round of applause for finally listening lol! :)

I guess in the end, we reap was we sow right? Any thoughts on this?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Day 12 of 30 Days of Self Love: Learn Something New

Hello Friends :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to learn something new. Having access to the internet is a wonderful thing! There are SO MANY things you can teach to paint, how to repair your car, how to install plumbing, how to cook, bake, can,'s endless. There is no reason NOT to teach yourself something new! Not only does it keep your brain working, it gives you a sense of accomplishment as you build your skill set and your confidence levels. Today I learned some napkin folding and I wanted to share that with you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Day 11 of 30 Days of Self Love: Spend Time In Nature

Good morning Friends! :)

It's a beautiful day today in the mountains. I got up very early this morning to watch the sun rise. As soon as it got a little light out, I took the dogs out for their walk. Here is what the lake is looking like these days. It's so peaceful in this area, I just love it!

Today's self love challenge is to spend time in Nature. Connect with the Earth today. Be aware of the natural beauty around you.

The rising Moon is visible in my sky this morning! I feel so lucky, so grateful that I am able to experience these wonders.

Being outside with the dogs is my favourite thing in the world. Nature therapy is what I call my walks. Little did I know that there is an actual term for it in the medical community: Ecotherapy. It's a different kind of approach to mental health disorders such as depression. Studies have shown that people who spend more time in Nature have less anger, boredom and sadness. (Web MD, Psychology Today) I found this site that really has a good article about Ecotherapy if you're interested in reading up on its benefits.

In my case, I always feel better when I'm out in the woods. I tend to be able to really clear my mind and think about things in a positive way. If I'm having a problem, a walk in the woods helps me to sort it out. I think that's why depression gets worse for me in the dead of winter when it's too cold to be outside, I get cabin fever and can't do some Nature therapy to help myself feel better.

My Lemon Tree is coming out of hibernation! :)

All of my gardening friends out there already know the emotional, mental and physical benefits of playing in the dirt! :) Well, I read a study in Neuroscience which found that certain soil bacteria increases serotonin in the brains of mice, just like prescription anti-depressants do. I know we're not mice, but I found that study really interesting! Nobody has to prove to me the anti-depressant effect of gardening! :)

A view of the raging river from the covered bridge
Why not do a great act of self love today and connect with Nature somehow? Whether you're in a city or lucky enough to live in the mountains like me, what can you do for some Nature therapy? How does being in Nature affect you?