Posted in COVID-19, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

Pajama Party on #Zoom – B2C2 #COVID19 Edition

NEW!!! Join members of the Fibromyalgia London Group (and others with chronic illnesses) on Zoom for the very first Brown Bag Chat Club (aka B2C2) COVID-19 Edition.

Dress Code: Quarantine Fashion (Sissy that Zoom!) – Daytime PJs, Loungers, plaid shirts and sweats are also welcome. Hair? Who even cares? Make-up? What’s up with that? We’re chronically fabulous.

B2C2 was initiated and will be facilitated by Peer Leader and FLG member, Donna Parker (that’s me and also a cheesy Nancy Drew knock-off series of books in the 50s and 60s). This new initiative will provide members, support persons and those suffering from chronic pain with an opportunity to meet over lunch (hence the brown bag) or not, your choice to chat. We were supposed to introduce this new group activity in March but, unfortunately, that did not materialize.  We are thus introducing it as a virtual activity…Covid19 Edition.  

What kind of topics can we chat about?  

  • Books, ebooks, e-audio, movies, TV shows, streaming, TED Talks, YouTube videos.
  • Music, hobbies, crafts, games, exercise.
  • mind, body and spirit matters – self-care is vital with chronic illness.
  • Whatever distracts us from pain, fatigue and other Fibromylagia or CFS/ME or other chronic illness symptoms.

What is ZOOM?  Zoom is a cloud based service which offers organizations and groups of 3 or more people (up to 100 participants) to meet virtually by using its video conferencing capability. It is a FREE application which you download onto your tablet, laptop, smartphone, or desktop computer. You don’t need to have a Zoom account to attend a Zoom meeting, as a participant. It’s really easy and user-friendly. You can use video or not, your choice. Same goes for audio, you can mute or unmute (just remember Mute is on when you arrive in the chat, just in case…), or just listen. You can enter or leave the chat at any time. You can also type information or comments. Yes, it’s that simple and that fun!

All three levels of Canadian government continue their efforts to contain the Covid-19 virus and “flatten the curve”/“plank the curve” so all Canadians are required to continue practicing self-isolation, by staying at home.  Peer Leaders agreed that this is an opportune time for our Group to utilize this increasingly popular communication tool, ZOOM, as an alternative way to connect with our membership and be available to those seeking advice, emotional support, education and resource information on living with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

During these unprecedented times, yes, we’re going to self-isolate, we’re going to #StayHome to Save Lives from the Coronavirus (COVID-19), but we’re still going to be here to support each other. We’re pleased to announce that FLG will host ZOOM VIRTUAL meetings in the month of April as follows:

Mon, April 6th, 1pm – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2 COVId-19 Pajama Party Edition) – REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting. Bring lunch or brunch or slupper or Quarantinis, or cookies, cake, brownies, sandwiches…whatever.

Thu, April 9th, 1pm  – Knit Happens! REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting. 

Thu, April 16th, 11am – Sharing Circle.

Mon, April 20th, 1pm – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2)

Thu, April 23rd, 1pm – Knit Happens!

Mon, April 27th, 1pm – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2)

Thu, April 30th, 1pm – Knit Happens!

PLEASE NOTE: All our VIRTUAL activities/meetings are FREE (yes, that’s an actual thing!) and OPEN TO ALL members and their guests, as well as visitors, regardless of where you live in Canada. ADVANCE REGISTRATION is required to participate in all VIRTUAL meetings.  Just send an email to fmgroup.london@gmail.com to confirm your interest in participating.  You’ll then receive an email with instructions on how to join the meeting, the link/meeting ID and password.
WATCH FOR EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS, from Donna or Jacqueline, on when registration for each virtual meeting is open.

Also, don’t forget about our essential workers! What would we do without doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacists, radiologists, porters, clerks, truck drivers, farmers, plumbers, restaurant staff, electricians, hydro workers, payroll clerks, government workers, police officers, firefighters, energy workers, maintenance, social services, research, agriculture, food production, manufacturing and Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers (you want to see panic, let the internet go down!) and so many more! We care! We’re Thankful! You have our gratitude! You’re putting your life on the line so we can stay home and “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. Here’s what you can do to say “Thank You” here in London and everywhere!!! https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/ #StayHomeSavesLives #WashYourHands

Don’t Forget (so easy with Fibrofog, I know), join us this Mon, April 6th, 1pm – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2 COVId-19 Pajama Party Edition) – REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting.

