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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oh the Humanity!

You know what sucks? Chronic pain, that's what. Any person that suffers with chronic pain is already starting to nod their head...I can feel it. I went to the waterpark yesterday and I feel like I was run over 10 times by a very large truck. You'd think the sunburn would be my ailment but no...it's all my connective tissues. Stupid fibro. I guess it could be worse...in fact I know it could be. So I'll count my lucky stars (or blessings rather) that I don't suffer as bad as some people have to. Normally I'd be jonesin' for a pain pill to block my aching woes but instead I've found some natural things that work wonders: a warm bath with epsom salts, anti-inflammatory foods, yoga (really..yoga is fantastic to stretch out all those tight and aching muscles), massage, trigger point therapy and something called the morphine bomb. Morphine bomb? Yes. No, it doesn't have actual morphine, but instead has three oils that really help with pain and overall inflamation.


Here's the thing: you have to use it consistently. Unlike normal painkillers (don't get me wrong..those can be fun. But we gotta think about our livers people), you don't really feel the affects immediately. But over just a few short days of taking it consistently, you will notice results. Your overall pain will be decreased (or gone), you will be able to tell a difference in your inflammation levels, and you will notice that you just feel pretty darn good. Even your mood will be elevated. I love it. Seriously, I do. I ran out of Frankincense and pitched a whiny fit while I waited for my next bottle to come in the mail. And the pain came back because I couldn't take it. Ugh. Get it together Brewer! Note to self: DON'T RUN OUT EVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU ARE HEALED OF CHRONIC PAIN! Yeesh. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crispy Fried



No...I'm not talking about chicken (mmmm....fried chicken). We're talking about my skin. Ouch. Today we went to the waterpark in Canandaigua. I really tried to stay in the shade but obviously that plan didn't pan out. I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad except that I literally have spent zero time in the sun this summer. Zero. Not good for skin health. Speaking of health, I continued my streak with "waterpark food"..you know, a fried "veggie" burger and french fries washed down with a mountain dew. Food-wise I would call this day a fail, but at least I had fun...right? Fun counts for something?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallows' Eve

Well, it's that time again. Everybody's all costumes and jack-o-lanterns and I'm just over here munching on a snickers bar for breakfast.  There's something about Halloween that gives guiltless permission to consume a not-so-healthy amount of chocolate though, so who can hate on that?

Speaking of Halloween, it recalls one particular story to mind. I was 15, and had just been asked by my mother (who had a 2 month old baby) to take my 10 year old brother and his friend out to trick-or-treat.  No problem.  We had a good neighborhood for it, after all. So off we went...them all costumed up and me full of teenage attitude. At some point during the night, we found ourselves walking along a darker stretch of road.  Just up ahead I heard a dragging sound...a metal type of sound.  A shadow was moving up ahead, and as he passed under a street light my heart flew up somewhere around my eyeballs. The mask, in my memory at least (which cannot always be trusted), was some weird cross between ALF and the faces from those creatures in "The Village."  And that dragging sound?  He was dragging a huge-as-crap metal chain behind him.

I'd like to take a brief time-out here to explain a few Jilly-isms to any who are not aware. First of all, I am highly sensitive and afraid of things that can be completely ridiculous. I can't do haunted houses. I can't watch scary movies. I don't like windows that aren't covered up at night. I can't even watch action movies that have more than just a little blood in them. I search every possible place a person could be hiding when I get home (I mean...I'd rather face them head-on then have a horror movie moment when they sneak up behind me on the couch).  I don't pull up window-to-window with another car at a stop-light just in case they have the sudden urge to shoot at me. There are more. Many more.  I know, you don't have to say it.

Back to guy with chain. Jacob or Griffin may have said something about him to me, but I was so zeroed in on that dude that I couldn't tell you what it was. He must have heard us behind him, because suddenly he turned, looked at us, and ran into a yard and out of sight. ALL of my Jilly-senses were going off, pinging around my head and body like electricity gone wild. As we got closer, he suddenly jumped out and started chasing us.  We (and by we I really mean me) turned right around on our heels and booked it in the other direction. Confession:  This was admittedly a bad-sister moment for me.  I'll be honest in saying I had no idea if those two kids were even still behind me.  I was just running like the wind...you know...self-preservation. It only took a few seconds to remember that I should be worried about my brother. I looked over my shoulder and luckily they were keeping up with me pretty well. One of them lost whatever hat they were wearing, and maybe some sunglasses. We weren't turning back. I was relieved to find out that they were just as scared as I was (I'd gotten a lot of flack from my siblings and friends over my scaredy-pants issues over the years). Of course they were only 10 so I'm not sure that tips the scale in my favor at all. Needless to say, we were done trick-or-treating that night.  We went back to my parent's house, excitedly telling the rest of my family what had just happened. And you know what? We still tell that story. 

