Cesarean Awareness Month: My C Section Story

On Monday morning I rocked my daughter to sleep for her late morning nap and as I watched her slowly blink her eyes shut I fought back tears. This past Sunday (April 26th, 2020) Macy was 20 weeks old. I scoured through Facebook posts to find a photo of 20 week pregnant me so I could put together the classic side-by-side #20weeksin20weeksout.

2020

What I thought would happen on this day is I would feel so overwhelmed with joy at how far Macy and I have come. I would probably relish in the marvelous baby we have and celebrate all of her milestones she’s hit and then some.

I did do those things, but I was also a little consumed with the trauma from my pregnancy, impossible labour and, ultimately, a violent birth experience.

Honestly, I never did think I was handling this well, but I definitely thought I was handling it better than I am. In fact, it feels just about as gut wrenching now as it did when it was all happening. That’s how I know it’s time to start getting if off my chest, and I also know it will be important to go for the therapy I will need to help work through what happened to me.

I will be grateful to sit in a small office in front of a trauma counsellor as soon as this pandemic is over.

** If you are triggered by traumatic birth stories or discussions about cesarean or negligence then please stop reading here and save your heart. Otherwise, please keep an open mind as I tell you part of my birth story screeching in just at the end of #cesareanawarenessmonth.

Macy’s Story Part 1: The Birth

Our daughter was born on the exact day we thought, December 8th, 2019. We had originally suspected she would be when we found out our due date was December 2nd! It was just too close to the 8th not to happen, right?

(If you haven’t read my blog about the number 8, give that a read here.)

However, when labour began on November 22nd we certainly no longer thought that was an option. Our daughter would come early! We thought it was probably a better chance she’d be born during the Macy’s Day Parade – and how cool would that be?! But Macy’s day and American Thanksgiving came and went.

Alas, no baby!

Macy’s day, instead, began at 5:34pm on December 8th, 2019.  She was not born how we thought or hoped and she also was not born healthy. Either that or likely someone in the OR was also sick or negligent because she would contract pneumonia and become gravely sick.

That story will be saved for another time, though, because today I want to talk about my experience as a C-Section mama. Do I desperately long for the birth I had originally planned for? No, surprisingly. I don’t think it matters how you birth your child, there is no easier, more painless or better recovery route. Do I mourn the birth I did have? Absolutely I do. Those two things can be separate and for me, they are.

On December 8th I had already been in labour for 15 days. Fifteen, yes, you indeed read that correctly. I was exhausted.

I knew on day 12 that Macy would not be born at home. I knew on day 12 that Macy would not be born vaginally. I looked my midwife and the OB in the face and said, “I would like to skip all of this and go straight to having a C-Section please, this is not happening. We are both done.”

A cervix that won’t open can not be forced open. If 15 days of labour wasn’t going to do the trick then all an induction was going to do was hurt my baby. Fundamentally, I KNEW that. How was I forced into an induction after labouring for 15 days? How?

While I believe the medical community at my local hospital acted negligently dozens of times before, during and after Macy’s birth, I have to say this was one of the times I was most let down because of the ripple effect it caused. Macy and I were required to have a “failed induction” before being allowed to go for surgery. My daughter had already been through 15 days straight of labour before it was mandatory to hook us up to Pitocin for hours, smashing Macy up against a cervix that had zero intention of opening and letting her through.

If I was going to have this child naturally, wouldn’t it have happened by now?!

My threshold for pain was at an all-time low and so I requested an epidural before allowing them to administer anything. My body immediately started convulsing – which no one explains will be a side effect of pumping you full of synthetic drugs. Colin and I are both exhausted and somehow after a latte, a broken heart and half a sandwich, we both fell asleep.

Even with the chemical induction ramped as high as they would allow there was no change to my cervix. I slowly came to and overhear “we’ll give her another half an hour and see if the baby’s heart rate settles” to which I finally speak my peace and force their hand. I have, now more than ever, had enough.

“We are not waiting a half an hour, we are done. Book the OR, we are going for a cesarean right now”.

My midwife, the nurse and the OB spin around and all with shock on their faces. Hadn’t I said that was what I wanted hours earlier before all of this?? And now my baby’s resting heart rate is 25bmp faster than usual? Of course it is, she’s in distress and anyone would be after our very challenging and unlikely circumstance.

And here is where, for me, my trauma begins. Fast forward to being prepped in the OR. Colin has to wait outside, which is strange to me since he’s allowed in for the actual surgery itself?

And then suddenly I’m so aware of my surroundings. The room is massive, stark, cold.

Does no one else realize I can see my reflection in the lights above me?

I ask this out loud and I am ignored. I notice I’m completely naked and basically spread eagle on the table and there are men and women walking around me everywhere. Somehow I count 15 people. At least that’s the number I remember thinking.

EXCUSE ME! Why am I naked?! Does nobody see that I can see myself in the reflection of the lights above me?

I ask about a dozen times to have the lights moved. They are moved and then someone moves them back again. I ask multiple times why I am naked since they’re cutting my belly open. Why are my legs spread apart?! No one answers me. No one.

Suddenly I watch the OB step up onto something and I hear her say to me, “you’re going to feel a lot of pressure” and before I can tell her to move the lights a very long surgical tong comes into focus and at the top is what looks like a sponge soaked in iodine. I gasp as I feel AND WATCH her shove this tong up inside of me and I am so shocked and so disgusted I can’t speak. My mouth is open and no sound is coming out. I can only watch in horror. After violently jamming this tong around my vaginal cavity she removes it – I can see absolutely everything – grabs a new sponge and repeats the same violent act all over again. I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I have no fucking idea what the fuck is going on. Why are they cleaning my vagina? Why is she violating me? How can a woman treat another woman this way? Why can’t anyone hear me fucking screaming?!

Who would remember their daughter being born after that?

Who would ever be able to recover from being violated in this way by another woman?

Why couldn’t I scream?!

The rest is a blur. Colin is suddenly beside me, Macy is suddenly born, my body heaves as I gasp for air knowing this was the moment my baby was pulled from my body. Colin recalls this happening and admits to me a few days later in the NICU he thought I was dying right in front of his eyes in that moment.

I remember Macy didn’t cry. The doctors and nurses all were commenting on how alert she was and someone said they’d never seen a more alert baby before. She explained that Macy was just looking around from face to face. Then silence. I shooed Colin away and told him to go be with our daughter but he didn’t want to leave me. I told him I was fine and being looked after but our daughter needed her parent.

I asked to know what time she was born.

17:34.

I kept repeating to myself, 1734 1734 1734 1734.

Blur.

And then we were in recovery. It’s basically a hallway right outside of the operating doors. I can feel my incision and I’m in a shocking amount of pain. And do I want to do skin to skin with my baby? No I do not. Who is asking me this?

I tell the person closest to me that I can feel my incision and the pain is only getting worse and I can’t handle it. Why are they asking me to hold my daughter?

I ask Colin if he can. He takes his shirt off, he sits down next to me in a chair. Macy is placed in his arms and I am so thankful. I don’t want anyone else to touch my baby anymore.

I am given pain meds and they don’t work. A nurse tests my body with an ice cube and she seems shocked to find that I can feel the coolness of the ice cube everywhere she touches. They give me even more medication but I can feel everywhere that I have been sliced open and now I am panicking. I lose count of how many times they give me a new medication to try and ease the pain and then suddenly I am being told that they’re going to flip me on my side to remove all of the tape on my back from the epidural.

Have I not just 20 minutes ago been completed gutted like a fish?!

And they do, two nurses flip me on my side as I scream out in shock before the tape is pulled from my back. The next thing I remember is being back in my regular hospital room expected to move to my own bed myself.

Do I not get assistance with nurses and a gurney?! Am I dreaming?