Can’t wait to chat with you soon! #StaySafe #StayHome

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

There’s No Place Like Home, Zoom with Us!

The Covid19 Pandemic Crisis in Canada continues. By staying home, we are saving lives. We’re not “stuck” at home, we’re “safe” at home.

Though Fibromyalgia London Group (also for those with: CFS/ME, any chronic illness) cannot meet in person, we’re going to ZOOM! Yes, FLG is on Zoom now and so although we can’t meet, can’t knit, share, cook, chat, hug, etc. we don’t have to touch to stay in touch.

We’re having our very first virtual Sharing Circle! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

All you need is a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone, preferably working well (download the Zoom app, it’s quick and so easy, this one is user-friendly to the extreme!), with audio and a camera (if you wish to do the video portion, if you have “Scopophobia” aka a phobia of cameras; or a fear of electronics, or whatever, no worries, we understand.

If it’s “Quarantine Fashion” you’re worried about, bring it on, we’re all in this together. Sissy That Walk. Wear sweats. Dress up. No pressure. No judgements. Bring your own refreshments! Tea, coffee, water, smoothies…wine, cheese, medical cannabis, Quarantini (shaken not stirred); brownies, cake, veggies, nachos, fruit, lasagna – this is informal, you’re among friends. The good thing about Zoom, you can come and go from the chat whenever you want to. Or mute if you want to go to the washroom, burp, crunch on a celery stick (sure, or chicken leg or cookie)… Turn video on or off (remember your Mute button is on when you first enter the chat, turn it off to “talk”). Put your own name up, or a nickname, or an aspiration name. We’re just going with the #StayHomeSaveLives flow here at FLG trying to “Support Ourselves by Helping Others” and the best way we can help is #StayingHome with you.

It’s FREE! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!!! You don’t have to get dressed up. Hair not done, that’s what hats are for. No make-up, no problem. We’re here to Sur-Thrive (survive while thriving with chronic illnesses)!

The situation will continue to be reassessed and we know it seems wild out there sometimes, but until then, you’re safe in here with us, we can meet and greet in the virtual world!! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

WANT TO PARTICIPATE? Just send me an email fmgroup.london@gmail.com confirming your attendance, and we’ll send you the chat link AND simple instructions on how to download the Zoom app, and join the meeting, tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

Just FYI, Monday April 6th at 1pm we’re having another Zoom chat, B2C2: COVID-19 Edition. B2C2 (Brown Bag Chat Club) is where members would, under normal circumstances, meet, bring our lunches (or not, your choice) and we sit and chat about:
books, movies, TV shows, streaming, TED Talks,
ebooks, audiobooks, hobbies, You Tube, crafts,
games, sports, dreams, anything and everything,
but especially what distracted us from pain.

It’s like a lunch hour at work.
Just chatting while eating our lunches.
But COVID-19 happened and so we’ve decided to go ahead with it anyway, online, on Zoom. We’re going to virtually meet and just talk about anything from your latest binge show to Jason Momoa (might be me who brings him up)
to what motivates us, inspires us, helps us get by. Anything. We’d love for you to join us at B2C2: COVID-19 Edition. I suspect it will be fun, informal and quite possibly silly.

Also, don’t forget about our essential workers! What would we do without doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacists, radiologists, porters, clerks, truck drivers, farmers, plumbers, restaurant staff, electricians, hydro workers, payroll clerks, government workers, police officers, firefighters, energy workers, maintenance, social services, research, agriculture, food production, manufacturing and Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers (you want to see panic, don’t let the internet go down!) and so many more! We care! We’re Thankful! You have our gratitude! You’re putting your life on the line so we can stay home and “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. Here’s what you can do to say “Thank You” here in London and everywhere!!! https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/ #StayHomeSavesLives #WashYourHands

 

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Fibromyalgia

Even #COVID19 Can’t Beat Our #LdnOnt Spirit!

We are living in unprecedented times. Now more than ever we need to be here for each other. Please help spread the word by sharing this post on: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, any or all social media platforms. Also, please, tell other Londoners (London, Ontario, #LdnOnt) about this – by text, phone, email, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, snail mail – anyway you can share the gratitude for those essential workers who are putting their lives on the line so we can stay safe! Even COVID-19 can’t beat The London Spirit! Share the gratitude! Thank you!!!

