My Digital Detox

I didn’t need another gluten free diet or UltraClear detox.  I needed a digital detox.  A virtual cleanse from the Web World.  And, it was an amazing journey.

I was checking Facebook status updates every 10 minutes. Checking Instagram photo feeds. Taking pictures of my own, editing, then posting them. Reading blogs. Creating blog posts. Reading NPR news. Looking at Birchbox videos. Youtube videos. Facebook videos. Twitter feeds.

Ahh! You get the point.

I needed a new kind of ‘reality check.’   I swear, you can legitimately lose yourself in the Web World. I know, because I did.  I became someone who cared more about looking at a screen than having a conversation.  I became more sedentary.  And more irritable.

At night it was mostly the television. First, I would put McKinley to bed, and then turn on the TV. Real Housewife trash. And I was addicted. Disturbingly to the point where someone would ask me a question and it would annoy me if it wasn’t commercial time. Seriously? How sad is that?  Yeah, definitely a low point.

I started feeling lost.  And NOT connected.  Facebook and Instagram and all these other social media devices portray this illusion of a collective ‘connectedness,’ but the more you indulge– the more alone you become.  I was desperate for conversation and human interaction. I wanted to feel alive again.  So, I began my digital detox.

 

  • First, I deleted most of my apps from my iPhone.  This way, I wouldn’t have immediate access to social media at any point at any time.
  • Second, I initiated new interactions with my husband.  We started playing card games at night and reading together.
  • Third, I now leave my phone upstairs in my bedroom for most of the day and night.  The only time I have my phone with me is if I am ‘out and about.’  Periodically I will check my phone for missed calls and respond to text messages.
  • Forth, I decided to watch specific television shows–and limit my television time to those shows.  Right now, it’s Survivor and Parenthood.
  • Fifth, I tried to only used the computer to check Facebook once a day and respond to emails.
  • Sixth, I completely stopped blogging.
  • Seventh,  I allowed myself to still look at and post to Instagram.  However, I did not attach my photos to other social medias.

It was a well worth it experience.

  • I was able to connect closer to my husband
  • Spend more quality time with McKinley
  • Be more present in the world
  • Realize the importance of doing a digital detox
  • Appreciate the small things again
  • Become more active
  • Understand the slippery slope to social media
  • Best of all…I was able to get back to my roots…back to being me.

I think this is an awesome exercise.  Try out some of these methods for 1 week-monitoring your social media and screen time.  What can you learn from doing this? And do you think you’ll notice any differences?

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Ready? Set. Go!

I used to work at a nutrition center and cleansing was a part of our philosophy for healthy living.  Cleansing, or detoxing, is a great way to clean out those allergens and toxins we consume without even knowing.  In the process of cleansing your body, you find that you are more stable, happier, more energized…and the list only goes on.

My last detox was before I got pregnant with McKinley.  So, It’s been awhile. Naturally I’m excited to get back to my normal way of doing things.  HA!  “Normal.”  Okay, there will never be anything normal about my way of doing things 🙂

Obviously there are thousands of different detox programs–elimination diets and candida diets.   I’ve actually done multiple, but I prefer– ones that are to the point. I’m doing a Clear Change 10 day detox.  I figured I’d write about this particular detox process for other people who have heard about, or thought about doing it—and perhaps I can lend some insight.  The writing process is highly recommend during detox programs as means to understanding how certain foods react to one’s body and mind.  And, just so you know–doing a detox is something everyone should mentally prepare and gear up for in advance.

No, I am not on crack.  Rest your suspicions.  Although, the thought, “How can I do a detox with a toddler?” has crossed my mind…several times.

10 days.  Short enough that it’s easy, but long enough that it will do something lasting. My kinda thing.  The particular detox I am doing comes with an UltraClear nutritional beverage, that tastes like powdered crap, and provides nutritional support.  Mmmm. Ready? Set. Go!

Day 1 & 2 No artificial anything.  No sugar. No dairy products. No soy. No meat. No caffeine. No wheat or gluten.  (There is actually  a list of foods to avoid and foods that are recommended, but there is no way I am typing that up).

Uhh yeah, “Holy Crap”  is what I say for day 1 & 2 too.   What can I eat?  Pretty much(with exceptions), all fruits, veggies, beans, nuts/seeds, milk alternatives (almond milk), stevia, quinoa, brown rice, all dry/fresh spices and herbs, oils, herbal teas, and fish.

Day 2: You add the nutritional beverage. 1 scoop twice a day.

For me thinking of meal ideas was extremely easy, but the caffeine headaches?  Not so much.  Oh man, yesterday day 2, was a nightmare.  My whole body was aching.  My head throbbed the entire day.  I had no energy. And, I was really spacey.  Yup- that’s the detox doing it’s job ridding my body of all those toxins.  So, if you experience these symptoms…it’s normal.

