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Life as a white mom of a Black child

My view from here..atop my soap box!!

Nope he is not adopted, but his skin colour to the rest of the world is that of a black man. He doesn’t look mixed, especially to white people. I think that universally the comment we get the most is “YOU are his mom?” Yes I am and proud to be. To be his mom is the greatest joy ever, on that journey to be his mother I will tell you that  to my face, I was called “Nigger Lover” more often than I care to ever put voice to.

I have lived my adult life as a witness to a child that was not offered the same life as me. I have witnessed my son be treated better once the “white mom” enters the scene. I have held him through tears of jokes kids brought to school, by kids who thought they were being funny. I have had to converse with too many principles on why their teachers and the students have no right to speak to him and treat him the way they do. I had to clarify that the word “Nigger” used for “fun” is not appropriate, anywhere, but especially a school environment.  I have witnessed him be pulled over for doing nothing, as I drove in front of him on the same road.

If you think this doesn’t shape how he sees the world, you are wrong. If you think he hasn’t constantly felt he had to prove the value of his existence to society, you are wrong. He is very aware that I live and am afforded a different life than he.  And now during a racial uprising, he gets bombarded with people saying I didn’t know racism still exists, well that statement alone slaps the face of any person who is not white who has had to endure systemic racism for years. Instead of assuming through your eyes that it does not exist, why not ask someone of another race with a skin colour different from white if racism still exists. I will guarantee your perspective will change.

Sadly, over the years. I have witnessed, first hand, many times when black mothers have tried to speak out for their children, it is generally a harder fight. But for me, the white momma, things get done. The irony is, my son’s DNA is 50% white, but he will NEVER be afforded white privilege. You might want to read that sentence again!!

The hardest part of me watching the news, when racially motivated events happen, is the surprise of my white counterparts. All of these well-meaning white people are surprised that somehow racism still exists, and I am here to tell you, you may be a large part of the problem that it still does, as am I.

You see the white people who are racist know it exists, and they have convinced themselves that you are too.  Here’s why. The racists are the ones who tell the Paki and Nigger jokes, but you are the one who laughs nervously, and think it isn’t a big deal, just a joke right!! Well guess what, your kid who heard that joke, told that joke to my nigger kid the next day!! They don’t see a problem with it because you didn’t say to the guy at the backyard bar b que, that is inappropriate, please don’t tell those jokes.

When we as white people don’t stop the small indiscretions of our friends and family members, then we give fuel to the racists. That is what they want and that is their hope. For anyone who does not see White Nationalist/ Supremacist groups as the EXACT same thing as Islam Extremists, then you have your head under a rock and you need to lift off the rock!! White Nationalists are “recruiting” and rallying at an alarming rate once again.

Why?

Because all of us well-meaning white people thought that racism didn’t exist anymore. So we fell asleep, well meaning, loving people…but we fell asleep!! I implore you to wake up, take off the blinders and take action against the small indiscretions that happen in your life every day.

Because guess what? White people are the only people who can stop White Nationalism, White Supremacy, KKK….we are it!!! It is up to us, yes I am talking to you!!

I have always believed that understanding view points is important, but we are at a time of action. I don’t really know what that action is for you, but you will.

Hatred is NOT ok!! If you see it speak against it!!

If marching in a rally isn’t your thing, then maybe stopping the jokes at work or maybe unfriending your bigoted friends, making sure they know why you made the choice.

Hell, ask someone who is not white about their journey, that alone may change how you view the world.

What I know for sure is that we were not born to hate….. it is taught!!

We also need to be taught to speak against it, I know it is hard. We could risk friendships, or family relationships. But it is my belief that If we come at the discussion from a place of love we will have much more success than if we attempt to fight hate with hate!!

I hope that you can find it in your soul to step out of your comfort zone, we are all needed!!

In love light and laughter

Karen

 

Happy Anniversary

 

We have now been married for 16 years, we did take a 3 year hiatus, but we never stopped living together. So I have decided that for 3 years of our marriage we lived in an open relationship. In reality that is what we did.

My husband is likely one of the most gentle spirits on the planet, he came into my life when I was the single parent of a amazing 9 year old boy. From the very beginning, he loved him like a parent, the words step son rarely came from his mouth, he was always just “my son.” We may parent very differently, but we share the load and lead with love.

Parenting is not the only thing we do differently, my husband and I are complete polar opposites. To give you an idea, his retirement plans is a gated community in Florida spending his days playing tennis and golf. Mine is to live in different huts all over South America studying culture and helping in impoverished communities.

Our life has been this way from day one, if you see the Yin and Yang symbol this is us. Which makes this marriage not only the most challenging relationship but also the most rewarding.

So besides retirement here is where we differ, just to name a few.

Stature ….he is small I am large

Voice…I am loud he is quiet

Sports….Him is doubles Tennis and every team sport he could play as often as he can, me is running, biking, yoga, Nia any solitary sport I could play

Socially…he loves to have people around, I love to be alone

Books….I read constantly, usually non-fiction…him..a book?

Nature….I would live outside if I could……as long as everything is perfect he will go outside, he will spend hours shoveling and mowing the lawn, so as long as there is an outdoor job he will do it. God forbid he run into a bug!!!

Music…I listen to anything and love anything off the beaten path…….he loves the top 40’s of multiple generations.

Food choices….I would never stick a processed food in my mouth if I was living the ultimate life….he loves spam and corned beef.

Risk…me…bring it on!! Him…why would I?