A nurse I have never seen before says she’ll move my legs for me if I move the rest of my body over and before I realize what is happening I hiss at her. “I’ll move myself, do NOT touch me. Do. Not. Touch. Me. My sensory system can not handle anymore.”

And I do. I do it by myself. I am half an hour out of the most extensive surgery of my life and I moved from one bed to another, not with a gurney as I had expected would be done, but by myself.

I don’t feel proud in that moment, but my husband does. He stands at the foot of the bed and later tells me he is in such awe of how capable I was, the strength I mustered after such a huge surgery.

What I felt confused that I wasn’t transferred the same way I had been going into surgery. And then my memory goes blank. Right after that moment. I only remember a moment around a photograph, otherwise nothing. The rest of the night and the whole next day is a blur. I don’t remember anything definitively until much later into the night after Macy was born.

 


 

Six days postpartum my incredible midwife met us in the NICU like she had every single day before. This would be different because she was here to remove the staples from my cesarean.

img_2332.jpg

I laid down on the cot in Macy’s NICU room and we began. It didn’t hurt but all of a sudden I could feel all of the trauma boiling up to the surface and I asked her to stop just before bursting into tears. I looked at Colin and asked him to leave the room, which shocked even me. He was already traumatized from his own experience after watching my epidural be administered to waiting alone outside of the operating room, walking into the OR to see his wife strapped down and convulsing off the table to finally thinking he was watching me take my last breath.

I knew it was too much in that moment for him to hear about the trauma he’d missed.

It took me a few minutes to catch my breath and compose myself enough to stop from crying and in those moments my midwife climbed onto the cot beside me, held my hand and my arm and spoke so softly to me.

When I finally calmed I told her I needed to ask her some serious questions and I needed her to be completely honest with me so I would know I hadn’t made up these horrible stories in my mind. She straightened and agreed, never letting go of her grip of me. I asked her if the OB’s cleaning of my vagina was violent. She closed her eyes for a moment, opened them and then shook her head yes. I then asked her if this happened a second time like I had remembered. She shook her head yes.

Removing the staples from my low belly was so triggering. It felt like a volcano erupted from deep within me. I just couldn’t stop it from overflowing. Having this validation from a woman I felt and so safe with was the first step in being able to understand what I was really going through. When you’re experiencing so many traumas at once you almost don’t believe yourself. Living in a NICU for five days was enough to traumatize anyone – going into that situation already fragile, confused and scared quickly spun me into survival mode. I couldn’t make sense of anything anymore.

She also validated for me that I had asked for the lights to be moved at least ten times.

Why had all of this happened?

When was it going to boil over and be too much?

Even if we consider the reasons for everyone’s sub par behavior that day – no one in the world deserves to be treated the way I had been. The OB who performed my surgery was in emergency surgeries all the night before. She slept a few hours. She was hours late to my induction. And ultimately, my surgery was now very late in the day after a long night.

So what?!

So what!

If this is your job then please listen to me when I say that this is a time when women give their entire body over to you in trust that you are doing your damndest to help protect her and keep her safe… and when you’re not, when you violate that trust – and worse, abuse that trust, you create damage that is not only against the oath you took as a doctor but against what it means to protect a FELLOW woman in the most sacred time of her life.

 


 

Birth stories are meant to be so beautiful sprinkled with trauma, for sure. Even the most beautiful births can be traumatic and I get that, too. I respect that and I also respect every woman who has birthed a child before and after me, no matter how their baby entered this world. You are a warrior to me, mothers.

 

When I think back to my story it’s really challenging to find the beauty in how Macy’s birth unfolded. There were beautiful moments in the 15 days leading up to her birth, that’s true. Colin and my midwife, Jael, were so strong, courageous and gentle. They knew exactly what to say, when to be with me and when to leave me be. I felt loved, safe, comforted, supported.

And once we had exhausted all else, when my body had failed to dilate after such a terribly long and valiant labour, the hospital staff, the nurses and the OB all let me down. I was made fun of – caught by my midwife – and I was physically abused.

And what if those lights hadn’t shown me the truth? Would I have known? My body would have experienced trauma and I wouldn’t have understood why. I struggle still, nearly five months postpartum to understand the motive for being so violent towards a helpless woman on your operating table about to birth a baby?

You’ve forgotten about those times already because that bad day or their shitty mood was just that – a selfish moment and a selfish decision.

But for a labouring woman, birthing her child, there is not one single moment of that time that she will ever forget.

It was the day my child was born. It was something I thought about and planned for my entire pregnancy. It was supposed to be sacred, safe and supported.


 

Today I am the mama to the most precious, hilarious, outspoken and brave little girl. Am I grateful? Oh yes! And as time passes I’ll be able to separate what led to Macy’s birth and feel nothing but joy in her day, but I will not ever forget.

If you are responsible for the support of a WOMAN while she is labouring or birthing her child, check yourself. It is your privilege to help deliver my child and it is MY right to be safe and protected.

 

With Purpose,

T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 8th Is A Beautiful Day

Do you have a number that shows up in your life every so often? You know, like a number that catches your attention whenever it pops up in a meaningful way. Maybe you always look at the clock at the same time or something like that.

The year my brother died numbers began to take meaning on a spiritual level for me. He was born on July 8th, which had no significance as one single isolated day other than it was the birth of my best friend and first brother, closest to me in all ways possible. So, of course July 8th was pretty significant, just not any reason for JULY or the number 8 to jump out atcha. Of course. And then the number 8 made a second and third appearance on the same unfortunate day, 12 years ago today. My brother’s life lasted a mere 20 years and 8 months exactly, as he passed away in the early morning hours of March 8th, 2008.

Shawn-and-I

If you’ve not lost someone close to you what happens is the date of their death, especially for the first year, is unbearably dreadful. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much of the first year Shawn died, but what I do know is feeling like I couldn’t breathe every time the calendar flipped to the 8th of a month. It consumes you and just living is excruciating. It was that way for me for a long time.

Fast forward to August of that same year and my brother’s already devastated group of very close friends lost another beautiful soul to an unexpected tragedy on 08-08-08.

bike-shawn

It’s just a coincidence, you think. Sometimes you might even try to see these numbers in places. The truth is I don’t see the number 8, not while I am out. I don’t always look at the clock when it’s 8:00pm. (I certainly NEVER look at the clock when it’s 8:00am haha.) Although, in my personal life, I now understand it completely.

8 is when I meet someone invaluable, when something new begins.

8 is also when I say goodbye to something. When something ends.

8 represents significant change.

 


 

I met my husband in August (8th month) of 2011.

Two weeks later I was in my little blue convertible on the open road driving ten hours back to see if this truly was the connection I thought it was. (Spoiler alert!)

Immediately, we knew. It was. That connection was real, it was magical and it was stronger than just the start of “maybe this could work”.

This was “it”. Just like they say it happens in the fairy tales. Sometimes love is like that.

And that day will forever mark history in our books, and now, because of that wild woman’s windy-top-down-cruisin-music-a-blarin’ drive and won’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude, it marks history in the making for Macy, too.

September 8th, 2011

first-date

Just look at those babies!

Our fateful day. The beginning. Changing 8 to mean something positive and magical rather than a day filled with weight and dread. And because of exactly that we decided we would also get married on the 8th, and we did. We eloped one month shy of our 4th anniversary together on August 8th, 2015 and while this date was chosen by us, we did so to continue the magic of changing this significant number to mean more than death and instead to mean love and fate.

august-8th

8 is when I meet someone invaluable, when something new begins.

8 is also when I say goodbye to something. When something ends.

8 represents significant change.

 


 

And then, in our 8th year together, our daughter was born.

