Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Name is Kerri, and I'm a Chocoholic


Yes, I admit it. And in the admitting, I am set free. I have had a sugar addition since I was quite young. Candy, icecream, cookies, cake (you get the idea) have been in my daily diet for decades. I craved it, stockpiled it, hid it and devoured it.

At my annual doctor's appointment last month, my doctor went over my blood work with me. My cholesterol had dropped 5 points since last year, thyroid was healthy, blood sugar was perfect, everything was in normal range. "I'm addicted to sugar!" I blurted out. There, I said it. I needed to say it. She wasn't asking for it in the least, but I needed to own it, share it and let it go. We talked about it for a bit, she gave me some advice and sent me on my way.

Since that appointment, my sugar craving is gone. I don't think that was the only reason for it, but it was the final piece I needed. For quite some time now, I have been making steps towards better health. I have been listening to my intuition and immersing myself in healthier reading, TV and radio programs. Many ideas and repetitive signs to take action have been coming my way, so I followed them.

I have a list of intentions ("I am's") that I state when I meditate. Here are some of them:

  • I am thin.
  • I am perfect wellness.
  • I am losing weight quickly and healthfully.
  • I am craving healthy foods.

I have also been praying for help in eliminating my sugar cravings and eating better.

I have been eating healthier, going to the gym, and have even started using a hula hoop (it's a bit comical right now, but I plod on!). I have really felt like everything I needed to do to live a healthier life was coming together wonderfully except for the sugar. And honestly, I was so addicted, I didn't know if I wanted to give it up. I knew it was toxic, and at times I even felt angry from it after eating it. It gave me brain fog, forgetfulness and exhaustion. Yes, the chocolate bar cried out for me, and I always relented. The cravings were incredibly intense.

A few weeks before the doctor appointment, I had given up my morning muffins. It was a staple with my morning coffee (no sugar in the coffee, I was actually able to give that up last year). There were 4 tiny chocolate chip muffins in a bag. Total junk. There were at least two occasions where I opened a bag, ate a muffin and tasted some weird chemical, carbon dioxide-ish burst of yuk. I don't know if it was from what they fill the bag with (like they do with potato chip bags to keep the chips from crushing), but you would think that would have stopped me from buying them. Nope. Get buying, kept shoving them in my pie hole. Addiction at its finest.

There were just so many layers to my addiction to sugar. It was my escape when I was anxious, my reward when I accomplished something, it was my go to for everything. Sad? Candy. Happy? Candy. Tired? Candy. Candy, candy and more candy with a side of donuts. You can not even imagine the sheer volume of sweets I could consume in a day. I knew all of the junk was actually starving my body (even though it was ballooning on the outside), but I couldn't stop it.

I believe in the Law of Attraction. What you put out into the universe as an intention or belief, will appear. It took some time, but it happened. I persisted with my desire to change by envisioning it, and knowing that I would connect to better health. I continue to envision myself at the ideal weight I would like to be, and I know I will be that. I am not on a diet, I'm not starving myself. I just cut out the candy fest, soda, cakes...I could go on but you know what I'm talking about! Sugar!! I even made it through Halloween with candy in the house, and didn't have a bite. And it wasn't difficult for me. 

For the first time, I haven't had any sugar withdrawals. I have tried in the past to let go of sugar, usually combined with a low-calorie diet, and I was miserable. I'm not counting calories this time, but I am eating so much healthier that I'm losing weight.

Here are some points that I feel have really helped me make this change:

  • Start with a desire.
  • Set an intention (write it down, say it aloud...often)
  • Watch for the signs (and your intuition) and follow them.
  • Pray.
  • Meditate on your intention.
  • Live as if what you want is already here. The universe will provide you with what you put out there. Speak, think and feel like it already is in existence (It may take practice, but you can do it!).
  • Feel worthy. Know that you deserve all the joy, love, peace, health, abundance and more that you want. And there is enough of it all for everyone.
  • Be patient. The change could occur immediately, or take some time (as mine did). Giving up will never get you where you want to be.
  • Express gratitude. Give thanks for everything. And give thanks as if what you want is already here. "Thank you for my quick and easy weight loss" etc.

I'll be giving updates on my health journey. Feel free to comment and share your journey too!

In Gratitude and Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Tale Of Three Angels


Fifteen years ago a wonderful man came into my life. I often told him that he was my angel. On my first birthday I celebrated with him, he gave me this beautiful angel necklace to remind me. It became a symbol of love and protection for me. 

I remember one day I wasn't wearing the angel and a truck backed into me at a stop light. I wear it very often, sometimes wrapped around my wrist when I'm wearing a different necklace.I'm not attached to many physical things anymore, but aside from my wedding rings, this is one of the most meaningful things I own. 

I had taken it off recently and thought I had placed it on the bathroom counter top. When I realized it wasn't there, I tried to remember why I took it off. I thought it was when I colored my hair, as not to get any dye on it. I was hoping that I hadn't accidentally thrown it out with the packaging and dye bottles.