Trust me I could go on!!

So what is my little black spot on his white half and his little white spot on my black half? It is a few things really.

Both of us lead our lives with love, for both of us, our heart leads first. We both have a deep sense and belief in a higher power, it looks a little different, but at the core it is similar. We both LOVE to LAUGH and appreciate each other’s sense of humour. We love to dance, it is the one time he gets to lead 🙂

Lastly, but most importantly, we both let the other one be the absolute polar opposite.

When I need to disappear from the world he doesn’t question and just picks up the slack and when he needs to work or play sports incessantly I pick up the slack. After many years of trying to traverse this (code for huge blow outs!!) we have both finally come to understand that those are needs that we each have and if satisfied we are more able come back and put energy into being a great couple.

So how does that look in retirement? I think it means I get a host of good books for the time that I spend in the gated community and he finds some kids in the communities in South America for a pick up game of basketball.

Our life isn’t close to perfect…but it is perfectly us.  Anyone who ever said marriage is easy, obviously was never married, it is not easy, but it is a decision every day to make life for each other and our family of the utmost importance, together.

I will enjoy this crazy ride that is forever a moving target of love, sadness, happiness, frustration, laughter, grief and incredible JOY.

Happy Anniversary Alfredo Salcedo, forever grateful that we took this leap together.

What if your dad is an asshole?

So what if…..your dad is an asshole?

On the heals of Father’s Day

Do you ever wish that Hallmark made cards that said what you actually want it to say… something like thanks for nothing…I succeeded in spite of who you were. Does Father’s Day or for that matter Mother’s day bring up all of these feelings? Feelings of “who the hell are you kidding I was lucky to get out of that house alive!!

I get it….trust me!! My dad was a severe alcoholic and a manic depressive who refused to get help. He was out of the house by the time I was 6 and dead by the time I was ten. If you asked my siblings I was the lucky one being the youngest because I didn’t have to live with him for as long as they did.

For years I wished it would be different when I saw my friends be totally loved up by their dads it would completely break my heart. I desperately craved a man to tell me that I was “okay” that I was doing a great job. I rolled into my teenage years desperate for love and approval of any man that looked my way. Choosing relationships over and over that proved my point that men are all assholes!!

Looking back I spent most of my 20’s grieving my dad, going through almost every emotion from anger to sadness, even putting him on a pedestal and worshiping him at some point, much to the chagrin of some of my siblings. But I needed to grieve him and it was a process I needed to do on my own because my relationship to my dad was nothing like my siblings. So grieve him I did. But blame him I didn’t.

This was my life….not his! Just because he wasted most of his life, did not mean that I needed to as well. I made a decision pretty early in the grieving process that I wouldn’t wear the wounded child label on my shirt sleeve for all to see, but instead find some way through it. I never looked for forgiveness, but instead, I settled for acceptance of who he was as a person.

And the person he was, was a tortured soul. His life was pure hell and honestly, he probably did pretty well for the kind of upbringing he had and understanding that changed how I looked him. I guess for some it would be something close to forgiveness, but for me, it simply became about looking at his life through his eyes. There was no excuse for the life he created for his children and his wife. He could have made better choices……..but you see, there is the kicker. We all have a choice.

He was a tortured soul because he chose to keep living in the horrible atrocities of his past. Instead of living his life from the space of the gifts he had been given, his amazing entrepreneurial spirit, his stunning artistic talent, his humour and his charismatic charm. I was 5 when he left, but even as a child, I could see his gifts hidden behind the smell of stale alcohol.

He had a choice to either live in that past or rise above, and we are all given that same choice, a choice to live our own lives and write our own story. No matter what kind of foundation our life started on, sand sills, stones, bricks or no foundation at all the rest of this life is ours to live. We can live it from a space of anger and hatred or we can live it from a space of joy and love.

It has been a bit of a journey for me to get to this full place of acceptance of the father that was in my life and what finally put the final piece was watching the relationship between my husband and our daughter.

My husband has let our little girl wrap him around her finger from the moment he first held her and 13 years later he is wrapped up tighter than a drum. I look at her and I know that no matter what she faces in this lifetime, the one thing that she will never question is how much her father loves her. The expectation of how a man is to love her will be so high, I am not so sure that anyone will measure up, I wish good luck to anyone who tries. I have been able to witness what a great relationship can look like.

So here is my wish for you, if your father was an asshole. First of all grieve him, go through all of those emotions, hate him for not being that daddy that you needed, but move through it, for your own sake. Then look at who he is and what story he has told himself to get him where he is, accept who he is and accept that he is never going to be anyone different. Then go and live your life!! Live your very best life, no longer from the space of what you were missing but instead from the space of all of the beautiful gifts you have to offer this world.

We are waiting for you.

In love light and laughter

Karen

Author’s Note: Please don’t take this 700 word blog post as me saying this is easy, but taking the time to change perspective about our lives can be one of the most helpful tools we can give ourseleves.

why I let my daughter skip track and field day

Why I let my Daughter SKIP Track and Feild Day

 In my day…..