She made her way into this world fashionably late and not a moment too soon. Her due date was December 2nd, 2019 but we knew she wouldn’t be coming on that day. It was too close, too much of a coincidence. 

macy-juliette

Macy Juliette was born, making us parents, on December 8th, 2019. She completed our family and created an infinite bond between Colin and I. She is a ham, a sweet little love filled with stories and wonder. She’s the little love of our lives.

And! Of course! The 8th!

macys-baby-shower

I’m not sure why, but once the initial years of trauma and grief had subsided and I began to heal from my brother’s death, I started to see the good. I chose to see the happiness in a horrific situation. An 8 is the sign for infinity if drawn sideways. We all know that, and for the longest time just this minor tweak in mindset helped my heart to cope with my loss. There was an understanding of his legacy, that living in a world where I only saw “what if’s” and “if only’s” was completely unfair to his memory. Who he was and what he accomplished and how he made people feel – living with his memory was how I would honour his legacy. It wasn’t fair to wonder what he would be doing now. And then one day, rather than dread March 8th and lay in bed all day like I did for months after he passed away…

Shawn0-and-I

I began to celebrate March 8th.

And now that our daughter was born on the 8th, especially for the first year, we will always celebrate that day in each month with her. Like today, for example. 

 

Today Shawn has been gone for 12 years.

Today Colin and I have shared a life together for 8.5 years.

Today Macy J is 3 months old.

 

And now 12 times a year I am reminded of all of my favourite people and also reminded that magic is infinite. Love is everywhere. And even in tragedy there is beauty.

You just have to be willing to see it.

 

With Purpose,

Tonia

Ten Products to Keep Your Newborn Comfortable and Happy

It seems like years since we’ve been able to sit down and write a blog, connecting with our community again. So much has happened and it would take hundreds of blogs to catch you all up, so let’s start here.

We are parents!

I know.

We started dozens of posts to share so much from our pregnancy all the way until the birth of our child but life over the last 12 months has been a whirlwind, a time warp and a really beautiful but challenging time. All of those posts will be written, our birth story will be shared, but for now, we are sharing something really important.

Our sweet daughter, Macy J, was six weeks old when we started this blog post and in celebration of her first six weeks in our lives earth side we felt compelled to share a list of the most important baby items we have so valued in these first  weeks. Bringing home a newborn baby for the first time is life changing and with that transition there are so many things that can make your baby’s (and your life) more comfortable and nurturing.

 

Here was my headspace when I considered the items purchased below:

  •  How can I help to make my baby’s transition from womb to our home as smooth as possible?
  •  What are some ways I can help my newborn to be comfortable and happy?
  •  How can I support my baby during the fourth trimester?
  •  What products can I use that are safe for my baby?

 

Of course, there were many comforts we offered our newborn and you’ll find the same to be true about yours as well. We felt the few we chose in the list below were the most important for us and we want to tell you why. Hopefully from our experiences you can make your own top list of newborn must haves and if you do, we’d love to hear about them!

Here we go! In no particular order:

 

4 Moms Mamaroo 4 and Infant Insert

This was our first major purchase – in fact, Macy’s grandparents ended up asking if they could purchase this amazing swing system for her! We found one barely used and in amazing condition on Facebook marketplace for less than half the price of a brand new one. We loved the idea of helping to reuse and recycle as well.

Parents and parents-to-be, this resource is invaluable for everything kiddo related so definitely look into Facebook Marketplace and give it a solid go. I can’t tell you how many hundreds and thousands of dollars we have saved for everything from Macy’s Mamaroo to clothes to dressers and more.

OK, back to the swing.

Think about your movements when you’re pregnant. Most swings move forwards and back and that’s about it. When I considered my own movements I found I always swayed side to side, never forward and back. I couldn’t make sense of how a forward and back motion would be comforting to my newborn so we dove in. The Mamaroo 4 has five different motions and five different speeds and also had a noise machine function! Oh, and for your convenience, Mamaroo also has a handy little app so you can control the whole thing right from your phone. We tried, both you and your spouse can control the same Mamaroo on your own respective apps on your own respective phones. Bonus. You know how some apps only let you have one registrant? Not Mamaroo!

For buying brand new, here is just one example of where you can find them (and you can choose your colour, too:

The Swing:

https://well.ca/products/4moms-mamaroo-40-infant-seat_138186.html

The Newborn Insert:

https://well.ca/products/4moms-reversible-newborn-insert_107994.html

Don’t forget to check out your local Facebook marketplace to save yourself some money if you’re being frugal or really splurging on other items. 

Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream

We spent a week in the hospital with five of those days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) after Macy was born (once we have her whole birth story blog post written you will be able to read more about her stay and what happened). The nurses in the NICU used petroleum jelly on all of the babies’ bums. What we hadn’t anticipated was our baby being born sick and also that we wouldn’t be coming home right away. Macy’s diaper rash cream we had very carefully picked out to make sure we avoided using any  toxins on her tiny vagina and bum was sitting on her change table at home in her nursery. Since there was no way we were leaving her side, we had to go without it and it really was a mistake.

Don’t be like us. Do not forgot to bring your carefully selected Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream with you in your hospital bag! You can find out more about it by clicking here.

Fast forward and Macy’s home living her best baby life now for weeks. While it hasn’t been anything crazy, after all she is only 6 weeks old now, Macy has had a few red spots on her bum. I barely put a tiny bit on my finger and dab her bottom – and before the spot can become a rash, it’s gone. Fast forward another couple of weeks now and Macy has had one diaper rash that her Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream cleared up overnight. It’s efficacy is important to us as mamas and consumers – but what’s especially important to me for my newborn is that I trust the plant based and clean ingredients list that makes up what I’m putting onto her most sensitive parts of her body. There are no hidden umbrella terms, like “fragrance”, what you see is what you get with this product and that’s why we have chosen this entire line only for our baby. And you can, too.

Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream, to share a few important points, is:

  • Dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Formulated without lanolin, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants

Bonus, we have been using a single tube since she was born and ten weeks later we still have plenty left!

Set up your free account and buy your Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream, or any of the other awesome Seedlings Baby products at 24% off head over to our team page.

Haakaa

A dear friend of ours came to visit us while I was still pregnant with Macy and her little one was about 3 months old at the time. Being the breastfeeding friendly home we are, she very openly fed her babe and showed us, eager-beaver-parents-to-be, all about this incredible invention called the Haakaa! Basically, you attach a 100% silicone cup to the boob you aren’t currently breastfeeding with while your baby nurses on the other. You squeeze the middle of the Haakaa as you press it over your nipple and allow the suction to slowly pull milk from you while your baby feeds away.

Having a supply of breastmilk on hand for daddy bonding time or for a lunch date out with friends or after a few glasses of wine – that’s a priceless thing. The Haakaa makes it simple and you avoid completely drenching that breastpad in your bra. Bonus!

I bought my Haakaa from well.ca here.

 

Prince Lionheart wipes warmer

I remember the first time I saw a wipe warmer and thought, “this is genius! Why wouldn’t I want to wipe by baby’s bum with a warm wipe instead of shocking her with a freezing cold one?”

Have you ever freshened up with a cold wipe? Armpit? Or even just your face? It sucks! Imagine being a brand new infant fresh from the womb without ever having even been touched before and now you’re being wiped with something so uncomfortably cold? That was a no brainer for us, we bought the Prince Lionheart wipes warmer immediately.

Now that Macy is here her change table is one of her favourite places. She has so much fun, kicks her feet like crazy. As soon as we lay her down she coos and laughs at he daddy and I. Sometimes this can be a be a place where babies are upset and we think this could be one of the reasons Macy associates her diaper change time as a happy time. We have only ever used wipes we’ve put in her wipes warmer and she’s been exactly as we’d hoped. Comfortable.

