From Here to There

I don’t know why this is stuck in my head but it is. It’s an email that my dad sent out to me and my siblings where he referred to me as Kimmie. No big deal, he and my brothers have always called me that. What stuck out was how he spelled it. He spelled it Kimmie, I spell it Kimmy. The same and yet different.  Does it matter? Not really but then why did it stick with me?

KimmieThis got me thinking about all the different ways people refer to me. My friends call me Kim, Kimba, and Skripps. My mother, my aunts, and my grandmother call me Kimberly. My Pop-Pop calls me K.C. My dad and brothers call me Kimmy(ie). My children call me Mom. Some call me Mrs. Manning.  I am not sure what my husband calls me but I am sure he has a few choice names that cannot be repeated here 🙂 Really, I think he calls me Skripps or Kim. I have never really paid attention to it. I will have to be more aware of that later.

Then, this line of thinking led to thoughts about all the different roles we play. We are different things to different people. Our roles change. I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, confidente, teacher, caretaker (lol), pet owner, vendor, customer, etc. I am all these things and I am just me. Me without any of those labels.

Each of these roles is a piece of me. Sometimes we change but we are still the same individual. No one role defines who we are. We are the culmination of all these things plus those parts that no one knows about, those private inner parts of ourselves.

I like to think of each of us as individuals with all these little pieces of ourselves that we share with others. Some people know one only piece, others may know multiple pieces. Deep inside is an inner soul that is our essence, our heart; an undefinable part of us that makes each of us a true individual.

Yes, there is more…This gets me thinking of people who feel stuck in a particular role or allow others to define who they are. Don’t let that happen. You are not what one person thinks you are, even if that person is a parent or someone who has known you all your life. That is still only one little piece. We are all so much more than what any one person thinks we are. We are always changing and always growing.  Or we should be. By exploring different aspects of ourselves throughout our life, we get to have new experiences, try on different roles, enjoy different phases of our life and emotional development. How cool is that?

As I wind down my thoughts, I am aware that I have just shared a piece of myself that not everyone knows about. That part of my brain that can travel from A-Z in lightning speed. Where each thought leads to a new thought like branches on a tree. How in the world do I read the word “Kimmie” and wind up discussing the importance of honoring the journey of life? Well, I just did.

Just know you are one of the lucky ones. At least this time I shared my steps or thought process. At home, I don’t because it happens too fast and then get frustrated because no one knows what I am talking about. Somehow I expect people to understand my train of thought without having traveled that weird and windy road. Just ask my husband.

 

 

 

 

An Unanswered Prayer

Have you ever heard the song “Unanswered Prayer” by Garth Brooks? If not, check it out above. It’s a great song about how not getting what you want can be the best thing for you in the long run. This is really hitting home today. Why? Because today I learned that I didn’t get the job I wanted. This is always a tough blow to the ego. However, in reality, I still have a couple other opportunities available to me.  I had three doors, 1 just shut. But I still have 3 doors. B, C, and none of the above (aka the freedom to go a totally different direction). I just am not sure which way to turn. I thought I had made my decision, seems it was not so. Ugh!

Decision-making is not easy for me. Heck, as I type I realize that maybe learning to trust my instincts in making decisions is part of this learning process. The ever present battle between gut/instincts and the brain/analytical thought. I know to trust my gut but my brain is so loud, it makes it hard to feel my instincts. Here is where meditation comes in handy. Quiet the mind, listen to your heart. Believe me, it’s on my to-do list for later!

I do feel some disappointment because everything seemed to be falling into place so perfectly.  Why would those stars align if it wasn’t meant to be?  I wonder what this particular experience was for. What was it supposed to teach me? Maybe it was to test my resolve. Maybe it was to help me figure out what I really wanted. These are not things I can know right now…I will just have to wait.

I do fully trust that the right thing for me is coming. In fact, I know it is. This was just a curve ball or was it? Life IS a journey full of twists and turns. It will be interesting to see where I end up.  I am lucky to have these options. I am lucky to have the support of my friends and family.

Anytime I feel that teary eye coming on, whether from disappointment from not getting job, frustration of having to continue this process, fear of the unknown, or whatever emotion wells up during this time of upheaval, I will know that it will all work out.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

The Insecure Confident Woman

Last year a friend of mine told me I was the most insecure confident person she knew.  I was not offended. Instead I was impressed by her assessment because she was right on. I had just never noticed it outwardly. However, it’s true.  I can be very confident in some things and very insecure with others….some times I am both with the same thing. Maybe everyone is like that or maybe I am more extreme or more noticeable. I really don’t know. What I do know is that dichotomy has been the story of my life and maybe what keeps me balanced.