My next go to place was my jewelry drawer. I have organizer trays that hold my necklaces, bracelets and earrings. It must be there. Nope. I went back to that drawer (and the bathroom counter top) about 10 times.

I didn't panic about this. I normally do. I heard recently that worrying blocks you, and I wanted to stay open, knowing that I would find it. I could truly sense that this would work. My intuition is getting strong and louder, now that I'm allowing it. Every time I started to have a fearful thought, I stopped it and reminded myself that I would find it by remaining calm. I tried to remember which archangel it was that could specifically help. And I know Saint Anthony is known for finding lost objects too. But I just spoke generally to the angels asking for help. I did this several times over a few days.

Saturday morning I took my eight-seventh scan of the counter top and jewelry drawer to no avail. I thought, maybe I stuck it in a pair of pants, meaning to put i back in the drawer. I went into my closet and went through all of my jeans. No necklace.

I walked towards the front of the closet (it's like a long, narrow hallway) and to the left are shelves for shoes, gift wrapping supplies, bags and more. It's not here, I thought. Why would it be? But I stopped for a moment and looked anyway. Even though it didn't make any sense, I felt like I should look.

I noticed a bag laying on its side with a jewelry box in it. I didn't remember putting it there. I pulled the box out for a second and thought of just putting it back in the bag. I thought, open it. So I did. I saw the soft, grey pouch that I know so well. I almost closed the box, that piece of jewelry was already in my drawer. Then I thought, open the pouch. It still made no sense to me, but I opened it. Can you guess what was inside?

I had goosebumps all over my arms when I saw the necklace (I even have them now, typing this). I thanked the angel who helped me. Honestly, I felt a bit unworthy at first. But I'm working on this. I know feeling that way only blocks me from getting closer to the divine. I also know deep down, that every single one of us is worthy. So that doesn't mean everyone, except me.

I was planning on spending the day going through my entire bedroom looking for it. I had scanned the room briefly and I'm embarrassed to say I did find a cache of dusty M&M's behind my bedroom table. Clearly some deep cleaning and dietary changes are in order. But that's a whole different story (and will be blogged about, of course!).


So instead of spending the day searching, I am outside writing amongst the trees, birds, butterflies and Scar (a beautiful kitty who I will also be blogging about soon!). I will also spend the day raking leaves, hugging trees, feeling extremely grateful, and loving this amazing gift of life.

The more that you ask for a connection to the divine, the more you receive it. The louder their voices get, and the quieter your ego voice gets. They are speaking to us all the time. The more I meditate, the more I attune with those gentle, guiding nudges. I don't dismiss them anymore. It is getting easier and easier, and more and more beautiful. 

I know this angel necklace, given to me by my angel, was found with the guidance of an angel. Those voices we hear, those thoughts and feelings we get that sometimes don't seem to make sense, are our angels, our guides, our own divine wisdom. They will get louder and clearer if you want them to. You only need to ask and trust. We have the unlimited universe within us and around us, why not access it?

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Review: Assertiveness for Earth Angels by Doreen Virtue




I absolutely love Doreen Virtue and I've never met a Hayhouse book I haven't liked. As a recovering people pleaser, Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to be Loving Instead of "Too Nice" by Doreen Virtue was the perfect choice as my latest read. This one actually screamed out to me. 

Doreen describes Earth Angels as highly sensitive people with an innocence regarding love and life, believing in God's loving power, gentle, caring, seeing the best in others, trusting, optimistic and more. She digs deep into the many pitfalls of being such a sensitive being, and how to learn to be assertive without being aggressive.

For as far back as I can remember, I have found myself giving too much, and yet still feeling like it was not enough. I always had high expectations for what I needed to do for others, but never held anyone to that impossible standard. I even helped people who were quite capable of helping themselves. After reading Doreen's book, I learned that my jumping in to try and "save" them didn't really do them any favors. They have their own path, and their own lessons to learn. I also learned that giving for the wrong reasons can cause resentment, fatigue, money issues, health issues and more. Pure giving, she teaches, is not out of guilt, feeling sorry or obligation. 

She discusses how to set healthy boundaries, how to handle professional victims, gossipers, martyrs, guilt trippers, toxic relationships, narcissists and sociopaths (who tend to take advantage of kind, giving people). 

I was an extremely sensitive and quiet child. Although I was often bullied, it was always easier to stand up for others. I could feel their pain and I didn't want them to suffer. I remember my college years and so enjoying going out with my friends. But I also remember not liking large crowds. Trust me, we had lots of fun together, but I also remember feeling drained (not from my dear friends, just the crowd around us) and needing time by myself too. I honestly felt weird for that. Now at 48, I am more sensitive than ever. I absorb everyone's energy, whether positive or negative. It wears on me. I didn't realize that is what was happening to me, until I read Doreen's book. I thought that I wasn't a strong enough person to have my own thoughts and feelings. I felt weak. That's not what it is. I'm empathic. Picking up on the feelings of my classmates when I was a child, was because I truly could feel what they were feeling. Needing quiet time through my college years (and now too), was because the energy I was picking up was exhausting me. I feel very grateful to Doreen that I can now feel compassion towards myself for who I am, instead of criticism. There are so many ways to look at a situation, and more and more I am taking the positive view. That is what is so wonderful about reading books like this, you can find who you really are, and let go of that negative voice.