You can find a Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer almost anywhere, head over to their website for more information! Their slogan aligns so perfectly with our mission for our newborn and yours, “Cold isn’t comfy”. We want our newborns to be as comfortable and happy as possible, and this is a product these two parents believe help to make their teensy lives just a little bit easier. I bet that’s something you can agree you want for your little, too.

 

Feather the Owl Diffuser, Nightlight & Noise Machine

When we were on the market for a noise machine we didn’t really know where to look – there are so many and none of them had more than one function or feature, it seemed. A lot of the toys looked tacky and we didn’t really want that for our daughter’s bedroom, either. We didn’t want it to look like a “baby’s” room. You know? We wanted furniture, blankets and decor to all have a little more longevity so she could enjoy her room for years down the line. We were also on the market for a night light that wasn’t too bright and a humidifier/cool mist diffuser. Voila, we are in Utah at the Young Living International Grand Convention last year and what do they release as a part of their brand new product line but the perfect combination of all three. Not tacky, not overly ‘baby’ and everything we wanted for less than we could have imagined spending on such a handy and very cute device. Feather the Owl diffuser also comes with Young Living’s Lavender essential oil, which is Health Canada Approved as a Natural Health Product.

Young Living’s Lavender essential oil in Aromatherpy can be used topically:

  • to help relieve joint or muscle pain associated with sprains, strains & rheumatoid arthritis
  • or inhaled can act as a nervine and calmative which enhances relaxation
  • or inhaled to reduce the symptoms of cold & cough
  • when experiencing digestive discomfort can act as a carminative and antispasmodic
  • to help relieve headache

There isn’t a better priced sound machine out there with all of the features this one has! Macy will use her Feather The Owl diffuser for many years, too!

Feather The Owl’s little claws turn on the diffuser with just a tiny tap of your child’s finger and also change the colour of its belly from white to red, green, orange, yellow, blue, purple and pink before finally turning the light off completely. This feature is just enough light to function perfectly as a child’s night light for their room. You simply tap the middle claw on either owl foot, the right for colour preference and the left to turn on (and off) the diffuser portion.

That’s only two of the three most amazing features!

The noise machine portion, which makes the third and final feature, has two buttons at the back of the owl, one to turn on the noise machine function and also rotate through the sounds and one beautifully melodic songs and a second button to increase the volume.

Again, you can not beat the price of this all in one adorable kid’s diffuser, nightlight and noise machine PLUS it comes with a free bottle of lavender essential oil – you can not go wrong!

Check out the rest of the details about Feather The Owl Diffuser on our team page. Purchasing one of your own at a 24% discount is super easy and accounts, just like setting one up with amazon, are free and super simple. We couldn’t recommend a product without using it first and we’re so impressed Colin wants to purchase a second one so we can keep the one we already have going in our bedroom once Macy moves into her crib in her own room. Ha!

Cuddly Wrap

Hashtag #babywearing is the best! I have to admit, both Colin and I took to baby wearing a bit later than I thought we would. Maybe we were nervous? Macy still hates her actual carriers (Tula and Baby Bjorn) but mostly because she is a tiny girl and just doesn’t fit into them yet. However, her Cuddly Wrap is a stretchy wrap you tie snug around your body in different ways depending on how you want to carry your baby. Well, ours was gifted to us and meant for the colder months so it’s a nice and thicker fabric. Macy might have been just over a month old when I first tried baby wearing and while she fought it for a few minutes, Macy quickly fell asleep and I realized how much more efficient I could be with my nap hours in the day.

That being said, we were given a kangaroo baby wearing contraption during our NICU stay so Macy and I could sleep together in the recliner in our tiny (and shared) suite. It was the only way our nurses felt comfortable with Macy sleeping in my arms while I also slept – and I so appreciated it. Macy loved it then but we both outgrew it quickly. She didn’t love being as confined as the kangaroo made her feel so the Cuddly Wrap really did give us a little more wiggle room for her and I both to be comfortable.

Hevea Pacifier

It’s been many years Colin and I have put into researching the products we have in our homes. When we found out we were pregnant with Macy and having a pacifier for her I have to admit, I was really intimidated. How could anything on the market be safe enough for our child to quite literally have in her mouth for hours a day? Plastic was everywhere. Then we stumbled across Hevea and not only do they have amazing pacifiers but also teethers and toys. The natural rubber comes from a tree species called Hevea brasiliensis – how cool is that?!

Macy loves her pacifier and it came as such a relief to all three of us when she found it very comforting during her poor NICU stay and many hundreds of IV and needle pokes. These poor mama and daddy hearts couldn’t hardly get through those days but knowing she could rest just a little better with her Hevea pacifier made us feel just a little better. All these weeks later, she still finds great comfort in her paci.

Seedlings Baby Wash and Shampoo

At the end of the day if a product line is owned by a company that produces chemical laden products I can not trust their brand to be safe for my baby. The ever popular baby brands claim all sorts of things and we are quick to trust them at their word because our parents used the same brand and brand recognition is what keeps these companies alive. Except mamas and daddies are really starting to wake up to the honest truth. Not everything you see on your grocers shelves are safe for you.

What you put on your body is absorbed into your skin and bloodstream to be processed by your cells in the same way the food you put in your mouth is. When your body doesn’t recognize synthetic or dangerous chemicals, it doesn’t know what to do so it stores them in weird places. Traces get left behind in your body’s attempt to keep you safe but consistent exposure and accumulation of those chemicals cause harm to our bodies. There are only so many weird places to hide things before it makes you sick.

That main brand we think of when it comes to gentle baby washes is owned by companies that manufacture known carcinogenic chemical laden and harsh cleaners. That brand’s baby wash contains some pretty yucky stuff and in fact, their baby powder was just recalled for being very dangerous to babies. That is enough for me to skip right past the brand altogether, and to hope you will, too.

It’s time to move on, parents. We are able to make smarter decisions now because we know better. We didn’t know better before but now we can make sure our babies are not being exposed to unnecessary ingredients that can make them sick. We don’t have to use those harsh chemicals.

In our home we trust Seedlings Baby products because they are vegetarian, synthetic free, toxin free and oh so gentle. Our newborn has been using this brand since she was born and there won’t be another line in her rub a dub tub or her bloodstream.

Check it out here and if you have questions, you’re welcome to email us any time!

Baby bathtub

Ok, when we first became pregnant any time I saw a baby whale I just melted. I think we both thought we were having a little boy and little boy décor is hard. (Choosing baby boy names is also insanely hard!) Instead of the nursery, I took up baby whales for items in the bathroom (with the exception of the adorable baby whale night light and stuffed animal gifts from a few great friends!). We have the cutest wash cloths and then, you guessed it, Facebook Marketplace popped up with an ad just down the street from where we live in West Kelowna, BC. Our baby’s whale tub cost us a whopping $5 and she absolutely loves it! There’s a small partition in the middle that helps to keep her sitting semi upright and a little cushion for a headrest. Again – reuse and recycle. Once Macy grows out of it, likely in the next few weeks, we’ll do exactly the same.

We actually had a few friends tell us not to bother with a tub because they grow out of them so quickly but for $5 we really couldn’t go wrong. Now that Macy is 10 weeks old we have to say, even at $25 it would have been a wise investment. It was important to us that our babe love being in the water and having a baby bathtub has helped us to show Macy how fun bath time can be! She also really loves that this is her special time with daddy (and sometimes mama comes to play, too!).

Breast Friend Pillow

Preferences may vary depending on the person and circumstances around your birth. It really didn’t ever occur to me that we would need to have a c section which actually made me regret buying this pillow in the beginning. I couldn’t put any pressure on my belly at all even when Macy was tiny and just born. It wasn’t until more than a month postpartum that I was able to try using the Breast Friend pillow with her for the first time and it made such a difference. I immediately felt terrible for having to try and find comfortable ways for her to lay down while I attempted to get her close enough to me. Breastfeeding is a challenge!