When I was a child in school, I loved track and field day. Although I wasn’t a small girl I was a kick ass sprinter, long jumper and because of my size I excelled at shot put as well. Every year track and field day would come around I would get so excited, I know it was supposed to be just for fun and all, but I wanted me some red ribbons!!!!
Just for fun…what, in the hell is that!! That, is what adults say to make everyone participate, meanwhile every kid on that field knows that this is a full-on competition.
My very best friend hated track and field, she was smaller than me but athleticism was not her strength and to be honest, competition wasn’t her strength. Unlike me, who got charged up by competition, it made her physically ill. So days before track and field day she would be anxious and not want to go. As a child, I didn’t really understand it, but I did understand that she was hurting.
So when my daughter came to me a week before her school’s track and field day and said, “Mommy, do I have to go to track and field day?” My first response, in my head, was of course you do, we parent old school here there is no bubble wrapping here, you can’t just get out of things because you don’t like them. Life is full of ups and downs and moments that we may not like but there are things in life you aren’t going to like and you have to do them anyway. Really, Karen, this is your response, your daughter has never asked to “get out” of anything in her life, I think you need to look at this. And look at it I did.

What I learned by pausing…

Let me tell you a little bit about my daughter, she sings like an angel, she draws and paints, she is in a stage choir group that encompasses singing, dancing and acting. She has been on a stage since she was 5 years old and loves it, whether it is for competition or fun. She has a heart of gold and is likely one of the gentlest spirits that I have ever had the privilege of knowing. What she doesn’t necessarily excel in are sports and track and field events. We are an active family with bike rides and hikes and she either walks or bikes to school in all kinds of weather. If she asked me to write her a note to get her out of phys ed, I would say “no”. My belief is that physical activity is not only good for the body but it is amazing for the mind and the soul as well. So getting out of physical activity is a flat out “no” in this domain.
But did I need to send her to track and field day to have her come close to last all day long for the 5th year in a row? Nope, I did not need to impose that on her.
She has participated in all the track and field events in her gym class leading up to the day and has become pretty adept at shot put, but is she allowed to only compete in shot put? No, she has to chose 5 events.
All the children in the school are required to take music, every child is not told they need to compete in music.
All the children in the school are required to take art, every child is not told they need to enter the art competition.
I am a true believer that every child needs the literacy of physical activity, but they do not need to compete, and have that day be part of their mark in phys ed?
For those adults who say it is just for fun, you are wrong. And personally I don’t think that it should be. My daughter gets her chances throughout the year to excel in the things that she is really good at, her gifts. Track and Field day is sometimes the only day that a child who is gifted in this area gets to shine, what an amazing day for them to know and realize their gifts. Let them get those dam red ribbons….
When my daughter sings at her school there is a gymnasium of support cheering loudly for her after she performs. Why not let my daughter and others like her be the cheer leader at the track and field day for the kids who are showing off their gifts and talents.

One Girl’s Journey

One girls journey to find her way through the deliciousness of life. Not ever trying to change your mind, but to help show you some light on your path from where I stand on my soap box.

I would love to share this journey with you, I want to hear your stories as much as I want to tell you mine. We are in this together.

What are you going to find here…

My hope is that you find inspiration either through my writing or other’s writings or quite possibly by trying products that I have tried and support.

For those of you who don’t know me. I was the owner of a company called Earth’s Berries, where I introduced the world of soap nuts to anyone who would be willing to listen. But I am much more than the owner of a soap nut company.

A Door Hanger Changed My Life

Ever wonder how one small decision can change your entire life?

One decision, it really is that simple.

I am not talking about whether to say yes to a marriage proposal or to buy the house or the condo. Not the big decisions, but the little ones. The small choices along the way that end up changing the course of your life into something that you never saw coming.

Buying an antique desk on Kijiji and meeting a person who becomes a great treasure hunting friend and maybe even later your business partner in an Antique store. Moments like that, ones that at the time seem so incredibly small and inconsequential but as you look back on that one decision you realise that it created an entire life change.

I was driving home from one of my many road trips for products and I realised that 10 years ago a Marketing door hanger completely changed the course of my life.

If you follow this blog or have read much of my stuff you know that I live a pretty spiritual life. Where I fall on the whole religion category is something of a mix of many beliefs that have formed over the years. However, I do attend a church, not only do I attend, myself and my family are very large part of the church that we attend….but it wasn’t always that way.

NO this is not a born again Christian story where you find me attempting to recruit you into my life and lifestyle.

door-1885126_1280-1024x706

It is life in the small moments..

This is a story about the small moments, a story of life in the small moments, a life lesson and a reminder, for me, really. All of those small moments make up the life that we have. As much as we make big plans, it is the yes and the no to the small things that actually forms our life.

I had grown up in the church, my mother went faithfully every Sunday and us as children went right along with her. Me and 2 of my other sisters became Sunday school teachers. I was an integral part of the entertainment of the church, part of the junior choir, Messengers, even becoming a CGIT (Canadian girl in training). I remember a particular monologue I delivered that was talked about for years. However, besides the old family bible  I never once saw my mother read the bible except at church, there were no bible verses spoken in our home. But our entire life was about “Love thy neighbour”, “Do unto others” and “There but by the grace fo God go I. ” I was raised to love everyone, but there was NO religious dogma in my house at all. What there was, was music, the old hymnal my mom had as a little girl sat at our piano. For my mom, religion was in the music, actually, for her,  God was in the music. To this day, the song “Mother’s of Salem” is still a song I will find myself singing like an earworm. I went to church, but was never raised to believe that my life or my spiritually or my journey as a human was in that building nor was it in that book.