I do want to mention, that I slept like a baby night 1 and night 2. I’ve needed sleep for the past couple of weeks, between McKinley screaming, and tossing and turning from my lower back pain.  So, I fully enjoyed the rest.

Below are some meal ideas from day 1 and day 2 of the detox: 

Day 1 lunch idea: Quinoa burgers packed with onions & herbs

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Day 1 Dinner idea: Spinach salad with sunflower seeds, walnuts, strawberries, avocados, drizzled with white balsamic, pared with fresh Halibut, and an olive chutney.

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Day 2 lunch idea: Gluten free- almond butter sandwich with banana, almond butter, almond milk smoothie.

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Day 2 Dinner idea: Stir-fry with Bok choy over brown rice, and Thai spiced Salmon.

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Stayed tuned for the rest of the detox… Day 3 tomorrow.

* * Please note, if you are planning on doing a detox, you should speak with a nutritionist or your physician first. * *

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Backseat

I waited impatiently for the phone to ring. And when it finally did my mother’s somber voice didn’t prepare me.  Even when something is anticipatory it still comes as a f-cking shock.

My dad had gone in for an MRI of his brain. Everyone told us it was probably nothing. We expected his cognitive issues were because of adjustments in his medications.  I was driving to the grocery store during the time of his appointment.  And started thinking:   I need a sign. I don’t feel right. It’s gonna be okay.  It’s the medications. I dunno though, what if it’s not.  I just need a sign. Please God give me a sign.  The car in front of me brought me back to reality because they were driving 10 MPH under the speed limit.  I caught the license plate: DUEPRAY.  Oh my god, due pray, like do pray. I should be praying right now! I grabbed my rosary that hangs over my rear-view mirror and began reciting the Lords Prayer.  Then, a bird flew past my windshield.  A little bird in slow motion.  I’m  actually surprised I didn’t kill the bird… that’s how close it flew.

When I got home my phone finally rang.

“Well? What did they say?” I asked.  A PET scan a couple of months earlier showed no signs of anything.  We’re talking about cancer, there were no signs of cancer.

“It’s not good Georgia.” My mom was matter of fact.  She even said my name.

“Okay, what is it?”

“It’s in his brain,” she stated.

“No it’s not… wait are you kidding me?”

“No.”

“Are you JOKING me!?” I belted. I seriously couldn’t believe it.

“No, I’m not kidding you.  They found approximately 20 lesions or tumors in his brain,” her voice got soft and broke. I heard sniffles through the phone and could only imagine the amount of tears trickling down her face.

“Ohhhh f-ck.”  Then silence.  “Mom, are you driving?”

“No, not yet, we are walking out to the car.”

“Okay, well just drive home. I’ll call the siblings… I love you mom.”  Then, I hung up.

I was holding McKinley screaming out loud Oh God, Oh God! while sobbing and trying to call my sister and brother. I’m crying now. It’s everywhere in his brain. And time is running out. Precious time with my daddy. Precious time for McKinley with her Papa.

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This might sound strange, but in my mind I’ve always known my dad was going to die.   Duh, the life cycle.  It’s something we know to be fact, yet believe we are invincible.  When he first was diagnosed, the thought changed to- my dad is dying.  And now that his death is upon us, the thought has reverted back to: my dad is going to die.  Really Soon.  It’s not that I didn’t foresee the cancer spreading, I did.  Just not this quickly. I wasn’t ready.

How am I doing? Terrible.  I know it may be social protocol, but it’s really a strange question to ask.  In my opinion.  Different people have told me to be strong, but what does that really mean?  What is it to be weak during your father’s death? And, why is it a bad thing?  I understand they are words of encouragement and sympathy and it helps.  The truth is, I’m not sure I can be strong.  I only hope that someway somehow my father’s voice will ring loud inside me and the words and strength will flow effortlessly.

So, we are preparing for the end.  With hospice. An anticipatory grief (counseling term). A milestone. A really f-cking hard milestone.  Living with and caring for: a parent, a hero, a friend, teacher, and advocate, someone you look up to, depend on, and someone you love deeply. Your father.

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Early in the year, I did a post to raise money for LUNGevity Breathe Deep Newark for our team: The TERMINATORS.  We helped raise, with many others, $23,000 for research.  Thank you again for your help and kindness.  Here is a short movie I prepared of that day (May 11th) and the speech my father gave to everyone (they asked him to give a speech because he was the #1 individual fund-raiser and the only survivor in attendance) 

I wanted to let my readers know that things have been harder lately. Obviously. My father is really struggling. We are all struggling.  Skipping the details of what that means or entails, I’m spending more time caring for him. And so, this blog is something I currently cannot commit to doing as frequently as I was before.