One of Colin’s friends reached out to him when we were first pregnant and said something that truly hit home when he said it and again when Macy was first born. He said, “breastfeeding is like two people learning how to ride a bicycle at the same time”. Neither of us knew what we were doing or how to help the other one out. When your baby is so tiny, you’ve had major surgery and you end up in the NICU (more on our full birth story coming soon) it’s even more stressful because nurses are on you 24/7 to watch you feed, show you better techniques, count your ounces, weigh your baby’s diaper, poke your baby’s heel for blood samples to test sugar levels and I remember all I wanted to do was cry because I didn’t know how to hold my daughter right with all of these wires and IV’s attached to her.

The first time I felt calm feeding her was that very first time this pillow didn’t hurt me. I can’t even remember if she was actually hungry and cuing for food, I just remember trying the pillow and it being comfortable so I picked Macy up and laid her down on it. She latched immediately and her body felt loose and cozy. Different. I felt relieved.

And you know what? This was another one of those Facebook Marketplace finds! I think I spent $10 or $15 recycling it from another mama who wasn’t using hers anymore.

 

Keeping Your Newborn Comfortable

It is challenging as you are transitioning from prenatal to postpartum. Mamas and daddies, it’s ok to not be ok, but if we can help it you won’t be completely unprepared! Learning the cues from your darling, sweet baby just for feeds, changes, snuggles and sleep is enough for new parents, so hopefully by creating this blog and sharing some of our huge wins with our own darling, sweet baby you feel supported and better prepared. Thank you for reading all the way through and if we’ve offered advice you really appreciate, we’d love to know. Is there something not on our list you think we should know about? Send us an email! Or maybe you just love being a parent and you need to tell us all about it? Ya, fire that off to us, too!

 

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With Purpose,

T&C

Humbling Soul Journey, A Guest Post

We are so happy to have our very first guest post from someone important to our community. Sabrina has just finally received her certification in becoming a yoga instructor and we’re so humbled and proud of her accomplishments. In celebration, we wanted to share one of her amazing stories from her time in her teacher training with you, straight from the horses mouth.
Three weekends into my 200 hour yoga teacher training program, I started to feel overwhelmed by all of the information we were expected to learn. Knowing this journey to become a yoga teacher would not be easy, I decided to go through with it anyway. This feeling inside me was sparked after I recognized all the little prompts coming my way and took action. I decided to quit my secure job at the bank and go back to school so I could change careers where I could connect with people on a more helpful level. My desire to help people with pain management was so important to me that I downsized everything and moved across Canada. Battling with several chronic pains in my body on a daily basis I felt this was the best path for me because of my ability to empathize with others.
It wasn’t until after my melt down last Sunday that I started to feel an overwhelming amount of self doubt. Our teacher training class consists of me and two other girls. We were asked as a group to add an additional 5 poses into our sequence of 12 poses we had learned the week prior. We quickly discussed it amongst ourselves and found where we would fit the new poses to make it flow. As I watched the other two girls instruct us through the Sanskrit names of all the poses, with clear cues and modification options they also remembered where all the new poses were to fit in and made it flow beautifully.
I was having trouble remembering the Sanskrit names, proper modification options, and where to fit in the inhale and exhales. I was most nervous about not remembering the actual sequence itself. My turn was up and I already felt like I wanted to cry. I went into the bathroom and had a little pep talk with myself looking into my eyes at the mirror saying “I can do this! Just go in there and do your best.” I came into the room and was honest saying that I am still a little confused and got some last minute clarification. I moved my mat to the front of the room and instructed my classmates while my teacher/boss watched my every move.
I attempted cuing some of the Sanskrit names and felt good about my first round of leading us through Surya Namaskar but when it came to the second round where we added in the additional 5 poses I botched it. Forgetting to balance out on the left side and not giving all the modification options, my teacher/boss asked me what I felt I did good and what I felt went wrong. I told her “I was proud of myself because I felt like I wanted to cry before I started and I was able to come up here and try my best without crying.” She said “Oh, is that how you feel?” Then came the water works. She said that I was feeling this way because I was comparing myself to the other girls and that we all have a different learning curve. She said that I am so kind to others and need to be kind and patient with myself. She was right! Life is hard enough and we should not make it any harder on ourselves by comparing to others. We need to be kind to ourselves and feel gratitude and self love for our efforts.
sabrina.png
We breaked ten minutes early for lunch and I was glad I brought my box of incense with me. The last unopened bottle in my Premium Starter Kit box was Panaway. It was a perfect frontal cleanser after crying. I picked myself up and enjoyed my lunch being thankful for my efforts and this amazing opportunity.
 – Sabrina Schuetzle
So humbled. So blessed. We are so lucky to know this amazing human being. To travel this world of yoga this with amazing human being. To share her with all of you amazing human beings.
With Purpose,
Tonia & Colin

5 Reasons To Go Into Business With Your Spouse

After being in business together for nearly two and a half years, I think it’s safe to say that we can offer some solid advice about working with your spouse full and part time. You’ll no doubt have different working styles and require different things in your space in order to be creative and productive. Quirks come out that you did not even know about your honey, and some of them will drive you absolutely mad. Sometimes, every once in a super blue blood moon (which is apparently happening January 31st for the first time in 150 years!), they even do something super cute that makes you fall in love with them. Sometimes. Rare, but be optimistic.

Colin loves to listen to music and, well, I need it to be super quiet when I am writing – which I am typically doing most of the time. We had to find a balance that worked well for both of us to be working from home, 100% of the time without disturbing the other all day long. But this post isn’t about the petty little annoyances that were truly few and far between…

Working alongside your spouse in business is a gift. In the last two and a half years we have learned so much about ourselves, about each other and about how to seamlessly stand beside one another to truly be the best versions of ourselves as possible. We’re better humans, better life partners and much better business partners because we embraced this incredible opportunity. Here are the top five amazing reasons to go into business with your spouse.

#1 – You get to celebrate every success with your significant other

Being a part of the ins and outs of your business venture together means not only can you anticipate a successful period, you can also fully celebrate it together. You don’t have to go home and talk to your partner about people they don’t know and challenges that you faced with other strangers while trying to portray how really cool this time is. You were both in the trenches, you both know the battles fought and won. You both know the lengths everyone went to. You’ll celebrate even more because of it.

Celebrating what you have accomplished together as a husband and wife team (or a boyfriend and girlfriend team, or a wife and wife team, or a partner and partner team, etc) is powerful for a couple. It is empowering, sexy, exhilarating, triumphant and it brings you even closer together as friends, confidants and life partners. A huge step forward in your business is always a huge step forward together in all ways. Working hard together in business always translates to establishing a closer, more resilient bond in your marriage.

Buhleee dat!

#2 – Support one another through obstacles and challenges

It can be difficult to support your partner through work issues when you’re not really a part of, or understand, all of the dynamics involved. Being business partners allows you the opportunity to really fully see the whole spectrum. Supporting your partner during the more strenuous times is much easier because you’re present, you know your partner well and you can see their perspective, and often that of others. You are just as invested in the success of your business as your partner is and the dedication you have to ensuring that the obstacles and challenges are met with determination will only mean you’ll get through it together, better than you would on your own.

Having your own business can be pretty tricky sometimes, and so can marriage. We’re not here to promote perfection, but a more positive portrayal of what happy marriage life can and often does look like. If you can learn to reach for one another’s hand and march on no matter what, neither of you will accept anything less. There is nothing that you can not face.

