MIMM #4: Positive Reminders

I think it is important for you all to know that I am still working on my recovery from mental illnesses. I am by no means 100% recovered from disordered thinking around food, weight and happiness. These days, my mood is much more stable and I am pretty happy-go-lucky however I do still have episodes of negative self talk that bring me down. “Bubbly, Personable, Happy, Smiley, High-Spirited, Fun” are all terms used to describe me but they also go against my diagnosis of being chronically “sad”. How? The reality is you can be depressed and cheerful at the same time.

I don’t say this to earn sympathy but rather to avoid comparisons. Too often bloggers glaze over their lives only highlighting the “happy” moments. I post pictures of my room when it is tidy and avoid photographing it’s areas of clutter. I only post recipes that I have perfected but that doesn’t mean they started out as 100% fail-proof. I appear as though I never get in fights with friends or family but in truth, I am a human as well and I don’t have flawless relationships. Some bloggers are inclined to showcasing the fun activities they do, without letting on that they have moments of “doing nothing” as well. I don’t think I’d earn many followers if all I ever did was complain since nobody wants to be left feeling emotionally drained after reading a post. I think it’s strong that some bloggers are able to admit to the hard times they are facing and shed light on issues so many of us battle on an everyday basis. CaitPlusAte and ItzLinz are two of my favourite blogs for this reason since they address sensitive subjects while remaining positive and inspirational.

So while I might appear to have my life in order, rest assured it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I live a happy life and most of my smiles are genuine, but that’s because I have plans in place to lift my spirits when moments of sadness arise. Marvelous is having continuous support and unconditional love whether I feel I deserve it or not. My friends and family continue to remind me that they have my back. In times of sadness I have a little bucket of marvelous “reminders” as to what is marvelous about life and what others find marvelous about me.

IMG_6295 Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 2.54.58 PMPositive Affirmation Books: No matter how old you are, I truly believe you need to own at least one picture book. These three books, “Heart Thoughts”, “In the Garden of Thoughts” and “Every Thing Is Going To Be OK”,  contain inspirational thoughts that are not only uplifting but empowering. Accompanied by whimsical illustrations or photographs, these books always leave me feeling happier and more optimistic.  “If you stumbled today, remember where and how it felt. Tomorrow, take a different path. Life flourishes from its pain and the lessons we gain.” – Dodinsky

IMG_6305Blessed Bracelet: The idea is to wear this bracelet until it fades in colour and eventually falls off. These bracelets have been carried through India and blessed with love on the banks of River Ganges. I was given two from my Life Coach as a reminder not to worry about the past or future but to live blessed in the moment. The colour red symbolizes protection, healing, commitment and spirituality. The first one stayed on my wrist for over four months and I have yet to tie the second one onto my wrist. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis

IMG_6113 IMG_6302“Why We Love You” Letters: For my twentieth birthday, two of my best friends, Elyse and Caitlin, compiled a box filled with 20 letters from my closest friends and family members for me to read next year when I am away at University. Since I couldn’t wait until I felt sad, I read them all in one night, but I will definitely continue to re-read them in moments when I need to be cheered up. It was neat to see which memories were most prominent in the minds of others. My dad wrote a poem recalling when I ran around an MBA court with the “Raptors Flag”. The comments were so flattering and made me feel very important and special.  Some were stories from when I was a baby, others were work-related,  some were just funny things I’ve said (and wish others had forgotten by now) and of course some offered advice for my future. One of my favourites came from my niece Lottie as she signed it only with ooo’s (not xo’s) since she still hasn’t learned to kiss yet! What a cutie! Elyse and Caitlin also included some inspirational quotes and fun photographs they pulled from my instagram and pinterest accounts. “I remember your drive, passion, determination, and insane energy from your grade 7 year like it was yesterday. I remember your landfill, your lock bridge, your uber-organized binders and your straight A’s. I always loved how you presented yourself with such poise, but were so darn adorable in your little cardigans.” – Tammy

photo-89Willow Tree Angels: Angels are said to represent protection, inner peace, virtue and love. Today I have three and each one offers me comfort when I am searching for answers. I purchased myself the Angel of Freedom, was given the Angel of Happiness from my grade 12 English teacher on the day I graduated, and the Angel of Friendship actually belongs to my mom but I keep it in my room.
“Angels have no philosophy but love.” – Terri Guillemets

IMG_5982Pandora Bracelet: Last year for my birthday, Elyse and Caitlin gave me my Pandora bracelet along with the “Inner Strength”, “Journey” and “Angel of Hope” charms. They both have the “Journey” charm as well to symbolize that they will always fight alongside of me. While we were away in France, my family gave me the “Eiffel Tower” charm. They also gave me the “Camera” charm since I love photography. This year Joyce gave me the “Faith” charm. Each charm is so special since I didn’t purchase them myself and instead they were given to me as a reminder of friendship or love. While wearing the bracelet I am constantly thinking of those who believe in my potential. “Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of world.” – Ritu Ghatourey

IMG_6292Oracle Cards: These decks help me to manifest my thoughts and put words to my feelings. They seem to relate to whatever emotion I am experiencing, happy or sad, confused or awakened, and offer vague advice open for personal interpretation. “Today I will tell myself that who I am is okay, and that what I am doing is good enough. Of course I make mistakes and get offtrack sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as everyone else. No one is perfect and that’s just fine.” – Melody Beattie

MiMM1Happiness is a journey not a destination, similar to the path towards recovery. You don’t get to a state of utter confusion and chaos overnight, so you can’t expect to be healed in a second. Even in my worst days, there is something marvelous to be celebrated. Thank you Katie, for yet another wonderful link-up that reminded me to take time to reflect on marvelous memories.  ♥ Molly

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

It’s My Birthday!

Today I enter a new decade as I celebrate my twentieth birthday. While I still have most of my life ahead of me, I can’t help but feel “old” when I hear my new age. Unlike 16 (Driving Permit), 18 (Lottery Tickets), 19 (Canadian Drinking Age) or 21 (American Drinking Age), the number 20 isn’t rewarded with an added privilege, but to me, it is still equally important. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me achieve great health, happiness and memorable moments in the years leading up to this milestone.

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Celebrating my 19th Birthday

IMG_3982I would also like to wish my parents a very happy belated 31st wedding anniversary, as yesterday marked the day of their 31st year being married. If it weren’t for you Mom and Dad, I don’t know where I would be today. May every new tomorrow draw you closer to each other and may it keep the promise of today. You are the perfect example of what parents should be and how a married couple should act. Wishing you wonderful years filled with tremendous happiness and great health, in the years to come. You have me setting high expectations for my future husband Dad, and Mom you have me hoping that I can be as positive of a role model for my daughter(s) as you were for me.

309008_999118087991_630881735_nI have a busy day ahead of me, but before I go, I’d like to leave you with 20 fun facts, you might not already know about me! What are some birthday traditions your family participates in? When I was little, my parents would wrap money in coins, and hide it underneath everyone’s “slice” at my birthday party, that way everyone got an extra surprise. ♥ Molly

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” – Voltaire

Birthday

0. The day I was born 2. My second birthday 5. My “Arthur” themed 5th birthday party 6. My “Olympic” waterworks obstacle birthday party 17. We went to see the Legally Blonde musical on my 17th birthday 19. Last year we were in France so my dad and I went to the Catacombs the morning of my birthday

Twenty Interesting and Slightly Embarrassing Facts about Myself!