As a young single mother I chose not to attend church, my son wasn’t raised in a church, except when he attended with his Aunt. I instead went on a spiritual quest, exploring different traditions and practices.  I hated the dogma of religion I hated the hypocritical nature of many “Christians” who were in my life. What happened to love thy neighbour?My motto for much of my life became what would Jesus do, not what would a Christian do, because I truly thought they were not the same thing. That was a firm belief that the 25 year old me, I have softened a little as I have aged.

I did however, attend church every Christmas Eve, no matter what city I lived in, I found my way to the Christmas Eve service of the United Church in the area. I’m not sure why that service was the one that mattered, but it was.

Then one Christmas Eve 10 years ago I went back to my home church. When I say home church I mean it, it was my home as a child. I knew every nook and cranny in that building, around every corner there was a memory for me. I was there at least 3 times a week besides Sunday, it was my home. Anyway, we had moved back to my hometown and I decided that I would go to the Christmas Eve service there. OMGooodness, it was the WORST service I had ever been to, solemn, droll and dictatorial. I vowed the moment we walked out the door that I would NEVER dawn the doorstep of that building ever again. I was done with religion, I wasn’t a Christian anyway, I believed in love and doing for my neighbour and the church and me were just not a good fit.

Then one day in early January I took a door hanger from my front door, a door hanger that said…Early Morning service, Contemporary Band, All welcome. I’m sure I’m paraphrasing.

I loved contemporary Christian music.  So we went.

And there it was, that was our small moment, that marketing door hanger, changed the course of our lives. Our lives that were destined to be Christmas Eve service moments only changed into a life that I could never have planned.

The contemporary band was amazing. However, we soon came to realise that we might be better suited to the later service because the Sunday School was larger.  My daughter ended up joining the cherubs choir and befriending the minister’s little girl. In 10 years my daughter and that little girl have become lifelong friends and singing partners. They have travelled together, sang together and consider themselves sisters much more than they ever consider themselves friends. My husband lead groups of youth at the Vacation Bible Camp, I lead the Green Team our daughter now actually sings in that early service band that originally brought us to the church.

The church is our home, my daughter now has a home church like I did years ago. She is surrounded by people who love her and “know” her. People who have watched her grow from a 3-year-old little princess to a confident young pre-teen. My daughter and I are both part of the choir, my husband teaches Sunday school when he can. We are all involved in all of the entertainment that the church provides, it is very much a huge part of our lives. Our lives are richer and deeper and blessed by the lives and the friendships that we have made at the church.

All because we said yes to a door hanger.

Our lives are made up of our small yeses and our small nos. Tiny decisions that we make every day, course corrections that we make, people that enter and people that leave. It is all this beautiful tapestry of a life sewn together with small tiny stitches, and it is in those tiny stitches that we find our greatness.

Never give up the opportunity to say yes to the small things …just imagine where it can lead.

Never underestimate the power of your “yes” in someone else’s life

I heard news today of the death of a man that meant a lot to me as a child. His moments of love and caring for me I believe changed the course of who I am. He truly made me see and believe that it was in my crazy quirkiness that I would find my true self. Not something I really understood at the age of 12, but it is something I completely understand now. The moment he said yes to spending a bit of time with me was the life changing moment that this fatherless child realised she was worthy.

 

All I Ever Needed To Know Was Hidden In A Soap Nut!!

To the Most Amazing customers ever,

Well, that was quite the sale and I am completely sold out. I have a couple of people who have purchased bulk from me to either start a soap nut business or add soap nuts to their current offerings and I am excited to see and witness their excitement. Over the course of the 8 years I have helped to start a few different soap nut companies. It has been fun to watch them each grow in their own way some took off and were very successful, others lasted mere months. I was a born guidance counsellor, teaching and guiding is what fuels my soul and helping them was no exception.

Earth’s Berries actually was a full realisation of my entire life. Over the course of my life, I have been the one to introduce products to people long before most knew about them. That I think, comes from my thirst to find out what else is possible? This is a question I attempt to live in as much as possible and when I am not in this question I know that generally my life is likely not in the best direction and it is time for a change.

Absolutely everything about this business has been a gift, even the closing. But not only has it been a gift it has been the biggest learning experience in my life and I will never, not for a moment look back on these 8 years as anything but the most amazing ride. I met some of the most incredible people, learned the stories of so many and learned things I just never even knew were on the radar of learning.

This final little blog post on this Earth’s Berries site is for you…you the one who wonders if it is all worth it, the one who wonders should you take the chance, the one who may look at your life and think it is falling apart when really it is all just coming together. This is for you because I will guarantee you, you will only regret the chances and the opportunities you didn’t take. That still small voice of intuition is inside of you for a reason….listen!!

 

 

Sooooooo? What did I learn on this 8 year journey…. To mention it all would take years…8 to be exact 🙂

  1. Taking a trip to India to meet my supplier. As much as I had always wanted to travel to India for a spiritual journey. I knew I couldn’t start this company without meeting my supplier, it was a short trip but a trip long enough to get to know DK and his company and his mission.  I made the decision to go from my gut on a warm day in July. My husband was taking a week off for my birthday in mid August so in mid-July I said to him I think I need to go to India if I am going to start this business and find a suitable supplier. Oddly enough, he didn’t even blink an eye…after 10 years together he knew this was not out of the ordinary.  In 2 weeks I secured an emergency visa and while at the Indian embassy I met someone whose brother was a taxi driver in India, arrangements were made and his brother was willing to pick me up at the airport and drive me the 10 hours up the Himalayan mountains to get to meet DK. Scariest drive of my entire life!!! If things didn’t work out with him I had 2 meetings planned in Delhi on my way out of India.  They did work out and we continued to work together for the entire time of this company. If our paths ever cross again I would be more than honoured to do more business with him.
  2. How to register and incorporate a business….the hard way!!
  3. How to get a trademark….who would have thought that was a 2-year process!!
  4. How to apply and develop third-party testing against a huge brand
  5. How to build a website with an e-commerce platform

I ended up hiring professionals but my very first website was a templated website that I designed, I copy and pasted  HTML code and I set up a store front with Pay Pal buttons, excepted payment and shipped orders. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!!