If I were totally confident in everything I did, my ego may get a little out of control. If I was insecure about everything…well, that’s just unhealthy. (It’s important not to let negative self-talk take over.)  So maybe these 2 parts of my personality work with each other to make sure to keep me in check?

What’s funny about this dichotomy is how often I see it in my life. In the 90’s I took the personality test in “Life Colors: What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal” by Pamala Oslie.  I came up with 2 mental colors. Yes, 2 and yes, mental. I couldn’t have had a mental and a creative…no, I had to have 2 mental colors. Not sure if this would fit me today but I am sure some of it would. The funniest thing about that quiz was the relationship part with my husband, then boyfriend. It described our relationship (based on our Aura’s) as this…

I tell him what to do.  He does it.  I don’t respect him.

OR

I tell him what to do. He ignores me.  He does what he wants to do.  I respect him.

Now, that’s crazy, huh? But it really is the essence of our relationship. Even to this day. After 18 years, in seems to work or have worked itself out. I don’t even notice it anymore. Although he might 🙂

Even in Ayurveda, I have 2 equally strong doshas. Pitta and Vata

stcroix-6040I know all this to be a true reflection of who I am. This really is the essence of Kim. I feel this push and pull of the two parts of my personality. When I spend too much time alone or working on mental project, I get unbalanced and have to make time for some creative and social outlets. Vice Versa: when I am socializing a lot, I get tired and drained and have a need for quiet solitude so I can regroup. I think many people are like this but maintaining the balance for me is a must.

I think this is why I love yoga so much. The practice of yoga incorporates a balance between the Asana’s (physical poses) and the spiritual practice. Mental and Physical.

I really do think the purpose of these 2 sides of me is to keep me balanced. When I was younger I sometimes felt confused…maybe I should be one or the other. Am I a creative person who was lead to be an analyst or an analyst who really wants to be creative. Really, I am both and I have to make sure to nuture both.

The lesson here is to honor yourself. Each of us is a unique character and we cannot try to change ourselves because it seems better to be like someone else.  Look inside and really find what makes you you and stick with that. Even all the weird parts. Those can be the best parts!

So yes, I am the insecure confident person.  I have confidence and humility.  I am ok with that. I am also okay that people know that about me and it’s noticeable. It’s what make me ME.

 

Memorial Day 2015 – on being grateful

Memorial Day on the Common

Memorial Day on the Common

Today is Memorial Day. A day to remember and honor those brave men and women of the Armed Forces who died fighting for our country and our freedoms. The choices they made have given us the freedom and ability to make our own choices. We should be very thankful and grateful for their sacrifice.

In essence today is also a day of gratitude. Gratitude is expressing appreciation for what we have. This is a powerfully positive way of thinking, this gratitude. We should be celebrating our lost loves by honoring their lives and the gifts they have given us by showing great appreciation in the way we live. This shouldn’t be expressed a couple times a year but every day, in every gesture. Expressing gratitude and gratefulness increases empathy and optimism, two things we could use more of in this world of ours.

Why don’t more people practice gratitude more? Why do so many people focus on what they don’t have or what they want or what others have?  Why do so many people just complain? I can understand a homeless person wanting a home or food. Those are basic needs. I am talking about the person who has all their needs covered but just keeps wanting more. They complain about what they don’t have and what others do have. Ick! I think … get over yourself!

The moment we stop and appreciate what we have, is the moment we can start feeling at peace in our heart. We can create a calm space in our mind and in our lives. What others do is no consequence to us. We are each on our own journey. We only need to focus on our journey, our choices.

Today, I…

Take a minute.

Go outside.

Take a deep breath.

Smell the fresh air.

Notice the smells, the sounds, the feel of being outside.

Notice myself in the world.

I am alive.

Alive is good.

It means I have choices.

Each day is a new opportunity.

Each day is a clean slate.

Each day I can be better.

Each day I can choose to be happy.

Each day I can be grateful.

Today, I will be grateful that we have brave heroes.

Today, I will be grateful to families who lost loved ones to war.

Today, be grateful for all I have.

And I will do this again, tomorrow.

As I sit outside this morning, I am grateful for my family, my health, my pets. I am grateful to have a roof over my head and food on the table. I am grateful that I can relax in my yard and enjoy all that nature has to offer. I am grateful for my camera, which helps me see life through a different lens. I am grateful for good friends and opportunities to be the best me I can be. I am grateful to all my ‘teachers’.  I am grateful that selfless men and women felt that our country was important enough to defend and protect.

Today, I am just grateful.