  1. I can do my splits. At the age of three my parents signed me up for ballet, but in all honesty, I would run around the room instead of skipping or stretching. Regardless, I fell in love and began competing when I was 7. I’ve done Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop and more, but my favourite (and strongest suit) will always be Tap.
  2. I love my name because of it’s “ring” and truthfully, it suits me perfectly. Molly Martha Schoo (pronounced shoe). People call me “Molly Pocket” because I am just barely 5’3” and I look about 14-16, but nicknames have ranged from Molly Moo to Schooster.
  3. When I was little I thought “Tim Hortons” was “Tim Portons” and I called Figure Skaters, “Finger Skaters”. My parents preserved this innocence for a bit too long!
  4. I’ve been on national television. This year I was part of a “Bell Let’s Talk Campaign” advocating for Mental Health, so I was featured on a Marilyn Dennis (Canadian Talk Show) Special!
  5. I’m a dare devil and I love adventure. Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Surfing (In Hawaii!!), Climbing a Mountain and White Water rafting are all on my “to-do” list.
  6. As a kid, I always wanted to experience living with braces, glasses and a cast. While I’ve had braces, and continue to wear glasses (or contacts) on a daily basis, I’ve never broken (nor do I want to) a bone in my life.
  7. I went through French Immersion beginning in Senior Kindergarden, so as a result I am bilingual. I hope to become fluent in a third language such as Dutch.
  8. You’ll hardly ever find me in pants or shorts. Skirts and Dresses are staples in my wardrobe (I have more than 50 everyday dresses). I admire people that can look cute in sweatpants, but I don’t think I’ll ever be someone that can feel “put together” in a tracksuit.
  9. I’d pick cardio over weight training any day. A goal of mine is to run a full marathon but I have a ways to go with my running abilities. Swimming or Zumba are my go to exercises.
  10. My taste buds are well rounded. I like vegetables and fruit equally, I enjoy “sweet” desserts but also enjoy “salty” snacks, I value protein but still love carbohydrates, and I have no preference between butter or applesauce in my baked goods!
  11. My favourite movie is Legally Blonde, I continue to watch re-runs of Gilmore Girls and the song “Just Give me a Reason” never gets old. Miss Congeniality, Everwood and Ho Hey are all close runner ups!
  12. In grade 8 I had a shirt that said “I got an A+ in Talking”. I can be pretty loud as my voice carries almost TOO well. It comes in handy when presenting or debating, but it’s also one my biggest challenges in classroom settings (Particularly meditation and yoga classes).
  13. I’d eat onions like apples if it didn’t make me cry. I find every excuse to put onions in a recipe.
  14. I collect postcards. In grade 3 I bought a package of “Hello Kitty” postcards from my school’s book sale, and ever since I’ve enjoyed picking them up when I travel. Feel free to send me one from your hometown or vacation!
  15.  I’d rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping. Fashion interests me and I enjoy pretty attire, however I am not good at spending money nor am I eager to try things on.
  16. I swallowed a penny when I was a baby! The doctors thought I had asthma but my parents later found the evidence in my diaper!
  17. I’m a games person and as much as I try to play for the fun of it, I can get pretty competitive. I’ll play just about anything, but to name a few Apples to Apples, Scattegories, Risk, Catch Phrase, Cards and Scrabble are some of my favourites.
  18. I’ve always wanted to be a twin. I have three incredible siblings (I am the youngest) all of whom I am close with, but having a relative my own age would be convenient in a lot of circumstances.
  19. If money weren’t necessary, I’d volunteer my time instead of working. I hope to find a career than enables me to give back to my community by helping others. To me, one of the greatest gifts in life is seeing the results of my generosity. Acts of kindness are so little and can have such positive effects.
  20. I love quotes. They can be so inspiring and finding the perfect one to counteract a negative thought is extremely rewarding. Some of my favourites were first spoken or written by Helen Keller, Shakespeare, Julia Childs, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein and of course Audrey Hepburn! Here’s another applicable one for today! “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Dr. Seuss quotes Graduation

Graduation is a milestone that every student looks forward to achieving. Yesterday my family congratulated my sister Emma for earning her Honours Specialization in Health Sciences with Distinction. For four years Emma has had perfect attendance as she dedicatedly studied (rehabilitation sciences) at the University of Western Ontario. Emma’s hard work really shone through earning her a Gold Medal for being the top of her graduating class. She also got to be the Gonfalon carrier for her faculty. There is something to be said about studying in the field of your interest. Emma’s passion led her to be rewarded with these privileges. While she is naturally very intelligent there is no denying that she invested extra hours into readings, lectures, studying and exams.

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To say the least, I am one very proud sister. Emma truly embodies the role of a leader and yesterday was just one more event that helped us to remember all of her past accomplishments. Emma shares her wealth of knowledge in the London community by volunteering in positions such as “LIT” tutoring. I was thankful that yesterday’s weather brought sunshine and warmth. Even though the Health Science award lunch and graduating ceremony was held inside, the majority of the gatherings (Alumni reception and photo taking) were outdoors. I welcomed the fresh air as my family and I drove a total of four hours. Despite the prolonged periods of sitting, my toes still managed to get blisters. How does this always happen?

As Dr. Seuss would say “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”. While this quote might be overused, it is the perfect saying to reference on a special day like convocation. After all, a graduation is not an end, it is the start of a new chapter in one’s life. Emma’s honours will open so many future doors and opportunities. Next year she will be continuing her education at the University of Toronto as she embarks on completing a Masters in Physiotherapy. I am excited to be her future practice patient.