Doreen shows how how to enjoy life instead of people pleasing. She talks about following your passion and shows how we can use delay tactics instead of working on our life purpose by overeating, compulsive shopping, addictive internet surfing, substance abuse and more.


She shows us how to shield ourselves from harsh energies with crystals, angel lights, clearing, grounding and trees (yes, go hug a tree, it heals!). Also, you will learn how to have more time and energy by exercising, stretching and releasing, and eating healthfully. 

There is so much wonderful information packed into this book, and what I love about Doreen, is that she is honest and caring. She guides us to be truthful with ourselves about our real intentions, and provides so many tools to live an authentic, positive, peaceful and purposeful life.

As you can probably tell by now, I highly recommend this book.

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Smudging: A Beginner's Journey



Smudging is a custom of Native Americans and other cultures to clear negative spiritual energy from a space, an object and even people. I have been wanting to smudge my home for quite awhile, so I ordered a Home Blessing & Cleansing kit. A beautiful feather, abalone bowl, oil, salt crystals and more soon arrived. I wanted to literally clear the air in our home. The intention was to release any heaviness and have our home feeling light, positive and happy.

I am most grateful to the amazing Reiki Master Sharna Langlais, who I came to know through Instagram (@sharnalanglais). She had posted beautiful instructions on smudging, and I felt even more inspired to try it. I had also read tips and prayers from Hayhouse author, soul coach and space clearing extraordinaire Denise Linn.


Home Blessing & Cleansing Kit


I held onto the kit for months, feeling a little tentative about trying it... waiting for just the right moment. Well honestly, I was a little scared of trying something new! But that's when you really need to do something! So I decided to smudge during my sons' first day of school.  I thought it would be a good way to kick off the school year, and the house would be quiet for me to figure out what I was doing.


Combining what I learned from Sharna, Denise, the sage kit, and my own inner guidance, I set out to smudge. I held the feather to my chest and blessed and thanked the beautiful bird that it came from. I opened the windows (but not enough, I found out later!), lit the bundle of sage and set it in the bowl. Now mind you, the instructions clearly stated to blow out the fire once it started. I thought, how can I make it through my entire house without it completely extinguishing itself? A lesson in stubbornness or trust for me, perhaps? I now know to follow the instructions! Because I left some of the embers burning, I had quite a bit of smoke. But I had nothing to compare it to, since I've never done this before. So I started on my journey, billowing smoke and all...
I said a prayer and smudged myself as best I could. I used the feather to waft the smoke, and went from the top of my head to my toes, and up the back of myself as far as I was able to reach. Next I went to the front door and even outside at the threshold, said the prayer, smudged and made the eternity symbol with the sage. Here is the prayer I said. You can say what feels right to you:

"Dear God, Jesus, angels, archangels, spirit guides, divine masters and my guardian angels- please remove any negative energy caused by myself or others and sent it up to Heaven for transmutation. And so it is."

I was nervous. Was I doing this right? Was I saying the right words? I felt a bit stressed. 

Next I went to the dining room/living room (it's one big room, so I did it all together). Starting in the east corner (iPhone compass app was invaluable) I said my cleansing prayer and went in a clockwise motion around the room (some go counterclockwise when smudging, clockwise just felt right for me). I fanned the increasingly thick smoke into the air. I stopped at every window and made the sign of the cross with the sage. My kit did contain oil for the windows and salt crystals for the doorways, but it felt a little extreme for my first smudging, so I left that for next time (maybe). When I made it back to my starting point, I said the same prayer again. I ended by making the infinity sign with the sage. 

I did the same ritual in the kitchen and garage. At this point, I realized I'd better blow out the sage before the cats collapsed, or it set off the fire alarm. I blew the sage bundle and the ashes went flying. Setting the house ablaze was also not in my plans, so I made sure I collected the ashes and placed them in the bowl. I smudged the back door, the first floor bathroom, the closet  and even the staircase to the second floor. I started and ended each area with the prayer, made the cross symbol at the windows and the infinity symbol when I returned to each starting point.

By the time I got upstairs I suddenly became aware that I felt calm. I was kind of flitting through the rooms at this point, and it felt like a spiritual, moving ceremony. I was in my smudging zone and it felt beautiful. I felt so joyful when I realized how relaxed I was.

I finished the smudging and my house felt at peace. I felt at peace. Um, but the house was filled with smoke. The air was so still outside, that it didn't pull the smoke out. I was a little concerned that everyone in the house would be breathing too much sage smoke, so I cranked the fans on full blast for awhile. 

I definitely learned that blowing out the smudging stick was sage advice! (drum roll please) I also learned to push myself when there is something I want to do, but don't know how to do it. When I don't have the answers, there are wonderful people out there that do. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. I know that when I do this again, I won't feel that apprehension. I also don't have to feel that it has to be done "perfectly." All I need is a positive intention. And isn't that true for anything?

In Gratitude (and a puff of smoke),

Kerri



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Dr. Wayne Dyer




It is time for me to start writing again, and I couldn't begin without honoring Dr. Wayne Dyer. I have written about him before in my blog An Open Letter of Gratitude To Dr. Wayne Dyer where I discussed how his teaching of the power of intention allowed me to meet and thank my spiritual hero in person. I will forever be grateful for that moment.

The soul already knows:
So much has been swirling around my mind with the physical loss of this amazing soul. I have been thinking about how the soul already knows before our ego mind does. I was in my kitchen cooking on Saturday, September 30th, and Wayne Dyer popped into my head. I was thinking about when I met him, and the enormous energy of love that I felt being in his presence. A couple of hours later, I read on Doreen Virtue's Facebook page that he left the physical plane. I read many of the Hayhouse writer's pages and listen to Hayhouse radio,  and have heard similar messages over and over. People were thinking of him, or felt his presence, or received a sign before or after his passing. 

Anita Moorjani mentioned on Lisa Garr's Hayhouse Radio Show, that Wayne usually wanted her to speak about what she learned from her near death experience during their lectures together. At his final lectures in Australia, he wanted her to talk about the experience during it. It was a shift from the norm. Did his soul already know what was to happen? I believe our soul is always speaking to us, we just need to quiet our minds and listen.



Butterflies and other signs:
I have been seeing butterflies everywhere. I had just posted on social media about Wayne's butterfly story from his book Inspiration (it is one of my favorites) and shortly after, his PBS video about it was featured at his tribute. I have been seeing butterflies on Instagram posts, on artwork and in my yard. They will always remind me of Wayne.

One of his beautiful daughters Serena posted a picture on Facebook of the water in Maui, where her family paddled out to spread their dad's ashes. In the water was Wayne's face. It is so clear and obvious.

Anita Moorjani spoke at his tribute of orange flowers she received just before she heard the news. Orange is her favorite color and Wayne always teased her about it. I also read that an orange was on stage "mysteriously" at her lecture for I Can Do It! Orlando this past weekend. There are so many stories, and they will continue because he is everywhere now.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." -Dr. Wayne Dyer

A message with a miracle:
He had no trace of leukemia in his body. This may sound a little ooga booga, but I don't think you would be reading this unless you appreciated some thinking beyond what we can see and touch, so here goes: on Gerry Gavin's Hayhouse Radio Show "Messages from Margaret," Margaret channeled Wayne a few weeks ago on air, and it made me think how wonderful it would be if someone could channel him and write a book about this. I could see this happening through the large spiritual community he was involved with. With Gerry and Esther Hicks alone, some wild things could happen! I have thought about all of the things he had been discussing, John of God and his remote healing, coffee enemas, juices, and most importantly how he viewed his diagnosis.This could help everyone, even those without illnesses. You can create your own miracles. What an incredible message he left us with. He believed anything was possible and he proved it.


Inspiring others:
He planted so many seeds within us. And they will sprout and grow to pass on his words, wisdom, kindness and love. We will continue to blossom, as he did learning from all of the teachers he so admired. Through his teachings, books, CD's, DVD's and more, there will always be a piece of him with us. We are his messengers, and those seeds of wisdom will continue to be exhaled into the universe. Can you not picture a future college class on Dyerism? There is something magical about all of the lessons he taught us. And I am hearing so many people talk about how they will continue to honor him by being kinder, grateful, and more loving. 


"Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul."-Dr. Wayne Dyer

I don't have a fear of death because of him. He knew what is behind the veil. And I know that he is everywhere now. Mind you, I'm not that evolved, I'm still crying. I feel the loss of his physical presence. But I know that he is in such an expanded state now that he can hear and touch all of us at the same time. I believe his work has just begun and it is going to be incredible. 



"Remember, purpose is about giving…All you can do with your life is to give it away in the service of others."-Dr. Wayne Dyer
Being love:
He gave to everyone, and gave, and gave some more. He gave his life away, and that was his intention. He went out of his way to make everyone he encountered feel special. He lifted everyone up and brought so many beautiful people with incredible messages into our awareness. I choose to honor him by continuing to spread his message, to live from a place of love and see the love in others. Dr. Wayne Dyer is love. 

I send prayers and love always to his family, his wonderful assistant Maya and his dear friends.

You are now part of the morning breeze, and I feel so blessed for all you have done and will continue to do. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Wayne Dyer. Namaste.

In Gratitude and Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Energy Healing by Abby Wynne


I first learned of Abby Wynne through Instagram (@abbynrghealing). I love her uplifting and positive posts. She is a Shamanic Psychotherapist, Energy Healer, Spiritual Teacher and Author from Dublin, Ireland. When I realized she had a book coming out through Hay House on Energy Healing, I could not wait to get my hands on it!

Energy Healing: Unlock Your Potential as a Healer and Bring Healing into Your Everyday Life by Abby Wynne is a beautiful guide to learn how to use energy healing on yourself and others. I read the book in its entirety for the purpose of this review, but I am now back to the beginning to work each exercise step by step. This is not the type of book that you read and put back on the shelf. It is a guide to a healthy, healing way of life.

Abby explains what energy healing is in easy to understand language, and her book is so full of wonderful information. She explains the different types of healing modalities and practitioners. She also shares her journey into healing. I always appreciate when authors are willing to share their personal story. It makes her writing even more genuine, because she is not only teaching us, she is living it.

She guides us in creating a "space of love." I just love that term! She teaches us how to center and ground ourselves. One of my biggest issues is feeling others' emotions so deeply that I take them on. I appreciate being empathic, but it can be draining to pick up negative energies so easily. Abby teaches us how to visualize a protective bubble around ourselves to shield the energies we don't want to let in. And it works!



Abby teaches us how to "pull down" Universal Life Force Energy into us for the purpose of healing. We also learn clearing, expanding, mindfulness, and how to bring healing to ourselves, family, the office and more. And as if all of this isn't enough (and believe me, I haven't nearly covered it all!), she also provides resources at the end for even more information.

I highly recommend Energy Healing. Thank you Abby for this wonderful book. I am now incorporating Energy Healing as part of my spiritual practice. I am grateful for your wisdom and for your generosity in sharing it all with us!


In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Angels - How to See, Hear and Feel Your Angels by Kyle Gray



I learned of Kyle Gray through one of Robert Holden's weekly shows on Hayhouseradio. I began following him on Facebook and Instagram, and was eager to read one of his books. One day on Facebook he mentioned that he was putting 30 signed copies of Angels - How to See, Hear and Feel Your Angels for sale on his website. I hurried to his site and was thrilled to purchase one just in time!

When my Angel book arrived from Scotland, I was grateful for the message inscribed from the author: "The angels want you to know that you are a huge force of love. There is so much goodness within it. Even though you many not see it - but they do! Let heaven guide you on the journey to self-love! <3 Kyle"

As I have been adding more and more time for myself to relax, I found that warm, candlelit baths with epsom salt, along with a cup of chamomile tea are quite wonderful. What better book to take along with me than Angels? I affectionately refer to my reading of this book as "Bath time with Kyle," since the entire book was read in the bathtub! These evenings were pure indulgence for me. Such a beautiful book, written from the heart. So much information, and worded such, that even an angel newbie like me could grasp.

Kyle takes us through the different types of angels, archangels, meeting our guardian angel, seeing, hearing and feeling angels, prayers, affirmations and more. The prayers and affirmations are beautiful, and as I read via candlelight, the bath become a sanctuary. It was luminous, spiritual, heavenly. 



I enjoyed learning how Kyle began on his beautiful path of connecting with the angels. He shows us how angels can help us in different aspects of our life: happiness, abundance, guidance, protection and more. We just need to allow them to help. Kyle also provides meditations, exercises and summarizes each chapter. 

He teaches us how to cleanse our energy through exercise, yoga and more. Perfect for my bathtime ritual, I also learned that a Himalayan Salt bath makes for an excellent detox. I did try it, and boy was I wiped out after! I could see how much I needed it. It's demanding on the circulatory system, so check with your doctor before you do this if you have any health issues, weak or poor heart circulation.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to connect with their angels, or who want to learn more about them. It is a beautiful affirmation that we are never alone, we are supported and loved always, and we can always connect to them. Thank you Kyle for giving us the tools to do just that.




In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Things Are Getting Hairy!



Well, they are getting hairy in a good way. As we last left off on the continuing saga of "Where'd My Hair Go?" I had visited the dermatologist and was given some instructions to get back on track. It included Biotin, Viviscal, a multivitamin, Nioxin shampoo and conditioner, washing my hair only twice a week (still a yikes for me!), not using hair dye (I'm 50 shades of gray now), eating protein three times a day, and taking an hour of alone time every day.

So, how is it going? Quite well so far! In the beginning I was still feeling very stressed over my hair. But I guess that is to be expected for someone who was stressed out enough for it to fall out. I knew I needed to calm down, not just for the hair recovery, but for my life and family. I know what I'm putting out there is being picked up by everyone around me, and I certainly don't want to do that to my family, myself or anyone else around me. My whole venture into the spiritual realm was to be peaceful, calm and happy. With all I know about self-care, I should look like Rapunzel. So, it was time to start putting everything I know into practice. Serious practice. Not so serious that it's stressful, but a real commitment to it.