Happy Halloween everybody! Ya'll be safe now, you hear?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Beginnings (From jack and jilly)

Today marks a new beginning.  And I’m highly excited…like can’t even sleep more than 5 hours excited.  Today I embark on a journey of health and healing.  How will I do this? Well, I am starting with a 40 day juice fast.  Some of you may think I’m crazy, and I don’t care.  If you feel the need to tell me what I’m doing is wrong, please make sure your comments are heavily steeped and backed by some serious research, because I have done mine for a long time and know that this is my next step. Or better yet, feel free to keep your comments to yourself.  It won’t sway me and I don’t need the negativity in my life.  So..now that the disclaimer is out of the way…I know this will be difficult..especially in the beginning.  This is a cleanse of the body/mind/spirit.  And I couldn’t be more ready.
This morning as I was laying in my bed pondering getting up or continuing to pretend that I was actually sleeping, I picked up my phone to glance at the calendar…and then realized the date.  And then I laughed. Out loud. February 19th.  What is the significance?  On this day four years ago I suffered a traumatic experience that left me with PTSD and set off a series of events and health troubles that led me to where I am today…desperate for healing and change.  I laughed because I didn’t plan on starting my fast on this date in particular…in fact it never even crossed my mind.  What a better day to begin anew?! Maybe February 19th will no longer be a marker for how many years I’ve been in panic-attack-and-depression hell and will now be a marker for when my life began again.  So I guess the date couldn’t be more perfect! Ready, Set, Go!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Invitation

The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer


It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.  I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.  I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon, "YES!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.  I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here.  I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who do you Be?

One of the most interesting conversations I have with myself while taking personal inventory is about who I “be”. I believe that who I be is always a choice and never the result of my circumstances. Please don’t take this to mean I’m a master of my emotions. I’m actually quite horrible at remembering to choose my way of being. Just picture an unpredictable roller coaster and put my name on it. Despite that, there is still a sense of empowerment in knowing that with practice, we can choose who we be in any moment or situation. For instance, maybe I’ll choose to be loving today, or inspirational, or silly. Maybe I’ll decide that my goal for the whole day is to grin like an idiot at everyone I see and watch their reactions. Don’t you just want to run out and test that? Unfortunately, we can also choose to be in a negative pattern of being. And that, my friends, is where I have been for a very long time. I’ll admit it…I felt sick and broken and I wanted people to recognize I felt sick and broken. I wanted people to get my pain so I didn’t feel alone in it, thinking that if people felt sorry for me just a bit I would feel better. You know what? I didn’t feel better. All I felt was more negativity with a side of guilt for being a complainer and an energy vampire. I want to be someone who breathes life into people I come in contact with, not the sucker of their life-force energy. I realized that I was stuck in victim mode. Oh I talked about getting out. I even had brilliant bursts of relief where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But traveling upwards is difficult when there is no action involved. I was all talk and no action. Yeesh.
I remember several (as in like 6) years ago a time where I was much more conscious about who I was being. I created a “Be” jar with my friend/roommate. We typed ways of being on individual slips of paper and put them all in a decorated glass jar. Every morning we would each draw a slip and that would be our assignment for the day. It was fun and very freeing. It took work to maintain it throughout the day…some days were successful and others weren’t. But it was practice and inspired awareness. The lesson here is this: We have choice. It is the way God designed it to be, for us to have agency. We have the freedom to choose good things and positive energy or victim-mode and darkness. And we can choose no matter our circumstances. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we react and our thought processes. And it is ours. People can always take away our stuff, but they can’t take away who we are. Not ever. Maybe I’ll go make a new “be” jar….