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Bauer, my Brittany

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my morning outside

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Socko cuddling up

 

Raw Beet Salad with Apple and Zucchini Recipe

Yesterday I gushed about my spiralizer. My Aunt Rho asked for the recipe so I thought I would share it today. You can make this recipe with or without a spiralizer. I usually julienne my ingredients.

Sometimes a recipe is hard for me to share because I rarely follow one. The raw beet salad with apple and zucchini is a combination pulled from 2-4 recipes, or even more.  I cruise Pinterest and cookbooks and take what I need from many different ones.

blog-7082You can make this with or without the apple and/or zucchini. For instance, the Superfood Bowl recipe calls for spinach, almonds, avocado, and edamame. Others may call for cheese or seeds/nuts. I like to be able to eat left-overs so I may leave items out that won’t last or whose consistency will change for the worse after cutting.

I am not a big measurer either. I don’t measure my juices, I just juice and taste. Measuring is too formal me. This is why I don’t bake. Things have to be measured in baking and I hate that level of perfection. It feels confining and takes the creativity out of cooking for me. I would rather throw in a pinch of this, a handful of that, and eyeball what I need.  Just remember to start small. You can always add more but you can not always take out.

my large beet

my large beet

What I do find hard when following a recipe is the size of a vegetable. That is sooooo subjective. The size of the vegetables depends on your supplier. A large zucchini could be the size of a large banana or the size of a freaking loaf of bread.  Apples are pretty consistent so that’s not a problem. Just use the ratio you like. You can always add more.

For beets, I figured out a size comparison. Large beet is about the size of a baseball or larger. A small beet is like a golf ball, and a medium one is in between.

Remember cooking can be relaxing and a creative process. Don’t worry about amounts, use what you have.  I have found that 1 large beet can go a long way.

So this recipe is a guideline. You can use your own dressing or chose from one of the ones I have listed below. I really like orange in the dressing with beets. It’s really a great combination but I also like to mix things up from time to time. I also think I added oil to Dressing #1. You can use Olive Oil. I may have used Avocado Oil. You really can’t go wrong. Play with it. See what cool variations you come up with.

Mangia!

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Raw Beet Salad with Apple and Zucchini – the salad

1 large raw beet (spiraled, chopped, or julienned) or 2 medium

1 apple (prepared same as beet)

1/2-1 small zucchini (prepared like the beet) – about 1/2 – 1 cup, depending on your tastes

1 large shallot or 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

 

 

IMG_1594Dressing Option #1

Beet Superfood Bowl from Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci 

  • 1/4 cup apple cide vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper

I may have added oil

 

Dressing Option#2

Raw Citrus Beet Salad from Self Proclaimed Foodie Blog

http://selfproclaimedfoodie.com/raw-citrus-beet-salad/

  • 1 valencia orange with zest
  • 1 lime with zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup chives, minced

My New Veggie Spiralizer

Paderno Spiralizer

Paderno Spiralizer

For Mother’s Day my husband got me a Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer. I know it sounds cliche to get the wife a kitchen tool but I wanted one and had almost bought it myself. Funny thing is he didn’t even know I wanted one. We just happened to read the same magazine article about it and both thought it would be a great tool.  It is!

The Paderno spiralizer comes with 3 blades and is easy to clean and use.  I think we paid about $30 on Amazon and right now they are selling on Amazon for $26.47. I thought they would have cost more. The long term durability and actual usage are to be determined.

mushroom-like beet core

mushroom-like beet core

The first dish I prepared using my spiralizer was a raw beet and apple salad with a citrus dressing. I used my “spaghetti” blade to spiralize the raw beets, apple and zucchini. It was fun, easy, and pretty cool. When I spiraled my beets, I got this little mushroom looking core as a result. The veggie “noodles” are quite pretty and sturdy.

The same day I used my new spiralizer, Jeff’s cousin, Lynn, and my friend, Charlene, posted pictures of zucchini dishes they made using their spiralizers. One made a “pasta” type dish with mushrooms and tomatoes and the other made a zucchini “pasta” dish with a mango, avocado, and rosemary sauce. Now doesn’t that sound great?

If you ever wanted to try one of these tools, I recommend it. A great alternative to pasta and it’s really easy. Even the hard beets were easy to slice.

If you have any recipes, please share!

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Media and Body Image

Yesterday I was working on a lesson plan on body image and the media. So, I went to the store to pick up magazines for our class. My goal is to help them understand the mixed messages that the media sends us about our bodies.

Have you been to a magazine rack lately? You have the teen section, the wedding section, the health section, men, women, science, and other categories. Because I was focused on body image I started to look at all these magazines through that lens, especially the health magazines.