  1. Learned that most “approved by labels” mean absolutely nothing

Did you know that anyone can slap an “HE” label on any of their laundry products, it means nothing!!
USDA organic is sometimes useful but as soon as we in the western world want everything from developing countries to have “Organic and ECO- certification” the farmers have to pay more. A much better label to look for is “Fair Trade”. Soap nuts have been and will forever be organic, they don’t need a governing body to make it so. Simply a cash grab!!!

  1. How to import product, what port would be best, what is air shipping what is sea shipping
  2. How to broker my own product….it is easier than you think….learn!!
  3. Chemical sensitives do exist, not new to me, but what was new was how affected people going through cancer treatments are to smell and chemicals. Please be mindful

 I have saved most of my emails over the 8 years but the ones that are really dear to my heart were the ones from people going through cancer treatment, autoimmune diseases, allergies and chemical sensitives because those people this isn’t about laundry. This, these lovely little Earth’ s Berries were about life. They were honestly a game changer in the lives of many people I had the privilege of meeting or chatting to over the past 8 years.

  1. Naivety works really well sometimes.

Not knowing that most people work with an agent when they head off to The Shopping Channel to pitch their products was actually what helped to get me a spot on the show. I was so incredibly naïve about the business that I just walked in and pitched

  1. The Shopping Channel or other big contracts are not always what the seem to be, nor are they always good for business. Always make sure that your business is able to walk before someone thinks it can run.
  2. I can pack a box like I’m playing Tetris
  3. The inside of an import-export warehouse. Words simply can’t explain. I remember leaving the building looking at my sister and saying. I never in a million years ever expected to be in there. But I was, and it was so much joy filled fun!!
  4. There are some absolutely amazing business mentors in this area, don’t ever let knowledge be an excuse not to do something. People love to share their knowledge, listen and learn even one small nugget of information can save you mountains of time.
  5. I could work as a bookkeeper, I took bookkeeping courses and with the help of my sister I was able to do my own books.
  6. I could work as a social media consultant for small business, trust me I have taken more online and in person social media courses than I ever felt I needed. I didn’t always do everything, but I sure as hell know how.
  7. How to create systems so that someone can come in and buy the business, yep, I did it. I created systems for shipping, product development, suppliers. I had built an email list of thousands of people. But,  in the end it ended up being my baby and I couldn’t watch it move on to someone else.
I know that sounds sentimental and financially irresponsible, but that is me.

Two Key Life Lessons

1. People change people
2. There are more people on this planet that are here to support you than you will ever truly realise….

.  Even if your idea is to sell an obscure berry from India.

 

From the bottom of my heart, I live in awe and incredible gratitude for the journey of this business and so many deserve a big thank you.

Customers

First of all, I have said it so many times, I had the most amazing customers. I heard the stories of people, so many heartfelt conversations over the years that I will cherish forever. After the announcement of the closing, so many of those customers took time out of their day to email me or call me, I was completely overwhelmed by their continued support. Even with website issues over the years, times that I messed up, they were always so forgiving and patient. I never expected that customers of a laundry detergent would truly change my life and my perspective.

Web Developer Extroidanaire

Then there is the greatest web developer in the entire world. Over the course of the last 3 years of us working together, she was as much a part of this business as I was. I could not have survived had she not come into my life when she did. Thank you Nikki and Blackmoosemedia

Friends and Family…You are my rock!!

To my husband, my sisters and some very special friends who supported me always without question and usually for free. From packing boxes to financial aid, my support system was unbelievable.

For my daughter who was up at 5 am for market mornings and doing free labour willingly every time I needed her.

To the guy who started this whole journey with me, my beloved son. Who at 21 decided that he wanted to get on the train of his mom’s crazy idea. Boy am I glad he did. Not many parents can say that they got to travel around Ontario going to market after market with their 21-year-old son. It was a defining moment in our relationship and I think that everyone should find a way to spend that much time with their adult children before they head off into their own lives with families and children. Now that we only see each other a couple of times a year I am thankful for all of that time travelling in a car.

And the biggest thank you is to my loving source who guided me to this adventure and I know is heading me off to another.
Until I fully realise what that is you will be able to find my musings about life starting May 5th at Karen’s Soap Box

In love, light and laughter
Karen

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” -Hunter S. Thompson

 

                

Where can you buy soap nuts now?

Many people have asked where they can buy soap nuts now. There is a host of companies that sell soap nuts, however, what I have heard over the years is that people like what I stand for and my mission-based business. Therefore, I will lead you to those people I think are similar to my core ethics. Just an FYI SOAP NUTS DO NOT NEED TO BE SANITISED, and any company that claims this your tells you so is lying for your business. Do your very best to make sure they are not from China.

In Canada two of my past Earth’s Berries Consultants have decided to start up their own business, they both are amazing Mompreneurs who have family farm businesses.