Dear Londoners!
Several grassroots-led, community-wide efforts are underway hoping to lift and keep morale among Londoners high, especially front-line healthcare and essential service workers, during this extraordinary time in all our lives. Please join us in saying “Thank You” to those putting their lives on the line for us. You can participate through a number of ways explained below, to demonstrate your individual/group support, express gratitude, and cheer on these workers for as long as it takes.

Here’s a few ways in which you can support your neighbourhood, your London community, your friends, and neighbours:

1. Window Signs – Here are some signs you can print in colour or black & white, or get creative, make your own, heartfelt “Thank You” signs. Display these signs in your front windows, mailbox, front door, fence, railings, tress, garage door, etc.  You can also spread the word by printing then inserting into a sheet protector, and placing on the sides of the Canada Post postal boxes or to the poles of street signs (just like you would display garage sale signage) – please be careful to damage anything.  Print and put them up for the duration of this crisis in London!

2. Hearts in Windows – Children and adults alike can have some fun drawing, painting and/or cutting out hearts in all colours and sticking them in your front windows as another way to express support to front-line workers. There is a nationwide movement, originating from British Columbia, calling on all Canadians to participate in this activity.

3.Ribbons – Tie RED RIBBONS around the trees and shrubs in your front lawn, fences, railings, the front of your apartment building (with permission), on the tree trunks of the trees along your street. That way those who are required to go into work during these challenging times know “you have their back”.  Why red? The colour red symbolizes courage, strength, confidence, compassion and love – all things we want and wish for our front-line healthcare and essential service workers!

4.Facebook & Twitter – we have set up a new community page, The London Spirit – Covid19 Crisis or @thelondonspirit, and a Twitter account, @londoncovid19, which are both safe, open social media spaces for anyone to post…

Messages of hope! Messages of gratitude! Acknowledgement of essential workers. Sharing positive stories. Sharing inspirational stories of how specific front-line healthcare and all essential service workers have helped you, your family, organization, neighbourhood, etc. during this contagious and dangerous pandemic. Please, please, please share tales of courage and/or kindness by our local heroes: healthcare workers, grocery workers, pharmacy workers, store clerks, maintenance workers, bus drivers, public service workers, and everyone working so we can stay safe at home! Please, feel free to express your expressions of gratitude, motivation and encouragement to front-line healthcare and all essential service workers!
EVERYONE, please take a few minutes of your time to participate in one or more of these easy-to-do, inexpensive, grassroots, community-driven activities! They can help boost the morale of so many who fear for their own families, but are serving Canada by going into their workplaces everyday, in spite of the risk to themselves.  
Let’s demonstrate how STRONG and ALIVE our community spirit, The London Spirit is by participating  in all of these activities TODAY.  Now, more than ever, we’re all in this together, so let’s support those risking their lives to save ours!

Even COVID-19 can’t beat The London Spirit!

https://www.facebook.com/thelondonspirit/

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia

Now I Wanna Feed Your Dog?

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring so here’s a simple, no-bake recipe that’s sure to please everyone who is #Stayinghome to help everyone stay well. This is a tough time for everyone and those with chronic illnesses are vulnerable. For the safety of our members we’ve cancelled all Fibromyalgia London Group activities, for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still connect!!! Here are some ways to connect! Here on the blog https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ ; and/or on Twitter @fmlondongroup ; and/or on Instagram @fmlondongroup ; and/or on Facebook @fmlondongroup ; and/or via phone: 519-453-3198 , and/or text; and/or Skype/Facetime; and/or Netflix Party (on Chrome); and/or email fmgroup.london@gmail.com  or darcyyada@gmail.com. And here’s a fun, simple way to pass part of the day. This is one of our family favs, it might be yours too! My paternal Grandmother named it “Dog Food” (when you’re in the process of mixing, you’ll know why) and we’ve kept the name.

Ingredients: 45 choc wafers (approx 1 package if you don’t snack, I mean, who would do that, just grab a cookie and start munching away…er, anyway) – this is another recipe where you can substitute other cookies, but they must be tap-on-the-counter-hard or frozen; 1/2 package of mini marshmallows; 1 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, but you know which tastes better) and 1 can Eagle Brand or other condensed milk. Wash your hands.