I was keeping a gratitude journal, but I certainly wasn't writing in it daily. I think when you want to become grateful (or anything for that matter), that you need to practice it. So I started writing more. And as it had done in the past, the more I wrote, the more things to be grateful for came into view. I also added a synchronicity section to my journal. I have been noticing more signs, more things that I am thinking about that appear. So to increase my awareness of it, I am noting it. Awhile back, I put together a list of "I am's." All of the things that I want to attract into my life and want to be: kindness, peace, love, abundance, etc. I am now adding 'I am's" to my journal as well.  All of these are on a positive level, and that is what I want to focus on. I am letting go of the things I feared that were dragging me down. 

I have known from the beginning that this was a gift. I was getting signs that I wasn't taking care of myself and was worrying too much. I pushed them away. That's another reason why I'm keeping an awareness of the synchronicities in writing. I don't want to ignore the signs that are always there. I want to develop them even more and honor what I'm being told. 

Here's a list of some of the things I've been doing during my "me time:"

  • Warm baths with epsom salt. I light some candles, bring some chamomile tea and an inspiring book. It's so peaceful. I read, pray, meditate and relax.
  • Pampering: I paint my nails, do a face mask, and sometimes just take a short nap.
  • Meditation: I have meditation CDs, apps and there a tons of Youtube videos too. I meditate every morning and at night, and during some of my special alone time, I meditate some more!
  • Getting crafty: I make jewelry, color, draw and write. I used to draw all the time, but in the past 10 years or more, I just haven't. That's a long time to let go of my creative side. 
  • Yoga: I have DVD's for stress relief and for beginners, so I've given it a go and I like it!
  • Exercise: crunches, leg exercises, dumbbells, exercise ball and waist twists with a pvc bar.
My hair feels better. My eyebrows and eyelashes started coming back in first. They must be quicker to grow. I really wish I took a picture of what my eyelashes looked at during their worst, but it was very similar to this look:

My eyebrows are growing out in an interesting fashion. Some of them are growing straight out. They are kind of in every direction. My leg hair are still growing in strange patches. My mustache, however is growing in phenomenally. Life does have a sense of humor! My fingernails have never looked better.The hair on my head feels better. It is still falling out more than normal, but it just feels stronger and healthier. It hasn't been a long time, not even two months since I started taking care of myself. Normally it takes about three months for any real results. I am happy with how things are going though. I know I'm on the right path.

There is so much I've learned from this. I know now that honoring my creative gifts is nurturing my soul and honoring our creator. So is treating my body well by feeding it healthy foods, exercising, getting enough rest and taking time to myself. I am a better mom, wife and human being by taking care of myself. It's not selfish, it is giving everyone best version of myself.


My intention for sharing my story wasn't for me. I wanted to share for anyone else that might be going through the same. But you know what happens when you give, it comes back. I am grateful to my husband for being so loving (as always) and even taking me to hug a tree (it's really good to do, I highly recommend it!). I am grateful to my boys for understanding without question or concern for themselves, my daily time alone. I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to read about my journey. I am grateful to the ones who reached out with love and advice. I'm grateful to those who shared their stories about stressful things they were going through. It makes things less lonely when you can speak your truth and not keep it inside. I am grateful for the unexpected kindness I received in the mail, it filled me with such joy (and always will!). I am grateful to God, Jesus, the archangels, angels, spirit guides, divine masters and my guardian angel for your constant loving presence. 

Thank you to everyone. We are not alone and we are all loved. The more we reach out and share, the more we will see it. 

In Gratitude and Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

And the doctor says...


Thank you to so many of you for reaching out after my last blog. It was wonderful to know I had so much support, and I am grateful to everyone for sharing your similar stories. There is so much comfort in knowing we're not alone, and I am extremely grateful for this unexpected blessing!

As we last left my hair falling saga, I was to visit the dermatologist next. Hormones and thyroid issues were ruled out as causing the excessive hair loss. It took almost 3 months to get in to her office, but it was worth the wait (except for the piles of hair on the floor).

It is so wonderful to meet a new doctor and feel immediately at ease. She carefully listened to my issue, medical history and examined my hair. She asked if I had been under stress, just like my primary care physician had first asked. She was surprised that I was losing hair on my entire body. She said that the hair on my head was thinning, but it wasn't falling out in patches. She looked at my legs and said the hair that was growing, wasn't normal hair. Actually it's the same way my arms look now. I look like a turkey (my description, not hers). Do you know what I mean? When you prep your turkey you can see these thin hair sprouts popping out? That's me right now. I have turkey legs (and arms).

After worrying, and worrying about why my hair was falling out, I found out that the cause was...worry. Oh the irony! Yes, stress had most likely caused this. 

She felt that my hair loss wasn't permanent. And giant exhale...phew. Next she told me what I needed to do. And she kept repeating the mantra "And you will do this, right?" It was very sweet, as it was the voice of concern and caring. I was grateful for it.