Wash Berries
Jason & Ashley Fehr
705-544-5447
wash.berries@hotmail.com

Ashley also has an incredible craft business as well.
 https://www.facebook.com/fehrlycraftycreations/

Ever After Acres
Lisa Stevens
www.everafteracres.net
www.facebook.com/everafteracres
info@everafteracres.net
506-5762748

In the US
I think your best bet is a company called www.Naturoli.com

What about those Dryer Balls?
I searched high and low for the best dryer balls and I found them with Nurtured Sew Naturally
Contact Carley for retail or wholesale needs.

What about the Earth’s Berries website?
The website will be up and operational for the next year and you can reach me by email at info@earthsberries.com for any questions or inquiries.

Momma Marj Was Green and Didn’t Even Know It!!

This Sunday would have been my mom’s 85th birthday, not a day goes by that she doesn’t enter my mind in one way or another, a smell, something I’m reading and I think ‘Mom would love this”. But this week just before her birthday is always a reflective week, a week to go through old photos, tell stories to my daughter and just really get in touch with her spirit. What I wouldn’t give to just curl up in her bosom and have her sing ‘When mothers of Salem’ to me, just one more time. ….oops sorry headed into memories, back to the blog.Momma on the Beach

I’ve always known that the way I was raised had much to do with the way I’ve come to honour Mother Earth, and the choices I make in my life to help to make people aware of environmental issues. So as I thought about this, did my mother see herself as “green”…..hell no!! An activist, my mother was not!! Did she think she was doing anything special…..nope!! Did I appreciate many of her choices…….NO!! You have no idea how much I wanted to try a TV Dinner, store bought cookies or a comforter, but that’s just not how we lived.

To anyone who can say that was the 60’s and 70’s times were simpler then, I will tell you this my mother worked full time as an overnight nurse, and raised five children, and for many years, was a single mother. So it’s not about time…..it’s about CHOICE!!

Momma Marj’s 5 Tips to Living Green

Vegetable Gardening

We had a huge vegetable garden in our back yard, no we didn’t live on a farm, we lived right in town. The garden produced vegetable bounty for our family for most of the summer months. In later years her and my step dad had a garden that was a farm sized garden and was able to feed themselves and their friends and family. You would go for a visit and come out with 4 grocery bags full of produce.

Canning, Preserving and Freezing

All of the produce that was too much to eat over the course of the summer would be turned into the fall bounty. Dill Pickles, pickled beets, stewed Rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb jam along with frozen corn, peas, strawberries and rhubarb. Whatever she didn’t pick from her garden she would get from the garden markets in the area. I remember vividly moving to Toronto when I was 18 and finding a jar of “Homemade” Raspberry jam on the shelf for $12, I called and said,” mom let’s start a business, these people have never seen homemade stuff!!”

Shopping Locally

My mother made it her mission to shop locally. Very rarely did we go out of town for anything. For her, the belief was, “if I live here then I support the people that live her too. “Was it more expensive, YES!! But she felt the community was worth it. Her clothes were bought at Prices, mine were bought at Kari’s Children’s wear, our meat at Sandell’s Meat Market, our bikes at Stoutenberg’s and our jewellery at Durrant’s Jewellers. Our groceries were bought at the local IGA that was owned by local men. When it was time for corn, off to Curries’ s; time for strawberries and asparagus off to Meester’s. Not only did she shop locally at shops and businesses that were part of the fabric of our local small town community, we ate in season almost every day when we could. To be honest until her dying day she wouldn’t thank you for a California strawberry out of season.

Handmade items and gifts

Curtain DressesKids in Curtain Dresses

Many of our clothes were fashioned by my mother; she once got a “lot” of curtain material and ended up making dresses and jackets for my 3 sisters. In her down time she would knit, crochet and sew. Many a child wore my mother’s mittens and hats to keep them warm in the winter. She was a woman who loved to give gifts but they were almost always handmade treats, both savoury and sweet.

Mended items

Does anyone even do this anymore? My mother had her button bag and if we Darned Sockhad lost a button we would bring the item to her and she would search her button bag for the perfect “almost” match and begin to mend the item. I was always grateful for her repairs as many times I would lose the button or rip my very favourite shirt. However, I BEGGED DESPERATELY not to have to wear a darned sock!!! UGH!! I hated the feel of that patch on the bottom of my foot, or even worse the doubly darned sock!!

Oh how I could go on and on!!
  • Meals were homemade, dining out was for special occasions
  • All treats were homemade
  • Bed covering were quilts made with the loving hands of my ancestors
  • She rode her bike everywhere as soon as the snow started to melt
  • We had a 4×12 compost pile…… IN OUR BACKYARD!!

So why did she do all of this?

This was at a time when conveniences had started to become the norm…trust me all I wanted was an OREO!!

She did it because she understood, she understood that food has love in it; she understood that a mended piece of clothing had love in the imperfection. She did it because she understood waste not wants not and she despised waste.

forestShe did it because she was a lover of this great planet, she would forage in the woods for leeks and fiddleheads, she would drive through the countryside and appreciate all there was to offer. Most of all, she did it not because she was told to, not because she had to, but because in the core of her being she loved this planet and the life she had been given.

Is there a choice here that you can make or adapt to your life now? Can you slow down enough to make a different choice?

Here is some of my momma’s wisdom!!

Momma Marj wisdomAnd here is what her daughter has been up to………..

Day 30 Of a 60 Day Juice Clense

My journey so far

Let me take you back……

My original plan had been to vlog and blog the entire journey, of my 60 Day Juice Cleanse but as much as I will post quite a bit, there is much of my life I like to keep private. However, as I enter into the next 30 days of this cleanse I thought I would write in a reflective manner about my journey and my hopes for the next 30 days.

Two months ago I received some results from my doctor that were not at all promising. Nothing immediately life threatening but a diagnosis that would require quite a bit of medication and put my health in a debilitating situation within the next 10 years.   A year prior I had received similar information and thought that I could handle it myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t and the test results actually got much worse with some new added higher than normal numbers in different areas.

The documentary that changed it all

I am the documentary queen, I watch them, my company Earth’s Berries sponsors them within my community. I most especially gravitate to any documentary that tends to be of the environmental nature or health as they are two of my great loves. Oddly enough, through all of the documentaries I have watched, I never felt compelled to watch Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Likely because I am trained as a Holistic Nutritionist and have juice cleansed for years, in fact, I bought my first juicer back in 1989. For some reason, I thought oh what the heck, mainly because I had seen all of the other documentaries on Netflix, let’s watch this juice documentary. About half way through I turned to my husband and said, that’s it, that is what I need to do. I honestly think he thought I was half baked….”You want to juice fast for 60 days?” …Yep, I think this is the answer.

What Answer?

Let me clarify, I was not meaning that this was a weight loss answer, this was the answer that I needed to do a complete body, mind and soul reset. Because of my health background, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the health of your body does not come from just food and exercise alone. What you put into your mind and your soul is just as important as what you put into your mouth. As a child, I learned in science class that our bodies recreate themselves and  are brand new bodies within 7 years. It was in that moment that disease of the body no longer made any sense to me. That knowledge led me into the world of natural health, I knew there must be more than just disease of the body.

I realised that if our bodies are new every 7 years then there is no way that a disease could stay in our bodies unless we keep it there with our mind, our beliefs, and our spirit. I know this to be true for me.

Embarking on the journey

I have done many cleanses in my life, granted never one this long. For years I cleansed and fasted at the beginning of every season, so I was not new to this journey at all. I know that my day 3 is going to be the hardest.  I will feel tired like I have been hit by a mac truck, might get some flu symptoms, but by day 4 I will be up and running like a 5-year-old. BUT, this time, something strange happened, Day one was the hardest I honestly drank juice and slept the whole day and ended up in bed at 7pm and woke up at 7am the next day. AND THAT WAS IT……THAT WAS THE END OF MY CLEANSING SYMPTOMS!!! I realised when the dreaded Day 3 didn’t happen this was because this is exactly what my body, mind, and spirit desperately needed. I can honestly say there has been not one white-knuckled day that I needed to hang on and wish that the day would just end. This is a very new phenomenon for me as well.

Exceptions to the “RULES”

I must say that I did not follow anyone’s plan but my own over the last 30 days, I used to assist in doing cleanse plans and meal plans for clients so I felt that my knowledge with a bit of assistance from a few other health practitioners was more than enough to keep my cleanse nutrient dense. However, my main decision in all of this was to actually begin to go within and check in with my body. I decided that it would be my body that would decide what kind of juice I would make that day and how much of it I would like to drink.  I was not at all surprised that after day 15, the days were getting cooler, so  my body also decided that it would like something warm.  I added a butternut squash, roasted garlic and turmeric puree that I would have whenever my body felt an inner chill.  If I ever felt like I wanted to chew, I had cucumbers on hand at all times and would have a little munch and crunch. To keep my brain healthy and lubricated I have added coconut oil twice a day.

I have not once gotten caught up on the rules, what I have to have, what I should have, what I shouldn’t have I have spent the last 30 days being completely guided by my body. Honestly, I am a better woman for it.

So what has happened in the last 30 days??

I would love to say that my energy has shot through the roof and I am exercising every day and feel like I can run the next marathon….that would be false.

I feel incredible and my energy is the best it has been in a long time.

My desire to be in nature has gone from a want to a craving and a need, any chance I get to hike up the mountain, walk to the water or bike around the paths of my glorious community I take it.

I have re-established the love of being still, sometimes on my front porch swing sometimes surrounded by crystals and candles in my treatment space meditating

I love to cook homemade food for my family, finding healthy wholesome recipes that even the pickiest eater can love

My mind is clearer and I am experiencing many moments of change in both my personal and business life

My faith has expanded beyond anything I ever felt possible

And then there is this…..darn Juice cleanse!!

Food has been my emotional crutch for most of my life, when you take that away, just like any other addiction, you need to look at all of those things you buried using your chosen addiction. So I have days where I have no desire to get out of bed, days, when I wonder, is this really the life I want to be leading. Who am I? What is my purpose? What the hell am I doing here?

And I just keep asking, it is in the asking, that lifts me from the mire and the muck and clarity finally arrives.

So? What about those numbers?

Well, there are some numbers that only my doctor can tell, but all of the ones that I can self-monitor are lower and as an added bonus I have released 22lbs of weight into the universe and hopefully someone else can use it!!

What about the next 30 days?

I did find that I got myself into a bit of a routine drinking pretty similar juices every day, so I actually bought “Reboot with Joe” book and will use some of his recipes to get me through the next 30 days. I’m Candian so Thanksgiving is next weekend and I will be spending time with my family at my sister’s cottage. I’m making my son his favourite Pumpkin Cheesecake and I will be enjoying my Butternut squash puree and a really fruity juice for dessert. Honestly being around food doesn’t bother me at all. Sunday was communion at our church so there was “church lady sandwiches” after the service, if I can survive not eating a church lady egg salad on white bread, I can survive just about anything!!

Do I recommend it?

I recommend listening to your body. Watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and see if it resonates at all with you. It did for me.

I will say this……do something!!! If your health is a concern….do something!! Burying your head in the sand and hoping it will all work itself out is not the way to live your best life.

I will also say this, you can not just change the way you eat without looking at your mental, emotional and spiritual ways that you handle food or anything that may be causing your health concerns. The change will not be long lasting if you separate your body from your mind and spirit and somehow think that will be enough.

When you no longer have the food to rely on you may get clearer and begin to question your entire reason for being on this planet and in my opinion, that is a good thing!!

Before and Nowbefore and after

Here is my Day 1 and Day 30 picture. The changes are very subtle but I can see them. The Day 1 was taken in the morning and the Day 30, just before bed. I am always smiling…not sure what’s happening in these pictures…but at least I’m a grump in both!!

A Day in the Life…of a juice cleanse

This is my sink full of fresh veggies and fruits ready to be juiced!! Shameless plug, the fruit, and veggies are all soaking in Earth’s Berries Fruit and Veggies Wash.

juice cleanse bounty

A couple of tips for your juice cleanse….

If you decide to do this, give your body love….if you can get a massage, get one. If you can take a walk, take one…..If you can ride a bike, ride one.  If you can sit in a luxurious bath….do it!!

One last tip…..

photogrid_1475582291489

I am a Reflexologist by trade and firmly believe that the body’s system needs constant stimulation. Unfortunately, I don’t have a reflexologist that I visit on a regular basis, but I do have
these amazing shoes, they stimulate everything!! They may hurt at first because it is putting pressure on the parts of the body that need healing, but the more you use them the less they will hurt and the more they will help your body heal.

*If  a juice cleanse is something you think you might consider please talk to your doctor

My next blog post will be about stimulating your lymphatic systems and great ways to detox your body!!

In light, love and laughter

Karen

 

Meditation Series 5……Moving Meditation

So how have your weekly meditations been coming along?

Are you sitting for 5-20 minutes a day?

Is it JUST. TOO. HARD??!!

Does this sound more like you?

Don’t make me do it, I can’t do it!!

I’m here to tell you……

YES. YOU.CAN.

Eventually, that monkey mind of yours will calm enough for you to sit, but the fact of the matter is, even if it doesn’t you can still sit and find a way to meditate.

As much as sitting and focusing for that 5- 20 minutes a day is a great way to calm yourself, the stress of the day and fully be present to who you are and who you are becoming.There is another way.

 Moving meditation

With a moving meditation, you need to be very present, sometimes I actually find a moving meditation more difficult, but many people find it much easier.pausing in mother nature moving

So how in the world do you perform a moving meditation?

 Here is what works best for me…

  • Stand in one place and focus on your breath. I like to take between 5 and 10 deep breaths and focus deeply on my heart
  • Breathe your breath into your heart and breathe out your breath from your heart
  • If you have developed a mantra practice this is a good time to add your mantra to your breath
  • When you feel calm and ready you are going to take your first step
  • Put your right heel on the ground…in your mind or aloud say I am putting my right heel on the ground
  • Follow that through to the ball of your foot…in your mind or aloud I am putting the right ball of my foot on the ground, I am lifting the my left
  • I am putting my left heel on the ground, putting my left ball of my foot on the ground and lifting right foot.moving meditation

As with sitting meditation your mind will chime in and you will lose focus, but as soon as you realize this then you go back to the focus on the walk.

Advanced Practice 1

Discover what is going on in your body:

Sometimes with a moving meditation you can feel your body better. To advance your meditation once you have truly mastered focusing on witnessed your walking. Begin the noticing of your body, how it moves and how it feels.

  • Begin by focusing on your walk, then move to other parts of your body, take as much time as you like or need.
  • Move up to your legs and feel what you notice in your legs.Go back to focusing on your walk.
  •  Move up to your abdomen and feel what you feel in your abdomen.Go back to focus on your walk.
  • Move to your arms and feel what is in your arms. Go back to focusing on your walk.
  • Move to your heart and feel what is going on in your heart. Go back to focusing on your walk.

Advanced Practice 2

Discover your surroundings:

  • Focus on your walk, then say right now I notice the air…and notice the air. Is it cool? Is it warm? Is fragrant? Is it still? Is it windy? Just notice.
  • Focus on your walk, then say right now I notice my surroundings…and notice them. Is the grass green? Is the grass brown? Are there people? Are you in complete solitude?

Keep going back and focusing on the walk, especially if you find your monkey mind gets lost in the noticing. So often we do things and don’t take the time to actually be mindful of ourselves, our bodies and our surroundings.

Be careful not to create stories, just simply notice. Just simply Be.

When you finish the walk stop and give the same pause as you did in the beginning. I really like to drop into my heart and acknowledge gratitude for this time that I’ve had to calm my monkey mind.

This can happen for 5 minutes or it can happen for an hour. You can have a moving meditation every time you walk or move in any way. That way every time you are moving you are in mindfulness.

Here is Jack Kornfield’s moving meditation. Enjoy!!

In love, joy and laughter

Karen

For all the other blog titles in the Meditation series.

Beginners Meditation

Mantra Meditation

Daily Pausing

Self-Inquiry