Crush wafers/cookies in a bowl; I’ve always found the bottom of a cup or potato masher works well. Then mix in marshmallows, add the condensed milk and stir well (there it is, now you’ll understand the name, “Dog Food”). Butter 9-inch pan, then sprinkle coconut on all surfaces of the pan so it sticks to the buttered sides/bottom. Spread the mixture evenly. Then sprinkle the remaining coconut on top and press it all down together. Seriously, that’s it, it’s done! Cover well. Place in fridge for a few hours, then, try (I triple dog dare you!) not to eat it all before giving it away. It also freezes beautifully, but really, how often will you have any left to freeze?

#StayHome #SafeHands #WashYourHands #StaySafe (from COVID-19 and everything else too!) and Enjoy!

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

At My Knit’s End

Ever had one of those days where you feel like you’re at your wit’s end? Remember, Alice had to fall down a pretty deep rabbit hole before she ended up in Wonderland.

How about we help you turn your wit’s end into your knit’s end with a free knitting program (seriously, free program, free parking – all are welcome!)…because as we all know, Knit Happens!

Knit Happens!!! Free, you, you heard right, Free Therapeutic Knitting Activity Group for all!!! Join us in Study Room A – Jalna Branch (1119 Jalna Blvd. across from White Oaks Mall) of the London Public Library, as of March 5th, 2020 between 1-3pm. Free Parking and on LTC bus routes #4, #93 Express and at White Oaks, #90, #10, #13. Check LTC http://www.londontransit.ca/ for more info. City of London also has an income-related bus pass subsidy http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Please remember, Fibromyalgia London Group events are scent-free – what you think smells good could make someone else uncomfortable or ill. Whether you’re a long-time knitter or a newbie or somewhere in between, members and non-members (open to the public) of Fibromyalgia London Group, all are welcome! Janice Sumpton, our wonderful instructor is there to help or just share some time together. Bi-weekly – March 5th, 2020 1pm-3pm; March 19th, 2020 1-3pm; April 2nd, 2020 1-3pm.

Knit Happens Therapuetic Knitting program brought to you by London Public Library and Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG).
Come one and all, because we all know, Knit Happens!

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia, Getting social

“C” is for Cookie, That’s Good Enough For Me

“I want to take all our best moments,
put them in a jar, and take them out like cookies
and savor each one of them forever.”
~ Crystal Woods

Do you have fond memories of smelling cookies baking?
Do you drool when you think of that first bite of a cookie?
Do you remember the seasons by when Girls Scouts sell cookies?

Don’t let people make you believe that you have a cookie “problem” or a cookie “addiction”, it’s simply #cookielove.

“Count your cookies, not your problems.”
~ Cookie Monster

“C” is for Cookies, That’s Good Enough For Me
(and the Cookie Monster, a role model for some).
If you’re trying to kick a cookie habit love,
then stop reading right now!
Warning:
Do Not Read Any Further!
What’s coming up next
can not be unseen!!!

The first bite of these cookies and you won’t know whether to thank or curse (or both), Lynn, an amazing, kind, and supportive Peer Leader/member of the Fibromyalgia London Group, for introducing you to these delicious, mouth-watering morsels. I thank her, but my waist may not. Where’s that button to stop “cookie” pop-ups?

This simple (read, not too tiring) yet magnificent recipe has been used as a staple cookie recipe in Lynn’s family since 1980’s. Based on a Canadian Living Classic recipe from her first cookbook as a young wife and mother, this recipe proves that simple can be best.

“Home is where heart is. Heart where cookie is. Math clear: Home is cookie.” ~Cookie Monster

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
(or your choice, or gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Raisins, seeds, cranberries,
and/ or chocolate chips optional
(when is chocolate ever optional?)

Preheat your oven to 350 (180C)

In a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In separate bowl mix your salt, baking soda, cinnamon and flour.
Add together and blend into a creamy mixture.

It’s a very versatile batter, sometimes
Lynn adds both chocolate chips and raisins
(and sometimes white and dark chocolate chips)
but you could also add nuts, dried cranberries,
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds…if so desired.

On a well-greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper or non-stick), make little mountains of dough (approx. 1 tsp), leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Flour the bottom of a glass and gently flatten each cookie to about 1/4 inch thickness.

“Early bird gets the worm. But cookie taste better than worm. So me sleep in.” ~ Cookie Monster

Bake for about 8-9 or until golden brown. Let them cool down on a baking sheets for about 2 minutes (if you can wait that long without eating one, for testing purposes only, of course) then remove to baking rack to cool completely. Makes about 40 cookies.