I will continue to try to participate in “Monday Monologues” and “Wordless Wednesdays” capturing pictures of McKinley’s Milestones and family life.  Although, I’m not sure how frequent that will be.  My hours spent editing craft, recipe, and informational posts will most likely take a temporary backseat for now.  I apologize for that and I hope that you’ll remain an avid follower.

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Autism vs Asperger’s

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As a society we are comfortable, probably too comfortable, noticing our differences, and pointing fingers at others who are not like ourselves.

It’s time we start realizing individual potentialities for greatness, success, and achievement, no matter the differences.

In lieu of autism awareness month and as a licensed Social Worker I thought I might shed some light for parents about Autism and Aspergers.

Below I have made a Similarities & Differences chart including the diagnostic features for each disorder as seen in the DSM-IV-TR.

Autistic Disorder

Asperger Syndrome

 

SIMILARITIES

  • Impairment in social interactions evident by impairment in nonverbal communication behaviors, development in peer relationships, lack of social/emotional reciprocity, and lack of seeking to share enjoyment or interests with other people.
  • Restricted repetitive patterns of behavior/interests /activities evident by preoccupations with that is abnormal in intensity or focus, inflexible adherence to nonfunctional routines and rituals, repetitive motor mannerisms, persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

 

DIFFERENCES

  • Impairment in communication evident by delay or lack of spoken language, impairment in ability to sustain or initiate conversation, repetitive use of language, or lack of varied, make-believe play (age appropriate/ course of development).
  • Delays/abnormal functioning in at least one of following areas, with onset prior to 3 years of age: 1)Social interaction, 2)language, 3)symbolic/imaginative play
 

 

  • Impairment in social interactions evident by impairment in nonverbal communication behaviors, development in peer relationships, lack of social/emotional reciprocity, and lack of seeking to share enjoyment or interests with other people.
  • Restricted repetitive patterns of behavior/interests /activities evident by preoccupations with that is abnormal in intensity or focus, inflexible adherence to nonfunctional routines and rituals, repetitive motor mannerisms, persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

 

 

  • Disturbance causes significantly impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • No clinically significant delay in language or cognitive development or age-appropriate self-help skills (other than in social interaction).

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Want to know more?! Here are some helpful links filled with resources, information, ways to give, and events!

Please Visit my disclosure and disclaimer page.

An Advocate for Change | The chance for growth is infinite

Georgia, MSW, LSW

Milestone: 1 YEAR

Happy Birthday McKinley!

McKinley is truly an amazing daughter. I know I know…every parent thinks their child is amazing and wonderful and the best. But duh, if a parent didn’t feel like that about their children then I would be confused…possibly even concerned.

McKinley has grown into this free spirited little girl. My little hippie. Her heart is bigger than her body and her hugs sweeter than sugar. She is silly, funny, happy, and bright. Brilliant actually.

Watching McKinley’s growth has been soul changing. Life altering. Inspiring. Faith building. Empowering. The vocab list goes on, but every writer knows that telling you is one thing and showing you is another. I want to show you.

When I think of McKinley’s life, I think back to when my husband and I found out we were pregnant. McKinley was planned, after an unplanned pregnancy, and unfortunate miscarriage. To me, that’s when this adventure began. No matter what, if you are adopting, doing surrogacy, in vitro, etc… It’s a process. And in any given process you will find love and commitment.

I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.

McKinley’s birth was a struggle, but a precious gift. 19 hours of labor, with some unforeseeable aftermath complications, and high levels of stress. Though, it was all worth it, because I met the most beautiful girl. That’s what life is all about. The struggles and sacrifices. And then, the gifts. Gifts of love, growth, and enlightenment. I’ll never forget seeing her wide awake eyes. It was, I swear, the most breath taking moment.

Here is a look back at some of those struggles and gifts:

Me Pregnant

Me Pregnant

McKinley's Born!

McKinley’s Born!

McKinley had Jaundice.

McKinley had Jaundice first week.

First Month : Smile

First Month : Smile

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Three months: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (and first time failing board exam)

3rd month: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (& first time failing board exam)

That same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

Same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

4th month: McKinley pushes up, and my husband leaves his job.

4th month: McKinley pushes up! My husband leaves his job.

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

6th month: Dad starts law school & McKinley Sits up

6th month: My husband starts law school & McKinley Sits up

7th month: Mom fails exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

7th month: I fail exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & Mom quits her job (something she was committed to emotionally, intellectually, and physically since the inception of the business, because she helped develop it.- and still hurts to think about today)

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & I quit my job.

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & Mom passes the board exam!

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & I finally pass the board exam!

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, then is diagnosed with Stage3B lung cancer.

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, and then is diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! Dad does extremely well in law  school, is asked to be a TA and research assistant.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! My husband does extremely well in law school, is asked to be a TA, and research assistant.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

Through all of these hardships and accomplishments, my husband has been my rock, and McKinley my light. I love you both an insane amount.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia