awards, nominations, challenges, life

Sunshine Blogger Award

I want to thank Angela at Wakening Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I was planning to share cheeky Halloween jokes this week but I couldn’t forgo this because I was so honoured to be nominated.

These awards are a fun and important opportunity to recognize and connect with more bloggers. I love finding new bloggers and spreading the news about blogs that inspire me. At the moment, I am super focussed on my novel project as Nanowrimo approaches, so I’ve kept my most of my answers pretty short. Go over to Angela’s post to read some really thoughtful answers to the questions she was given.

Sunshine Blogger Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to the original post!
  2. Answer the 11 questions they’ve asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions.
  4. HAVE FUN!

1. Have you always wanted to write? If not, how did you start?

Like many people, I had a phobia about writing. In the summer of 2015, I had a dream two nights in a row about the title and first line of a book. After the second dream, I thought I’d see where that first line led me, and I wrote a ‘book’ of almost 300 pages in less than six weeks. During that time, I got out a journal from when I was fourteen, and the first page I opened was an entry about how much I wanted to be a writer one day.

I got my wish when my career ended because my body could no longer keep up with the demands of busy, inquisitive six year olds. Three years later, I am finally able to call myself a writer without the air quotes.

2 What has been your greatest life accomplishment?

My marriage and my children.

3. What would you like to do if money was no object?

Improve housing and programs, especially mental health services, to get homeless people off the street.

4. Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Why?

Lord of the Rings. I think I was a hobbit in a previous life. Also, I went to an open audition for the movie when we lived in Christchurch. I would have accepted but Cate Blanchett needed the work. 😉

5. There’s an idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field. What are you (closest to being) an expert in?

Too many smart ass answers come to mind, so I guess it would be – being a smart ass.

6. What is your favorite book?

I don’t really have a favourite but I first read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand in university, then several more times over the years. It illuminated so many things about society that were driving me nuts at the time. It’s been awhile, I might have to pick it up again. Who is John Galt?

7. What did you think you were going to be as a child? Is that close to what you are doing now?

I briefly thought I would be a fighter pilot, so no. I also thought I might be a teacher or a writer, so yes.

8. What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learned?

Love hard, spend wisely.

9. If you could time travel, would you rather travel to the future or the past?

I would go back to my adolescent self and give her a few slaps upside the head. And a hug. Sometimes I wonder how I survived, I was so misguided and self-destructive.

10. Would you choose to join a project, such as Mars One, that aimed to colonize another planet?

Not a chance. Claustrophobia. No way I’m stuffing myself in a tube and getting blasted to outer space.

11. What do you love most about yourself that most people wouldn’t know about? (does this make sense? I guess, what’s something about you, that no one else knows,  that you love?)

The conversations I have with myself when I’m alone. I crack myself up.

New questions

  1. What is your earliest memory?
  1. What is your most frightening memory? Not to get too intense, in honour of Halloween. 👹👺🤡👻💀🎃
  1. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
  2. What is the luckiest thing that has happened to you?
  1. Are you usually early or late?
  1. What pets did you have while you were growing up?
  1. Who inspires you to be better?
  1. What was the best compliment you’ve received?
  2. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?
  3. What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to?
  4. What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

Here are my nominees:,,,,,,,,,,

No pressure to participate obviously, but I would love to hear your answers to these questions.

Funny Halloween memesFunny Halloween memes

Have a wonderful week! Happy Halloween!

❤️ Amanda

chronic illness, Health, life, MS

Tips for staying healthy in cold and flu season

The germs are a-coming!

As we approach colder weather and months spent mainly indoors, all the bacteria are getting ready to party, waiting for those unsuspecting souls who will help spread the news and invite those snot-making, cough-producing little buggers into your home and mine.

Having a chronic illness means that a simple cold can knock you out for weeks, if not months, instead of days. People may consider me a germaphobe now but having suffered from pseudo-exacerbations – not a real relapse but just as much fun – after getting the sniffles makes me wary of those invisible little suckers that are everywhere.

Before The End, my years working in the germ factory, aka an elementary school, honed my skills at preventing the spread of colds and viruses, beyond the obvious of washing your hands well, and frequently. So here are my top five tips for staying healthy and preventing the spread of colds and flu viruses this winter.

1) Don’t touch your face.

This may sound strange but if you start paying attention, you will notice how often you touch your nose or mouth. No matter how meticulous our own hygiene, other humans with filthy habits are everywhere, touching everything. Becoming aware of this will cut down on an enormous amount of germs that you let in without even thinking about it.

2) Change hand towels and dishcloths daily.

Excessive? I don’t think so, not when all the germs that come into the house are being wiped off hands and surfaces by those towels.

3) Don’t shake hands.

Yes, people sometimes react like I’ve offended them when I say “I’m sorry, I don’t shake hands in flu season.” That’s okay, I look at it as a public service announcement. Shaking hands is an outdated practice from a time when humans weren’t quite so crammed together. I don’t need to touch you to tell you that I’m pleased to meet you.

4) Use your sleeve or wear gloves when touching surfaces in public.

When opening doors, pushing elevator buttons, or using stair railings, wear gloves or use your sleeve. Sometimes it’s not possible to use your sleeve and you might feel strange wearing gloves inside, in which case don’t touch your face and wash your hands asap. Ultimately though, who cares really if someone thinks you’re a pretentious nut job if you wear gloves indoors – you won’t be snarfing into tissues and hacking up a lung. Seems like a better deal. Maybe we can start a new trend?

5) Wipe doorknobs and light switches weekly.

Starting in bedrooms and working your way through the public rooms, to the bathroom, the front hall and finally the front door(inside and out), give them all a good wipe every week. You don’t need to use the nasty chemical antibacterial crap either. A solution of 3/4 vinegar, 1/4 water, 20-25 drops of tea tree oil and 10-15 drops of lavender oil will do the trick nicely. There are some ‘green’ products that come in handy wipes and if that makes it easier, then go for it. I always use one to wipe down the shopping cart at the grocery store.

A few other things that help me through a potentially snotty season are:

* Oil Of Oregano – if I feel that I’m getting sick I put 5-10 drops under my tongue and wash it down with LOTS of water. It’s an acquired taste.

* Zinc – a tickle in my throat and I start downing the quick dissolve zinc tablets.

* Infrared sauna – if you haven’t tried one, I highly recommend it. I know lots of MSers can’t stand heat so it’s not an option for everyone. I only stay in for 15-20 minutes but it’s a very different, less oppressive heat than a traditional sauna and I can feel it zapping those nasty buggers while I’m in there.

I am not a health professional in any way but I have found these things have helped me avoid getting sick for the last two years. Of course, it could be that my immune system is on overdrive all the time and addicted to my myelin so other germs never have a chance. Not worth taking the chance.

One final public health announcement: If you do get sick, PLEASE STAY HOME! There is a misguided belief in our capitalistic society that it’s a badge of honour to show up at work even when you’re at death’s door. Or to send your kid to school when they’re dribbling booger snakes. Really you’re being an asshole.

Caveat: Single parents reliant on a single pay check are not assholes in this instance. This is where we need to reconnect as communities and help each other out as family, friends and neighbours. Everyone needs a support system.

Noooo! We need to get over this mentality.

I used to say to my students, there are lots of things we should share with each other, germs are not one of them.

Do you have any good tips to share for staying healthy? Let me know in the comments.

Stay healthy, my friends. Have a wonderful week!

❤️ Amanda


Healthy resources for chronic illnesses

Another wonderful post by Grace at MS Graceful…Not with suggestions of MS bloggers to follow for inspiration. So honoured to be included. I highly recommend all her suggestions, wonderful bloggers, you should check them out if you haven’t already. xo

MS Graceful...NOT!

Last week I shared, my list of Not your Typical Blogger Awards recommendations.  I mentioned in the post that I also had recommendations for chronic illness bloggers that were inspirational and motivating that I would share if requested.

As I continued to reread posts from February of last year, I realized that I had completely forgotten that not only did I actually write a little about MS in February, but I also made a video about being newly diagnosed> I was also fortunate enough to have some of those very same inspirational and motivational bloggers do guest posts on my blog.  Their names and links to their blogs can be found here.

I would like to add a few of the chronic illness bloggers that I have also begun following since that post was written that I also find very motivating and helpful.

First is Terri, from Reclaiming…

View original post 542 more words

chronic illness, life, MS, writing

Grant, the cabbie has the cure!

I wake up slightly hungover and more than ready to get home. Strung out after four days facing my own anxiety and the fact that some women never leave high school, I need some serious solitude. I phone a cab and wait outside in the crisp morning air, dying for coffee.