#3 – Grow together as a team

You won’t ever wake up one day and realize that you have done all of this growing and your partner is not in the same place as you have found yourself. Or worse, that you both did so much growing but unfortunately in completely opposite directions. You hear about this often in failed marriages, and in the business world. When you are both working towards the same goals and the business is dependent on your cohesive partnership, well shit! You gotta be the best damn duo out there. And let me tell you something, if you make your marriage and your business THE priority, your marriage and your business will both be successful. There is no other option.

#4 – Together you bring entirely different skillsets and perspectives.

You and your partner see the world differently, no matter the similarity in goals and passions. You compliment each other, but you differ in likes and dislikes, you connect with people on different levels and opposite topics. One of you has more patience, another has a much better eye for details. This is the most brilliant aspect of married folk getting into business together. You don’t have to compete, because you complete each other in these ways. It’s why you were attracted to one another in the first place. You are a good match, the puzzle pieces fit. You compliment one another. Of course if this is true in marriage it would be true in the workplace, too.

Like all good things, this will take work, effort, communication, love and compassion.

#5 – Your partner knows you best

Even when you don’t recognize it, your partner will know when it’s time to step in and give you a break. And also force you to take one when you just don’t have that off switch they keep telling you about. Flip what? What switch? Am I right?

Your partner knows your greatest talents and your limitations and is always willing to meet you, help you, encourage you. How can this not be a huge positive in your business? This is an amazing opportunity to support each others’ qualities and learn new skills together. What’s amazing about this last point is that you have the opportunity to truly become better people, developing new skills and new perspectives together every single day.

Growing a business together is one of the most amazing adventures we have been on together yet. We ebb and flow, we lean on one another, sometimes we surprise each other and sometimes you miscommunicate, too. You learn to use these happenstances as tools, rather than fuel for an argument. You have constructive conversations instead of screaming matches. You learn much more effective communication skills. You can feel each other’s next move before it is made.

Marriage & Partnership

There are days when we drive each other into the madness, this blog isn’t all rainbows and puppies. However, we have grown light years from where we would have been without the expectations put on us because we chose to join together also in becoming leaders of a team of people who depend on us. Our network marketing business might just be the very best thing we could have done for our marriage, our future and, ultimately, our retirement.

We’re still so young in both aspects of marriage and business partnership, really. Today we have been together for 6 years and 4 months, married 2 years and 5 months. Our road has not always been easy but we have most certainly come to understand, like Colin’s Dad has told us,

“You two can not be apart! Nothing good happens when you’re away from each other”.    – Colin McArthur Senior

I can’t imagine this journey without Colin because there is no one I’d rather tackle everything in this life with. We get to experience quite literally everything together and neither of us would have it any other way.

With Purpose,

T

You Never Know When It’s Your Time

You Never Know When Its Your Time

Colin here 🙋‍♂️

The last month has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride. We experienced something that we often hear about in our industry for the very first time. Something that we’ve worked so hard for and thought would have happened a long time ago.

Oct vs Nov sales

Our business blew up! And not how we expected

Let’s back it up for a second…

October was a terrible month for us. The worst its been in 12 months. Tonia and I participated in a vendor event out in Calgary that we thought was going to be a big deal for our business. We participated in the Body, Spirit and Soul Expo where we were lead to believe that tens of thousands of people would be gathering. We thought this would be a massive opportunity for us! We’d be crazy not to go!

We took a week off from our day jobs, drove the 8 hrs from Peachland to Calgary, we spent over $500 just to be at this event…we even had Young Living give us 50 kits because we we’re so damn sure that we would sell every last one of them.

We sold one! 😭

The event was dead. There was maybe 1500 people that walked through the event over the course of 3 days. At one point I witnessed two vendors hugging while one lady weeped and said ‘I cant afford to loose money this weekend’

It was a flop…

So we tucked tail and came home upset at the failure and a little unsure of what to do next. How is it possible that after all this time we are still struggling to make this work? Needless to say the first few days home were hard on both Tonia and I.

Then something happened…

Our direct up line leader and good friend was gunning for a new rank. Similar to our circumstance, she had been stuck at one rank for a little over 2 years and just couldn’t get past it. But through grit and determination she was able to push through and was now so close. We were the last pillar that needed to up its game otherwise she wouldn’t get there. The pressure was on!

It was in this pressure situation that we discovered something about our team. Something that makes me incredibly proud of every single one of them. Once everyone knew that we were the final team needed to make this happen people began to band together. In one week we sold more than we sell in a month. It was wild! Tonia keenly observed that our people have always wanted to help others and this was their opportunity. She said ‘Look, we have a team of humanitarians’

This was the graphic that Tonia had the honor of creating and posting to social media publicly announcing the news 

Not only did we hit the goal, we exceeded it! It was one of the best feelings I’ve had since we began this journey and something I will remember as a milestone. The month that we helped our up line achieve a LIFE CHANGING rank.

What’s better is that we now have a team who believes in themselves and who is working extra hard. There is a buzz in Team ESOS and it’s here to stay!

I recently caught one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s video’s where he discussed the importance of using gratitude and empathy as a strategy for marketing yourself, your brand and just your own personal happiness. It’s advice that resonated with me and something that I would like to be better at. Given the events of late this seems like a good time to practice!

What I am grateful for!

1️⃣ I am grateful for my wife who works her cute little french butt off every single day so we can have a life only imaginable in dreams.
2️⃣ I am grateful for the amazing women that are doing the same for themselves and their families
3️⃣ I am grateful to all the people who I have not yet met who will also want to change their lives in ways only imaginable in dreams
4️⃣ I am grateful for my mental and physical health

What I am empathetic for!

1️⃣ I am empathetic to the people on my team that are still learning and growing in ways that are uncomfortable, challenging, embarrassing and hard.
2️⃣ I am empathetic that not everyone will hustle/grind/bust their butts at a high level
3️⃣ I am empathetic to the fact that I will not grow as fast as some. In fact its imperative that Tonia and I grow more thoughtfully and intentionally so we can help support others be the ones who made it to the top in a short amount of time
4️⃣ I will be empathetic to myself when I fail as a leader/coach/mentor. I am still learning and will not always have the answers.

The last month has been wild (Tonia has been practicing replacing the word crazy with the word wild…thought I’d give it a try)

Stick with it, stay grateful, empathetic, hard working and disciplined. Why?

…because you just never know when It’s your time

With Purpose

-C

Spices & Smoke

Both Colin and I have been diving into our own spirituality a lot more lately. For myself, it’s been about reaching back into my past and uncovering or revisiting the woman I was becoming before influences of peers and noise redirected my path in another direction. As a young woman, pre teens and all throughout my teenage years, I was fascinated with astrology and spirituality. I also read many a Silvia Brown book back in my day, so curious about mediums and their ideas in relation to past, and even future lives. My intuition as a child was magical, but I also didn’t really understand it very well so at times it was a bit scary to me.

I don’t really remember exactly when I put all of this away. It must have happened gradually. Looking back, I can’t be upset about all of the time in between, but I can be grateful that my path led me back. Recently I’ve been finding myself very attracted to all things, put very affectionately, witchy. I want all of the crystals and stones, I am finding myself reading and studying my Tarot cards nearly everyday, and tonight I made my own smudge kit with fresh rosemary from my friend’s garden. What I would typically do is ignore those attractions and say things like, “not right now”. However, lately the magnetic force to these things is so strong that I just can’t ignore it anymore. I’m quite literally being pulled so hard towards these things that you can sometimes find me with my face smooshed up against books about something witchy trying desperately not to look so I don’t fall in love. That magnet is humungous.

I am connecting with groups of people who are all loving the same things as me and in these groups I am totally, 100%, unfiltered, raw me. The more I spend time in there, the more I am 100% unfiltered, raw me all of the time, everywhere.