What I found was scary… steroid-jacked men, perfectly thin tanned bodies, abnormally youthful skin on older women, perfect skin on teens and young adults, eyes that could penetrate a wall. Remember these images are digitally enhanced but we are made to think that we should look like this to be our best. UGH! I never really paid attention to this before. And I never looked at them through the eyes of being manipulated.

Not only are we inundated with messages about what an ideal body is for both men and women, we are also being sent messages about what is healthy. MANY of the “health” magazines didn’t focus on health at all, they focused on having an “ideal” body. (flat abs, muscle definition, tight buns) There is no such thing as an “ideal” body. We are all unique and come in different sizes and shapes.  I will never be 5’7″ nor will I be 5’3″…I am 5’5″. 5’5″ is ideal for me!

untitled shoot-6941When I was shopping I forgot to photograph the covers of some of these “health” magazines. So, I just googled “health magazine”.  I got 7 instant images of magazines such as Health, Natural Health, and Women’s Health.  What were the big headlines? Look Great Naked, Boost Your Energy, Eat Your Way Slim, Weekend Skin Detox, Lose 5 lbs, Drop 15 lbs Fast, and Get a Flat Belly Fast.  Only a couple of these sound like health articles to me. Eat Your Way Slim? Really…slim is not always healthy, not for everyone. I know slim people who are extremely unhealthy. Drop 15 lbs Fast? Well, that’s not a healthy approach to weight loss, in fact, it can be quite dangerous.

Health is not about your appearance. It is about the balance of your mental and physical state.  If you eat a healthy, balanced diet and get regular exercise, you will be physically healthy. If you eat processed, cheap foods and never exercise, you will not be healthy.

I like to see the trend towards models with normal bodies such as the Dove advertising campaign. I like that more and more celebrities are chosing to skip the photoshop and appear in their real bodies. But, we have a long way to go.

Our teens are most susceptible to the messages because they are still trying to find who they are. Their bodies are going through dramatic changes and they have hormones running rampant. We need to make sure we set them up to succeed and love themselves in spite of the messages our media present. We need to teach them to think critically about what they see, hear and read. We need to help them develop self-esteem and the confidence to be themselves. That’s our job, as parents and as a society.

Let’s start to focus on health, not appearance. Love and self-love, not judgement. This starts with us adults. Let’s lead by example!

 

 

 

My New Perspective on Dandelions

Last year I decided that we were not going to use anymore weed killer or pesticides. Vinegar and other natural, non-toxic formulations would be okay.  My neighbors and my husband are not too fond of this decree as our yard slowly becomes a field of yellow dandelions. But I kinda like it. We have a large yard and seeing it spotted with yellow is pretty and makes me feel good about how I am positively contributing to the health of our environment.

my dandelion garden

my dandelion garden

If you think about it, why are we so determined to kill dandelions? Dandelions are flowers, they are a source of nutrients for bees, and they are edible. Why kill off a food source for multiple species?

The problem is perspective. It all depends on how you look at it. If you see them as terrible weeds ruining your perfectly manicured green lawn then yes, you might not like them. But if you see them as flowers, food, and a positive part of the cycle of life, they can be beautiful.

Why is a clean green lawn considered desirable? The fact that is that a lawn devoid of trees increases run-off and erosion.  Not to mention the environmental effects of watering and applying chemicals to the lawn to keep it pretty. Luckily, there are environmentally friendly ways to do this.

I say instead of letting dandelions ruin your day, let them brighten your day. Think of them for the positive things they do for you and your environment.

Everything is a matter of perspective!

Social Ecological Factors Affecting Your Health

Have you ever tried to lose weight, quit smoking, or change some other health behavior and were unsuccessful? Contrary to what people may say, it may not be all your fault. We are influenced by many things, both positive and negative, that can affect our ability to change our behaviors, especially health behaviors.

Fig: Social Ecological Model

Fig: Social Ecological Model

In health education, this is called the Social Ecological Model. Because we live in a social environment, we are affected by different layers of (social) relationships. These different factors or layers of relationships are Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Insitutional/Organizational, Community, and Public Policy.

Intrapersonal is the self. This includes your genetics, gender, age, socioeconomic status, beliefs, knowledge, etc.  These personal attributes affect your health and your ability to change your health. These intrapersonal factors are your core.  You have the most control over this aspect of your life, but not entirely. For instance, you have no control over your age. An older person may be more likely to get a disease, like alzheimers, than a younger person. Men and women have different problems and suffer from different diseases.