This recipe can be kept for a few days in sealed container and can be frozen for up to a month (either the baked cookies or the dough)….if they last that long.

What’s your favourite cookie or cookie recipe? Share the cookie love by sharing this on: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and/or in the comment box below and/or email to me (D. Parker – Mom, blogger https://yadadarcyyada.com/ , silliness coordinator, Peer Leader/ member of FLG and cookie addict lover): darcyyada@gmail.com I should have warned you, dear readers, that this website uses “cookies”…Nom Nom Nom!

“No cry because cookie is finished. Smile because cookie happened.” ~Cookie Monster

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY – Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

“Which wolf are you feeding?” By guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

“Which wolf are you feeding?”

Most people occasionally have thoughts that are unpleasant, worrisome or critical, and those with Fibromyalgia are certainly no exception, quite possibly experiencing even more of these thoughts than others. These thoughts, of course, make us feel bad. When such thoughts occur, despite knowing that they are not helpful, we may feel powerless to control them. There is a conflict between how those thoughts make us feel, and how we would like to be feeling.

This conflict is well-represented in the fable about two wolves. Although there is some question about the origins of this tale, it frequently has been referred to as a Native American legend. One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is negativity, it’s anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate. The other is positivity. It’s joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love.”
The little boy thought about it for a while and asked his grandfather, ”Well which wolf wins?” And the grandfather answered, “The one you feed.”

The parable is really about where we focus our attention. It seems that, in general, people tend to spend more time focusing on negative experiences in life than focusing on what is good. In psychology, this is referred to as the “negativity bias”. It is considered to have evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. In our evolutionary past, our survival depended a lot more on our ability to recognize danger than on our ability to notice the positive. Not noticing a lion waiting in the grass could end your life. Not noticing a field of ripe, wild fruit that you are passing may just leave you hungry for a while longer.
According to clinical psychologist, Rick Hanson, negative stimuli produce more activity in the brain than do equally intense positive stimuli. We have become wired to pay more attention to negative information, and we perceive it more easily and more quickly. Apparently, the brain is good at learning from bad experiences but bad at learning from good experiences. So, many of our good experiences may feel good in the moment, without having any lasting value. “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positives ones.”

Nowadays, having a constant negativity bias is no longer necessary for our survival, and, in fact, increases our stress levels and makes it more difficult for us to cope. Can we train our brains for more positivity? Can we start feeding the more positive wolf? Do we get a choice? According to the most recent neuroscientific evidence, the answer is “YES”. According to Hanson, who calls this “taking in the good”, there are things that we can do to begin to feed the good wolf. Hanson recommends the following three steps to overcome negativity bias:

  1. Look for good facts, and turn them into good experiences. For example, let yourself feel good if you get something done, or if someone is nice to you, or if you notice a positive feature about yourself.
  2. Take time (at least 20 to 30 seconds) to pay attention and enjoy good experiences. Don’t just let a positive experience quickly pass. Making positive sensations last longer, solidifies them in our long-term memory.
  3. Focus on and let yourself sense the feelings of those good experiences as they are sinking into you. Imagine that positivity spreading through your body, like a warm glow spreading within you. While you hold the good experience in your awareness, it can become hard-wired into your brain.
    According to Hanson, “Any single time you do this will make only a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.”

I know that this is certainly not a quick fix, and that looking for the good” is not going to be the remedy for all of our problems. In fact, changing our focus can be harder than it sounds, and making a change in the way we look at our world can take a lot of mental work. But I also know that we don’t have to be at the mercy of a built-in negativity bias that really doesn’t help us anymore. Although we may be struggling with those nasty symptoms that Fibromyalgia has thrown at us, it can be well worth the effort to work to find and focus on those good experiences (e.g., time with our loved ones, a caring FM community, a sunny day or a delicious meal, to name just a few) that are also a part of our lives.
So take care, have an awesome day, and remember to feed the good wolf!

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing.  She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students.  She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Fibromyalgia

Much Ado About Muffins

I’ve rarely met anyone who doesn’t like the results of baking. They may not like to bake, and/or aren’t good at baking, but they still like the results of the baking. I don’t mean Martha Stewart baking, I mean, umm, less complicated. Those with Fibromyalgia (Fibromialgia), CFS, ME, CRPS, and other chronic pain conditions also love to ‘nom nom’ on baking, but often have special dietary requirements. Feel free to play with recipes to suit your needs. In a series of posts, we’re going to offer up very forgiving recipes, if you play fast and loose with the baking rules (as I and others do). As long as they taste great, who’s the wiser?