All of these things make me really happy. They excite me. Why? I thought about this on the drive home from Vancouver today with a giant bag of freshly harvested rosemary from Geoff’s patio garden that he’d put aside for me. I’m slowly figuring out my own language again, awakening my intuition and following my heart. Decision making isn’t a painstaking process anymore because I’m developing this complete trust in myself – when you dig this deep, you heal some real shit you don’t recognize is way down at the root!

Relationships and friendships are stronger and better connected now. Intentions are always so good. I feel full almost all of the time, but in a good way. My interactions with people are kinder, more loving and to my surprise (and anyone who has known me for more than five minutes), I actually have a tiny bit (let’s not get wild over here) of patience. Now that is progress.

So now I have an entire kitchen table full of rosemary drying out, which will be used in some amazing winter cooking and I’ll probably make a few more rosemary smudge sticks. Colin and I actually put sage & rosemary essential oils (which we buy from Young Living) in our bedroom every night, which actually helps me to sleep. Both herbs are helpful with promoting healthy liver function – and if you’ve been following along with my personal health & spiritual journey, you’d know that one of my favourite people is my friend and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. We work a lot to release energies that seem to get stuck in my liver and gallbladder area, which manifests into digestive issues if I am not staying ahead of it.

So, the last few years, what I’ve actually been doing is basically a complete detox of my humanness. After the purge, while we were getting ready to The Beach House in October, a lot changed. There wasn’t as much clutter, which offered some space and room to make better decisions. To connect with myself. To have far more highs than lows. To make time in my day to wrap fresh rosemary into a smudge stick from the garden of one of my favourite friends after taking my husband on a day trip to Vancouver to see one of his favourite musicians for his birthday.

Tonight, reflecting on all of this, I feel so calm. Nothing about my life has ever been calm before. There has only ever been chaos. Who knew that it would be spices and smoke that would help to bring me back to this, with wide outstretched and loving arms, peace.

Also, now I have Cinders & Smoke stuck in my head because of the title of this blog. Now maybe you will, too!

With Purpose,

T

[Don’t] Pour Some Sugar on Me!

Generally speaking when discussing food and nutrition you will hear that the more simple you can make things the better. This makes total sense when referring to things like picking the ingredients for a banana bread recipe or looking at the ingredients on the back of a box. But sometimes simple is not always best.

What is a Carbohydrate?

Simply put, a carbohydrate is an energy source from your food that comes from starch, cellulose and sugar. Carbs are a necessary part of your diet as they assist in providing fuel for both your body and your brain. Without carbs your body will begin to look for energy sources elsewhere (fat and protein reserves) This process is called Ketosis and is the basis for diets such as the Atkins diet or a Ketogenic diet. The basis of these diets (or fasts) is to deprive your body of carbohydrates which will force you into pulling from fat reserves and voila, you’re thin!

However there’s a reason why these diets have proven to be problematic over the years. First and most importantly is that they do not set you up to have a long and healthy life. They are not teaching lifestyle changes, they are quick fixes to problems that will eventually come back up again. As an example, starving yourself from carbs will inevitably cause cravings. A craving is just a guilt word that we use when your body is in need of some form of nutrition. Do you have sugar cravings? Changes are you don’t need sugar, you need a healthy source of fuel (aka complex carbhydrates).

Secondly, when you deprive yourself of necessary nutrition your bodies natural reaction will be to slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down because your body thinks you are starving and instinctively holds onto food because it doesn’t know when the next nutrient rich meal will be. If you lower your metabolism on a Ketonic diet and then return to life as normal chances are you will gain a lot of weight, and fast! Other health problems of these types of diets include high cholesterol as they encourage higher fat intake for fuel. The problem with that is that most people do not get their fat from healthy sources.

Lastly and most simply you are malnourishing your body. Fat, protein, carbs, sugars, starches, trans fats, cholesterol, etc, etc. Your body needs it all. The goal is not to deprive but to find healthy substitutes, get them from the best sources possible, and listen to your body. Your body knows better than anyone!

What is a Complex Carbohydrate?

Simply put 🤓, a complex carbohydrate is a natural food source that is comprised of a long chain of simple carbs (three or more) linked together. Complex carbs contain things like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber. Because there is lots for your body to breakdown your will not experience a sudden spike in blood sugar rather a more sustained or continuous energy level through the day. Additionally, you are feeding your body essential vitamins and minerals which aid your body to perform optimally! You could eat all the kale in the world but if you are not absorbing the nutrients effectively then you will not be as healthy as you could be, also you’ll have a pretty dull diet!

Some good sources of complex carbohydrate foods are:

  • Eggs
  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • All vegetables
  • Whole grains (whole grain rice, oats, barley, quinoa)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Guacamole
  • Vegetable tapenades
  • Pickles (unsweetened)
  • Olives

What is a Simple Carbohydrate?

A simple carbohydrate is a food with only a few sugar molecules linked together.  Simple sugars are present in both natural and processed foods. Natural foods that contain simple sugars are fruits, vegetables and milk. However, these foods still contain vitamins and minerals which still makes them much better for you. Because these foods are simple carbohydrates they will give you a quick spike in energy.

Some good sources of simple sugars are:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Graefruit
  • Lemons
  • Honey
  • Unsweetened Yogurt

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The issue with simple carbohydrates is when they are used in processed foods. Specifically when the sugars are chemically extracted from their original food source and used as sweeteners or masking agents in food. Because these foods do not contain much if any nutritional value they are often referred to as ’empty calories’ as they provide your body with nothing more than calories. The source of sugar for these foods comes from high fructose corn syrup which has been showing to be very bad for you

High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a compound called High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. High Fructose Corn Syrup also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.

Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in the U.S is a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of high fructose corn syrup lead to many health issues, some of which are very serious and irreversible.

Some sources of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Sweetened Yogurt
  • Salad Dressing
  • Frozen Junk Foods
  • Breads
  • Canned Fruit
  • Juice
  • Granola Bars
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Sauces and Condiments
  • Jam and Jellies
  • Ice Cream

With Purpose

T & C

 

The Responsibility Of Freedom

Freedom, by definition, means to have the ability to think, do and speak without being stifled or held back in any way.

How can we get clear on what freedom really is? Thinking about the definition, it truly reflects all that we are able to do as a physical human, except sometimes the answers we offer for what freedom means, we include material things or even money. To truly feel free, we would be able to speak freely, act freely, think freely. There is quite a lot of responsibility wrapped up in that idea.

So what is required of us, as humans, before we can achieve freedom?

Here are my three thoughts on the Responsibilities (or laws) of Freedom.

Freedom Responsibility #1

We must all do the work.

hard work.jpg

We must take great care in the thoughts we think, the words we choose to use and the actions we take. Before we can do this, we must become aware, more compassionate people. Freedom, as suggested in the definition above, requires us to do no harm, even though it isn’t really suggested. In plain language, it is required of me to be the best version of myself, and that, my friends, is a constant and continuous work in progress.

How to do the work?

You read. A lot. You find mentors who have come before you that have already taken the steps necessary to get to where you want to go. You absorb information and then regurgitate it. Colin has recently started what he is dubbing his Growth Journal. Why is this important? For one, I think it allows you to taste how the words feel coming out of your own mouth, or in Colin’s case, and mine right now, through our fingertips and onto our blog space. You begin to understand your own emotions and thoughts better when they’re staring back at you. Some of your best aha moments are in discussion with wise friends, and other times in discussion with your wise self.

Making progress means turning inward and reflecting on the ideas you had, and then interpreting other people’s ideas that are both the same and different from yours. When you have a bigger picture, or a more worldly, or more Universal view, you have a much better grasp of how everything you do affects everything around you. You say less, but you mean more. You soften. You’re more thoughtful. You seek more often than you speak. So when you do have something to say, it’s naturally more eloquent and kind.