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Journey to Joyful

Check out the beginning of my journey to a more joyful life! Just hop over to jackandjilly.org

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dwelling in the Amazing

Things with me are, well, different. In a good way. In fact, so far this month has felt almost like a vacation. Let me explain.
   As we are all aware, the past several years have been really rough on me. I look back and all I see is a giant black hole. Or maybe it's more like one of those hypnotizing spiral thingies that aren't really moving but look like they are. Don't get me wrong, I've had some great experiences mixed in with the darkness, but either way...its been really hard. Like take my soul to the edge of my existence hard. After dealing with panic attacks and anxiety on the regular for several years, I finally got desperate enough to try medication. That was back in July. Happy Birthday to me. Since then, an amazing series of events has occurred that has, in a way, set me free. No doubt the Lord is looking out for me. I landed a new job that SIGNIFICANTLY lowered my stress, allows me to have a normal life schedule, a social life, etc. And after realizing that my medication was no longer serving me and probably making my symptoms worse, I decided I was finally in a good position to come off of it. I tapered off over the course of about a month, and then made the leap to being medication free. The first night was rough. My insomnia returned, along with the night tremors and sleep starts I began experiencing back in Utah. So I would take things like benedryl or tylenol pm to help me go to sleep. You know what I use now? NOTHING. It's pretty fantastic.
    For years I have been studying nutrition and how it works in our bodies to promote healing and optimal health. Last year I studied quite a bit about raw foods and the power eating our vegetables uncooked can give us. I felt inspired to move towards this type of lifestyle, but was so caught up in the stress of not sleeping and my job at the time to do anything about it. I just wasn't ready. While I've been studying nutrition and believe wholeheartedly that food can be used as medicine...that our bodies are made to heal themselves if given the proper fuel and other tools like exercise and sleep...I haven't been practicing it. I allowed myself to dwell in the darkness that is "victim", allowing my circumstances to control me. I allowed horrible foods to enter my mouth, even though I knew that my body is sensitive to certain things. All this unhealthiness not only affected my physical and mental self, it greatly affected, or infected rather, my spiritual self and my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior. Because I know our souls are the combination of our body and spirit, I realized that what was really wrong with me was that I suffered from an infection of the soul. Body, mind and spirit.
    I normally don't do resolutions at the new year. This year, however, I declared a year of healing. And not my usual declaration that sounded great and inspired but then prompted no action. But a real declaration. That to get healthy, I had to "be" healthy. Thus, I started using food as medicine. I know my body well through trial and error, so I knew that what I needed was 5 to 6 meals a day consisting of lean protein and plenty of veggies. I try to eat them raw (the veggies, not the protein...don't worry) as much as possible. The only fruit I really eat is apples and blueberries (usually I freeze them and eat them as a treat if I crave anything sweet). Right now, my body is rejecting most grains and starches...even starchy vegetables. So if I have them at all its maybe two or three times a week.
   I've been doing this for 3 weeks now and so far my moods have stabilized, my anxiety has become almost non-existent, and my panic attacks are far and few between. While sleep isn't quite where I'd like it to be yet, I can generally fall asleep on my own and am waking up fewer times throughout the night. I also started exercising to see how my body would respond...and it did well! So I've been gradually increasing my intensity, being careful not to over-do it but still pushing and testing my limits.
  All of this to say, I've started to feel like Jill again. And it's wonderful...amazing even. I choose to dwell in that.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Glory

I wrote this approximately 8 years ago after coming through a really rough and dark time. And It applies now.

Glory

Sickened by such lonesome thoughts
I stand still on my ground
The havoc that this weight has wrought 
Awakens every sound
The crying in the blackest night
The shout of joy and peace
Soothing songs when done what's right
When faith's strength has increased
The echo of my hollow voice
Against blank walls and stares
Reflects again my own true choice
Though some no longer care
And I with my new found glory here
Stand proudly and content
Pushed aside both pain and fear
My soul no longer rent


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Block

Ernest Hemingway once said “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

I've taken a curious interest to the lives of successful writers lately. Mainly because I think I would like to be one. Actually it is quite more like a need to be one, an inner stirring that is compelling me to put pen to paper (okay, let's face it. I don't write much with pen and paper anymore. Who does?). Still, despite the fact that I am not yet en route to producing something actually printable, I would still like to know what kind of life I'd be getting myself into.

So far, my findings have been thus: it's hard.

In my mind, writing has been some romantic notion of combining my feelings with the written word. That is how it has always worked for me. It is effortless, like it's seeping out of my heart through my fingers and onto the page. Hemingway also said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed” and up until now I have whole-heartedly agreed. This theory of mine explains why my writing is sporadic in time. It just doesn't happen unless there is some emotion welling up within me that needs escape. However, I am learning that to be true to myself in my desire to write I have to also be willing to trudge through the muck. Sticky, gooey, hard to get through muck. Like these past few months of hemming and hawing over What do I write? Maybe this, maybe that and in turn feeling stuck because I'm not writing something “productive” which then makes me not want to write at all. Stephen King said it best, “ Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel s**t from a sitting position.” Thanks, Steve. I appreciate you making me feel better about the whole thing, even if your books aren't exactly jill-friendly.