So here are my instructions. And of course, keep in mind I'm letting you know my specific treatment. I'm not on any other medication or have any other health issues. So if you are experiencing hair loss, of course see your doctor first and get to the "root" of it. There are many health issues that can cause it. Here we go:


  • Use Nioxin cleanser and leave-in scalp treatment. (I'm using the rinse-out conditioner too without her instruction). They come in different numbers based on untreated, treated hair and other types. I'm using #4 for chemically treated/thinning hair. Only wash my hair twice a week (Omg, I usually wash my hair every day or else an oil well sprouts atop my head. This is not going to be pretty.).
  • No hair dye, hair dryer or heat products on my head. I have to treat it like baby hair.
  • Take Viviscal Extra Strength Nutrient Tablets twice a day.
  • Take Biotin 5,000 mcq once a day. There's many brands out there.
  • Take a multivitamin once a day. Here's my choice.
  • Eat a palm-sized serving of meat protein 3 times a day. "You'll do this, right?
     I nodded yes. And I'm not allowed to diet (Permission not to diet, things are looking up!).
  • Take 1 hour to myself every day. And a very serious "You'll do this, right?" I told her yes, absolutely. No phone, no distractions, and a"do not disturb" sign on the door if I need it. I am supposed to do things that will relax me: meditate, yoga, bath, etc.
I am scheduled to go back to see my dermatologist in 3 months. She said my hair won't be the same, but it should grow back. This is an amazing lesson for me on the mind/body connection and how important it is to take care of every aspect of ourselves. I feel grateful that this only affected my hair, and I didn't have a stroke or something worse. So I am on the road to calmness, with instructions in hand and a new appreciation for caring for the house that holds my soul.

My next blog will be about the ways I'm learning to relax! Thank you for coming along this journey with me.

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

And then my hair fell out...



This was certainly not something I was expecting.  I held out writing about this sooner, because I wanted to find out what was happening to me first. Even though I had my suspicions...

I had been feeling wonderful.  Despite the job loss, the next job with their unethical procedures, six months of unemployment and the stress of a new job in a totally different career, I felt good.  I was meditating, walking, immersing myself in my small business which all gave me joy. I felt that my attitude was positive and I was looking at all that happened as leading me towards something greater.

And my then my hair fell out... 

It started last November. I had very long hair, it was straight, but very full.  I was always finding my hair all of the house, but this was different. Groups of hair were coming out together in my hands in the shower. They never did that before. There was always a bunch of them, but they traveled alone. It just didn't seem right. I just had a complete blood workup at the end of October and I was tested for thyroid imbalance since it runs in my family. It was normal.

I let things slide through the Christmas holiday because I was just so busy. I thought I would be ok, but the hair continued to fall. I made an appointment with my primary care physician in January and had her take a look. The first question she asked was if I was under stress. I said yes. Even though I felt like I was handling it all well, I knew the circumstances over the past year were stressful. I thought it was interesting that it was the first thing she asked.

We looked over my blood work and I talked to her about my age (47) and peri-menopause (you know I googled every combination of "hair loss" on the internet prior to my appointment). She wrote up an order to get a hormonal blood workup and suggested that if it was normal (which she suspected it would be), that I should make an appointment with a dermatologist so they could look at the hair under a microscope.

Yup, the blood work was normal. So on to the dermatologist. I made the appointment but it was going to take a few months to get in. I must have lost a dozen or so hairs just thinking about it. Knowing this probably was stress did not quell it. Thinking about my hair falling out because I couldn't relax, made me worry about it more. I needed to stop this! More angst, and another twenty strands fall to the floor...

A month went by and it was becoming noticeable. I was losing my bangs. I was losing tons of hair at the top of my crown. It was falling out everywhere. And then another realization, I was losing it all over my body. I should be happy I don't need to shave my legs, but honestly it made me cry. My eyebrows were thinning, my eyelashes fell out in excess. I felt embarrassed and stressed.

So as I await the dermatologist, I'm doing a little reflection. I told myself that I was meditating and practicing gratitude, but was I really? I took a look in my gratitude journal, and there were huge gaps up to ten days in between writing. I tried to meditate every day, but there were days I was "too busy" and skipped. I wasn't eating the healthiest I could be (not even close) and I wasn't exercising with any type of consistency.


I was convincing myself that I was being healthy and on a great path, but I realized most of my healthy living was in my head! So, without beating myself up about it, I'm revamping my path and living as I believe will be in the best interest for my body and soul. And no matter what, I will live from a place of gratitude.There is a lesson in everything and I am grateful for all of it, even the challenges. I wanted to share this journey with you to help anyone else who may be going through this or something similar. I know we're not alone, and sharing helps all of us. 

My next blog will be about my trip to the dermatologist! Wish me luck!

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com






Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saving Grace



It fascinates me how grace prepares us for things even before they happen. A couple of years ago, I decided to take a community education class or two to get out and learn new things.  I wanted to try yoga, so I signed up for that, and I noticed a couponing class that looked interesting. I didn't want to become an extreme couponer, but I wanted to learn how to save some money.