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Congratulations on a well-earned celebration to all graduates out there. The world is at your feet. I can appreciate how much hard work it takes to earn a grade, certificate, diploma, degree, doctorate and or other title. It must feel outstanding to have a final show and document for proof as to what you have completed.  … Or as Emma Donoghue, who received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Western yesterday, half-hearted joked, “was given”. In case you did not know, an Honorary Doctorate is something one is chosen, or elected to receive. I thought that Emma Donoghue, the author of “Room”, was a well-deserving candidate of this award. In appreciation, Emma Donoghue delivered a  very eloquent, well-versed, witty and rhyming speech. It was a piece that I thoroughly enjoyed and I hope that one day I share my convocation with a figure as interesting as Emma Donoghue.

June is a busy month for so many and for that reason I would encourage you all to take the time to reflect on the great things that have been happening around you. Change isn’t only present when rewarded. ♥ Molly

Oh the Places You’ll Go – “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss

Happy Dad Day

I think the most original gift that my dad got today was from my sister Emma! She crocheted him a donut (And even bought him a real one) as he really enjoys this sweet treat (In particular Tim Horton’s Apple Fritters!). D is for Dad and D is also for Delicious Donuts. My dad is a dedicated, dependable, determined, daring and dapper man.

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I hope that everyone is taking time today to acknowledge a person whom they view as a father figure. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, supportive dad within my life. We have created so many memories together filled with laugher and happiness. He is the best grocery partner, sous-chef and dishwasher a little “cook” like me could ask for! My life would not be the same without you Daddy and I would not have grown to be the person that I am today! (Especially in terms of my abilities when it comes to card games and word jumbles!) You will always be the best daddy in my eyes. Congratulations as today was your first Father’s day as a “Papa”. I love you. xo. ♥ Molly

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”- Jim Valvano

Friday Fitness

Even as a child, I loved to swim. My brother and I would race to see who could be the first one in the water and of course the last one out. (We thrived on competition!) I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents in the summertime as they had a pool. I don’t think it was heated much, but I didn’t mind. While the adults conversed on the deck eating cherries, crackers and pâté, the kids would become shriveled up raisins. My siblings and I would dive to get rocks, pretend we were lifeguards, talk under water and help each other float. Remember that game Colours? We were all over it! Our imaginations would run wild as we called out shapes and foods (Such as spaghetti and meatballs) for someone to reenact as they jumped into the pool. Noodles, Floating devices and goggles were part of the drill.

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Over the years my swimming has been less about games and more about fitness. I never would have realized how great it can be for your physique. Swimming firms almost every muscle in your body without straining your joints. The water neutralizes gravity making humans virtually weightless, again minimizing any potential stress on your joints.

While lifejackets and water wings aren’t part of the drill anymore, I still have my favourite gear. Goggles make it possible for me to swim in a lane without running into anyone else. My H20 Audio device is a recent purchase, but one that I truly value. It’s neat to be motivated by music while you are underwater. Not only do swimming caps keep your hair from absorbing chlorine but they also reduce resistance created when hair drags against the water. Of course you can’t swim without a bathingsuit. My favourite one that I currently own was created by Speedo. At the recreational centre that I belong to, we are allowed to bring water bottles to the edge of the pool. My Camelback allows me to stay hydrated and gives me a valuable excuse to take a break! Lastly, I use a pool buoy when I am focusing on working my arms, a flutter board when I am improving my kicks and flippers when I am trying to increase my speed. I am fortunate to be able to borrow the last three items from the centre but you can find them for reasonable prices at your average sport store.

These photos were found through Google Images.

These photos were found through Google Images.

I usually try to swim for about an hour to an hour and a half. Here is a sample of what one of my workouts might look like.

Swimming

While I am no expert, I am definitely enjoying the learning process of swimming. I find that I swim alongside a lot of trained athletes and personal coaches. They are always willing to give me suggestions and feedback. I am also considering purchasing a book to spark some new training ideas. Given that I only completed swimming lessons until I was in Level 4 or 5, I think I am doing all right. Maybe one day I will learn to do the dolphin kick.

For my body, swimming is definitely a “no pain, plenty of gain” type of workout. It is a place where I can “Sweat” without actually “Sweating”. I am hoping to be swimming (and tanning with sunscreen) in my own pool soon, when the weather finally heats up. A streak with “no rain” would be nice don’t you think? That’s all for now. Happy Friday! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact: When my dad would drive me to swimming lessons, he would play “Every Breath You Take” by the Police because I got nervous about dunking my head under the water. Whenever I hear that song it reminds me of my dad and swimming lessons!