I think of Freedom Of Speech, as you might have too, and I can think of numerous times where that ‘freedom’ is not always used for good. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be meant to harm others, if it does, you’re encroaching on the freedom of others, which is not living with the intention of being free. You can’t have something at the expense of someone or something else. That is exchange, not freedom. (An interesting thought….)

So, when you’re doing the work to becoming the best version of yourself, some pain will come up, some grieving will happen, some confusion will arise. Accept them all for what they are, write about them, and keep going. Meditate. Observe them rather than feel them. Go to a hot yoga class with the intention of understanding one of these areas better. Start a blog, or write a new post about a revelation you’ve had, like when I wrote about my coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to become estranged from my mother in order to live, Leave Your Suitcase At The Door.

Freedom does not come after a wish upon a shooting star or the blown seeds of a dandelion. To achieve freedom, there is work.

Freedom Responsibility #2

Create more space

create space.jpg

Recently, Colin and I sold everything we own, with the exception of our guitars, about two dozen books, our computers, a 96 bottle wine rack (that has got to go soon, we were going to buy a house and have a cellar, but that seems to be more like a 10 year plan instead of a 3 year plan now), our essential oils & diffusers and of course, our clothes. We literally created an abundance of space.

However, this space is both physical and emotional. Our things, these inanimate objects, had taken on value that had been weighing on us, mostly me. I’d given my couch set the value of my independence, ironically giving away my independence completely. Selling those couches stirred up emotions of inadequacy. Insecurity. Would I still be an independent woman without my couches?

Well the short answer, is OBVS! How ridiculous, right? Except, we all have done this. Something we have purchased at a time of significance can take on the responsibility of representing an emotion to you. I thought that my couches represented the truth that I was, indeed, an independent woman. What I had failed to do was the create space for understanding why, first, I needed to have proof that I was an independent woman, and second, why I needed to attach myself to that thought.

I needed to go back and do the work!

Next thing, was to understand that feeling successful and independent is important to me, so my new space would have to be created in order to allow me to express, seek and talk through my ideas about success. I began to talk openly about this on my social media pages, telling my story and receiving information back from other people who could put themselves in my shoes. My people were getting me. I was not alone.

So I kept creating space. Creating this space meant to be open to a discussion about anything and removing the emotion to become an observer. Talking about something with other people who can offer more information, a new narrative besides the one in your own head. Create space so that you have more of it to allow you the room to grow. Release what isn’t serving you anymore, which includes a bunch of couches you don’t need (we moved into a fully furnished beach house, if you’re just joining us here on our blog!).

In order to be free, to feel truly free, you have to remember to always be creating new space. Everyone’s space with be created differently!

Freedom Responsibility #3

Never stop seeking.

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The most important responsibility, is to keep doing, to continue to seek love and information. To keep learning, growing, expanding, purging, cleaning up, creating space, meditating, moving forward, sharing, being vulnerable, being of service.

Read. Not novels, those too, but I mean really read. Seek new information, other peoples’ opinions. Schedule ZOOM or Skype dates, or phone calls with people you’ve connected with that inspire you. We live in an age where anyone is accessible! Take advantage of that and ask a new person in your life what their take is on something you’re working on. Ask for advice. and then when you’re ready, remove what you don’t need and keep what you do to make it your own. Always take an inventory of your thoughts, your surroundings, your materials things, your vocabulary and your relationships. What is serving you? And what isn’t?

Why do we want freedom anyway?

Being on the other side of worry, regret, and guilt from everything – truly understanding, or becoming to understand, what your reactions, thoughts, ideas, actions, words are all motivated by, creates an awareness that opens up an infinite space. I call this intuition. You learn to trust yourself in a way that gives you peace. You trust your first thought and go with it, because you’ve done the work in removing all self-doubt. You’ve created the space for intuitive thinking. You’re taking action that will move you forward without a second thought. This is freedom.

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And when you can harness these three responsibilities, opportunities are absolutely everywhere, and you’ll recognize them, because you are aware of them at every turn. You see yourself differently, but you also see others and the world differently. You no longer blame, you only experience. You’ll fall down a few times here and there, we’re human. So, you start back at number one and get back to work.

When you live in a freedom mindset, you can live anywhere and do anything you desire.

We do. You can, too.

With Purpose,

T

Plan Your Growth

Colin’s Growth Journal – 10/09/2017
Entry #1

Welcome to the first of what will be a long series of blogs from me. The intention behind this series will be for several reasons. First will be to treat this as a journal for myself and my thoughts. I’ve discovered the joys of blogging and found that in doing so I have begun to really understand the chaos that is in my head. Second is to hold myself accountable to continue to grow in all the ways that I know I need to. Third, is to hopefully inspire and help others who are looking to accomplish some of the same things.

I’ve been reading lately. I am not much of a reader. In fact, I think I may have read about a dozen books over the course of my life. Seriously! I’ve never really been interested in literature and if I do read I find my eyes becoming too heavy to read more than two pages in a row. To make matters worse, If I am able to make it a few pages in I often forget what I just read. My comprehension is crap!

So what changed?

I’m not entirely sure where it has come from but I’ve been feeling compelled to read lately. But not stories of fiction or history or the classics. I am reading self development books. Maybe its the muse inside me or my desire to find a mentor through the new phases of my life but whatever it is I am really enjoying it and want to keep the momentum going.

I am currently working through John C. Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. When I opened the book I began reading the introduction and on the very first page I read something that struck me. Mr.Maxwell began by discussing unfulfilled potential…

My friend Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he dies with the music still inside of him. That’s an apt description of unfulfilled potential. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you.

Maybe it’s the musician in me or maybe it’s just the time in my life, but I don’t want to die with the music inside of me.

The Laws of Intentionality

The first chapter discusses being intentional about your growth. Perhaps this is another reason I chose to begin this series of blogs. If I was to understand the chaos in my head further and intentionally grow why not combat one of my weaknesses (accountability and consistency) with one of my strengths (blogging and using technology)

One of the exercises is to identify what he calls your ‘growth gaps’ There are 7 gaps that hold people back from making decisions necessary for growth. They are as follows:
*I am guilty of the ones highlighted

  1. The Assumption Gap – I assume that I will automatically grow
  2. The Knowledge Gap – I don’t know how to grow
  3. The Timing Gap – It’s not the right time to begin
  4. The Mistake Gap – I’m afraid of making mistakes
  5. The Inspiration Gap – I don’t feel like it
  6. The Comparison Gap – Others are better
  7. The Expectation Gap – I thought it would be easier than this

Now that I am aware of the gaps I am better equipped to deal with them when they come up. As an example, I’ve been saying for a long time that I wanted to begin a more movement based fitness routine. Similar to the teachings of Ido Portal or GMB Fintess. However I’ve been saying ‘After I’ve done a little more research on the movements then I’ll start it. Also I’ll be better equipped to start it when I move into the new house’ Right in that statement alone I was guilty of both the Knowledge Gap and the Timing Gap.

Plan Your Growth

The next thing is to create a growth calendar. If you do not plan your growth how do you expect to grow. By doing this simple exercise I was able to identify that I have about 29 hrs per week of potential growth time (outside of my regular work). Imagine all the things you could do for yourself with an extra 29 hrs per week?!

There are 4 areas that I want to grow in:

  1. Fintess
  2. Music
  3. Personal Development
  4. Business

Each one of these categories  can be broken down into sub categories which I will get into more detail in later blogs. Now that I know the 4 areas that I want to improve upon I can easily cross reference my monthly work schedule. Below is how the month of October looks for me:

OctoberSchedule

After spending an evening developing my schedule I printed it up and put it on the fridge! Now every morning I can double check exactly what I have to do for the day. It’s perfect!