Interpersonal is made up of your friends, family, and peers. These relationships have a huge amount of influence over your behaviors. They can help or hinder your ability to change. For instance, children rely on their parents and other adults to feed them. They don’t have a lot of control over what they eat. Another example is if you are a smoker and want to stop but your friends and/or family continue to smoke around you, it may be harder for you to change. If you are trying to stop drinking alcohol but your entirely social life exists in a bar, then you may have to re-examine this aspect of your social life. It is important to develop a plan or strategy to deal with these scenarios if you are going to be successful in your behavior change.

The Institutional, or Organizational, level is made up of those organized groups to which we belong. They include our work, school, churches, clubs, etc.  These groups have written or unwritten “rules” that as a member we abide by. There is also a set of social norms that are apart of these institutions. Take work for example. If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthier and your work cafeteria only offers greasy, fried and unhealthy foods, you are more likely to eat those foods. You could bring your lunch but if you forget your options are not good. It also takes a lot of willpower to avoid those foods while watching everyone else eat them. However, if your work offered only healthy food, it would be easier for you to eat healthy because you have easy access to it. If your work has a no smoking policy, it will be easier for you to quit and they are making it harder for you to continue.

Your Community is your outward environment; your town infrastructure, social networks, and broad social norms/beliefs.  It is hard to go outside and exercise if you live in a neighborhood riddled with violence and gangs. On the other hand, if you live somewhere that has access to parks, sidewalks, bike paths, gyms, pools, etc, you are more likely to engage in those activities.  Look at your community. Do you have fast food restaurants or healthy ones? Can you go for a walk at work or at home?  Does your town support healthy activities like road races, bike events, and sports? I live in a town with a lot of health nuts and athletes. You cannot drive through town without passing someone walking, running, or riding a bike.  If you want to find someone to exercise with, you can. The social norm is for healthy habits. I would not dare send my child to school with a hostess twinkie. In another school, a child may be embarassed to bring granola.  Each community is different and does affect your behavior.

Public Policy are those local, state and federal laws that affect our health and health behaviors. When I was young we did not use seat belts. We could ride in the back of my dad’s pick up truck, hanging off the edge. Not today! As much as some do not like being told that HAVE to use a seatbelt, the seatbelt laws have been successful in saving lives, reducing the number of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. These laws did make a positive impact. Today, we don’t think twice about using seatbelts. Even I feel naked without it. This is a behavior change affected by public policy.

So what does this mean? It means that when you want to make a change, you really are being influenced by many factors and you must take them all into consideration. In order to be successful, you need to look at the different people, places, and things affecting your ability to change and have a plan of action. Otherwise, you can lose your ground just because you weren’t prepared.

Health Educators and Health Coaches are trained to help people identify and evaluate these factors and develop strategies and anticipatory plans to deal with these social ecological influences.

 

 

Blogging Journey

In the past week, I have a had a number of people come up to me and tell me that my blog is inspiring them to take the same leap and start their own blog. So I thought I would share what I did to get started and maybe this will help others to take that leap.

To begin with, it took me over a year to get the nerve to start a blog. I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to write about or the stamina to keep it going. This is still to be determined. I also wanted to make sure I was writing from my heart and in my own voice. I just wasn’t sure what that voice was.

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My tools: my journal and nice cup of tea

I started paying attention to what I was posting on Facebook. I became aware of how much inspiration I could derive from social media, news, websites, magazines, and just life around me. I realized it was actually a lot. So I started to keep a list of ideas in a notebook and pinned ideas on Pinterest.

What took me from idea to doing? A friend saw my Healing Through Photography class and recommended I check out Susannah Conway because she is a popular blogger and we had some similar interests.  I emailed Susannah and asked if she had any advice and she replied that I needed an online presence. There you go…the push I needed to take the next step.

At that point I started thinking about my needs and blogging platforms. I chose WordPress because I wanted a website so I could combine my blogging, wellness resources, and classes in one place. I started with a template and just took my time adding features as I figured it out. I also signed up for one of Susannah’s online course called Blogging From the Heart. So far so good. She has great advice in a supportive and loving online environment. I highly recommend this e-class.

The hardest part was finding a URL. I got brainstorming help from friends and family and the rest is history. I have found it very easy to find ideas. Sometimes I have more than one idea and other days I am stumped and I just skip those day(s). There are no rules. I am figuring out what works for me as I go.

I think it is important to keep it fun and don’t put pressure on yourself to be or compare yourself to someone else. Many of these bloggers have been doing it for a while and are experienced writers. Just be yourself. Do it for yourself, the rest will follow.  Don’t let your fears stop you. The worse that can happen is you decide to stop blogging. Big deal! The best that happens is you love it.

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My creative space overlooking my domain, which bring me endless ideas