The cab pulls up and the white-haired driver gets out. Red suspenders hold up dirty brown pants and a stained blue dress shirt stretches over an enormous belly. Sparkling blue eyes magnify curiosity behind enormous glasses.

“Where are you off to this fine morning, young lady?” He peeps at me in the rear view mirror and tips his grimy white baseball cap.

“Home to Victoria. I missed my bus yesterday so I was staying with a friend.” I’m taking shallow breaths because the air in the cab is custard thick with that sickly-sweet old man smell. It doesn’t feel right to open the window. I don’t know why.

“And what do you do in Victoria, young lady?”

“Well, I’m a teacher by trade but I don’t teach anymore. Now I’m a writer.” There, I said it without air quotes. Yay me!

“And why is it that you no longer teach, may I ask?”

“I have MS. I would love to —”

“I know how to cure that. It’s one of two things.”

Jesus. “Oh yeah?”

“Absolutely. It’s either a yeast overgrowth or a magnesium deficiency.”

Haven’t heard those before.

I try to stare out the window as he pontificates nonsensically but he keeps eyeballing me through the rear view.

He tells me he sells essential oils and I want to laugh, but I can barely breathe.

The longest ten-minute cab ride finally ends. He hands me a card with the words ‘wellness advocate’ under his name before he gets out to open the trunk.

He lets me get my own suitcase as he starts telling me about his prostate. Seriously. I finally cut him off and say I need coffee. He makes sure to tell me that he’s going to get coffee too, but in the car.

I’m sitting in Starbucks with my headphones on and see him drive by, glasses peering through the window. Several minutes later, I spot him in my peripheral vision. He’s come inside and he’s trying to get my attention. Oh for the love of all that’s holy.

Thank god for technology.


This is an excerpt from a short story I wrote after the writing retreat I went to in September. This dude just may pop up in my fiction at some point – who needs to make characters up when these kinds of people show up in your life? I wish my powers of description could do him justice, he truly was something else. His card is still on our fridge – haha!

Just to be clear:

1) There is NO CURE for multiple sclerosis.

2) Warriors find it really annoying when people suggest they know how to fix us, if we just follow their latest fad. Most of us have tried many, many different therapies and medications. MS is a complex disease that affects every person in a different way on a different day. If you have something to suggest, I’m all ears – if it’s done with sensitivity and respect.

Do you have stories of people giving you the magic cure? I’d love to hear them!

Have a wonderful week!

❤️ Amanda

awards, nominations, challenges, life, mental health

Pick-Me-Up Playlist – World Mental Health Day

I normally only post on Mondays, but Muted Mouthful, included me in this tag for World Mental Health Day, and I couldn’t resist. Thanks Muted Mouthful! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, head over there for great posts from a socially anxious introvert.


  1. Link back to ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ creator – Laura Spoonie –
  2. Tag the blogger who nominated you
  3. Mention how music helps your Mental Health
  4. List 10 songs that you would consider to be a part of your ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ (optional: mention a little bit why each song is on your list)
  5. Tag 10 other bloggers to join in with the ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ Challenge

How music helps my mental health

For me, music is the perfect solution for any mood. When I’m joyful, I crank some disco and boogie all over the house. When I’m mellow and reflective, classical music spurs my ideas and imagination. Most importantly, on the dark days, the hard days, the days where I would rather stay nestled in bed than face the world with this achy body, I can put on my headphones and choose any of these songs to get me up and moving. Yes, I’m a bit of a metal head and I’m totally not current with today’s music. Rock on!

1) Spirit of the West – any of their songs really, amazing Canadian folk rock band

2) My Chemical Romance – Famous Last Words

3) Metallica – Welcome Home (Sanitarium) – This was my teenage anthem. Listening to it now reminds me of how far I’ve come from that confused, angry teenager.

4) Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills

5) AC/DC – For Those About to Rock

6) Billy Idol – Can’t Break Me Down

7) Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger

8) Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

9) Van Morrison – Into the Mystic

10) The Stone Roses – Ten Storey Love Song

Other bloggers I nominate

I picked mostly newer blogs that could use some love, so I hope you’ll check them out!

Thanks again to for initiating the Pick-Me-Up Playlist tag. Let’s keep spreading awareness so we can break the stigma of mental illness.

Happy Wednesday!!