The class was excellent. I learned how to get organized, couponing policies, different types of coupons and how to get some good deals. Less than a month later, I lost my job. I really believe that the help we need is always there, we just need to quiet all the chatter circling our brain and notice. I am grateful for what I learned, and for the communities, websites and apps that are out there to help people save money. I wanted to share some of it with you because I know I'm not the only one out there who has had to work with reduced income, kids in college, car payments and more.

I don't spend hours and hours couponing, and I don't buy multiple papers. I also am not a mega-stockpiler (although admittedly, I do have a ridiculous amount of shampoo and conditioner right now).  I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Tiny Purchases! I buy when it makes sense, and when there are deals on items that I know I will use. I spend about an hour and a half every Sunday clipping, pulling out old coupons (you can donate expired coupons to the military to save them money too), looking at the deals on the savings apps I use, checking the savings blog I follow (it is written by the wonderful person who taught the couponing class!) and making a list of where I will shop that week.
My $0.27 purchase using one $3 Dollar General coupon!


I do have a coupon binder, it just helps keep me more organized than those small-sized organizers that I used to carry. I bought a cheap white binder, added some plastic sleeves (I found some at Walmart in the baseball card section just for couponing, but regular baseball card pages with compartments work the same), divider pages that I labeled with categories, and I'm ready to roll! (I also spiced it up with some inspirational stickers too!)

Here are some helpful sites, apps and rewards programs to save you money:
  1. Here is the blog I follow from Jennifer King. It is updated constantly with savings from stores such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and more: Spend Less Shop More
  2. Facebook has tons of couponing groups. Here's two I follow: Saving Pennies Nickels Dimes & Dollars and San Antonio Budget Grocery Examiner
  3. SavingStar app: Dowload the app and check it for deals. I usually check before I go shopping, because I can save on an item with the app, and also use a regular coupon in the store. After you buy your items, pull up the item on the app (example: $.75 off Hamburger Helper), scan the items and then submit the receipt by taking a picture of it. It's very easy and the app with guide you through the whole process. You can cash out your savings through your bank account, Paypal, donate to American Forests, or to a Upromise account. They also have a free Friday item, so make sure to check every week.
  4. Ibotta app: Similar to SavingStar, receive money back for purchasing items. They provide a list of available stores, and the items available for the extra discount. You shop, then click on the item and perform a very short task (watch a quick video, answer a survey, etc.), scan your items barcode and take a picture of the receipt. When you've accumulated $10 or more, you can cash out through Paypal, Venmo, or get a giftcard to BestBuy, Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Express, Aeropostale, Regal Cinemas or iTunes. This app also includes savings at restaurants, automotive, apparel and more.
  5. Walmart Savings Catcher app: If you are a regular Walmart shopper, this app is great. Just scan your receipt and they will look for other stores that are advertising lower prices on the items you bought. If they find anything, they will refund the difference in price to you. Then you can load the amount onto a Walmart e-card. You can keep adding to it or use it whenever you want.
  6. Shopkick app Shop in particular stores and get points for doing so. Redeem points for gift cards to Target, Starbucks, iTunes, Old Navy and many more.
  7. Jingit app Earn cash or gift cards by shopping in stores, redeeming offers or watching videos.
  8. Coupons.com Print coupons on your home printer to use in-store. They also have an app.
  9. Target Redcard: Get the Redcard debit card. It links right to your checking account, and it will save you 5% on every purchase when you use the card. And it's free! Also use the Target app and their Cartwheel app. Add the coupons to the cartwheel and show the barcode to the cashier to apply the discount. You can combine the cartwheel with Target and regular coupons too!
  10. Google: If you are an online shopper, this is a great help to finding the lowest price. It usually doesn't show Amazon, so check there too. If there is a particular item you want, do a price comparison by typing it in on Google search, and selecting "shopping" on the top bar of options. You can sort by "list" and if there is a list of stores, you can click on "total price" and sort by lowest to highest price. 
  11. Groupon: Shop local deals at a discounted rate as well as national items. You can pull up your favorite stores, restaurants and more for great deals.
  12. Living Social: Same concept as Groupon. Plus these sites give you fun, local ideas including skydiving, painting, wine tours and more.
  13. CVS ExtraCare Card Provides extra coupons in-store and online. Receive emails with extra discounts too. 
  14. Walgreens Balance Rewards Card Same as CVS, but you can also rack up points to use as cash towards future purchases.
  15. eBates.com Offers online cash back shopping. Shop your favorite stores through them and they will send you a refund check (or through Paypal) 4 or more times a year.
  16. Brand sites: Make a list of your favorite items and check out their company sites. Many times they offer coupons just for signing up for their newsletters.
Feel free to post any questions you have, I will gladly answer. Would you like more couponing ideas? What categories: apparel, home decor, children's items, gifts, books, movies? Let me know and I will put together some thoughts and links for you in an upcoming blog!

In Gratitude,
Kerri
www.suitablegifts.com

From Getting Reiki To Giving It

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