So bake someone happy…not just because the results of baking are usually yummy, it’s more than that. It’s giving of your time, your energy, your creativity, your talent and you’re saying to those who receive the baking – I think you’re worth it.

Much Ado About Muffins

Leanne, a Fibromyalgia London Group member who generously offers her home to host the Fibromyalgia London Cards and Company Afternoons also offered this yummy muffin recipe!

These laugh-filled card afternoons are twice a month, next ones are: February 10th and 24th – 1pm-3pm (members of FLG and caregivers welcome). Near St. Joe’s, with some parking in driveway and some free street parking. Also on plenty of bus routes: #1, #15, etc. Check LTC http://www.londontransit.ca/ for more info (Remember the January 1, 2020 fare increase). Also, City of London has an income-related bus pass subsidy http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx – Email: darcyyada@gmail.com for info on cards, blog submissions, buses, bus passes and more! February 10th 1-3pm. February 24th 1-3pm.

And did I mention the snacks? While Leanne kindly supplies us w/ refreshments, more are always welcome! This Gluten-free (but not flavour-free) Carrot/Flaxseed muffin is drool-worthy and healthy (say what?!?).

Prep time (approx): 15 mins. Baking time: 20-30 mins.  

Ingredients

1 medium apple, peeled; 2 medium carrots, peeled; 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour; 1 1/2 cups flax seed meal (you can use store-bought though many believe it lacks freshness, or grind your own); 1 cup brown sugar; 2 tsp baking soda; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp kosher salt; 2 large eggs, lightly beaten; 3/4 cup whole milk or unsweetened almond milk; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/4 cup whole flax seeds (for the crowning glory).

Preheat the oven to 350º. While it’s heating, in a food processor puree the apple and carrots (set aside).

Use large paper cups, silicone cups, or spray oil to avoid batter sticking to muffin bake ware .

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flax seed meal, and cinnamon in a large bowl – mix well. Combine eggs, vanilla and milk in a smaller, separate bowl then slowly pour into dry ingredients, gently stirring until thoroughly combined then add apple and carrot purees. Do not over-mix.  

Using an ice cream scoop, measuring spoon, or small cup, divide the batter evenly (almost to the top as they are low-rise) between the 6 prepared muffin bake ware. On top of each muffin, sprinkle a few whole flax seeds.

Your oven should be preheated, place bake ware (on middle rack if possible), uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick/piece of uncooked pasta (gluten-free) once inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean or with bits of muffin crumbs on it (not soft, runny pieces). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from bake ware.

Like most muffin recipes, these muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days or can be frozen for up to a month (like they’ll last that long, ha!).

How about it, dear readers, do you have any fabulous muffin recipes (and/or any other baking/cooking recipes) you’d like to share? Drop them in the comment box or a link to them in the comment box or email us: darcyyada@gmail.com (where you’ll find me, Donna Parker, the keeper of this blog and the one solely responsible for the silliness – laughter really is the best medicine – take as much as you want) and we’ll add it in upcoming blog posts!

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is a blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia. Dr. Gilby has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children, and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. ngilby@rogers.com

Savouring the positive – where are you shining your flashlight?

Our lives are filled with many, many different experiences. At any given time, there can be many wonderful things going on in your life, at the same time as you are dealing with some “not-so-wonderful” things.  What do you focus on?

Imagine that you live in darkness, always holding a flashlight in your hand. Where do you shine that flashlight? How much of your time do you spend focusing on the negative, shining your flashlight into a dark corner where some unpleasant experiences or painful feelings reside, and how much of your time are you using your flashlight to search for and focus on the happier, more pleasurable things that are also happening for you right now.

Life can (and will) hit you with all kinds of challenges and disappointments. Nobody gets a perfectly smooth ride on their journey through life. But you do have some choice in how those setbacks will affect you. You can take control of your flashlight, and redirect its beam to the delightful things that are also around you, despite those challenges, and focus on the richness that your life also offers.

bumpyroad

Choose to savour the small pleasures that life offers – making a deliberate effort to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life. Psychologists Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff have explored the concept of savouring, noting that we sometimes we can experience positive feelings or experiences in our lives, and be too busy or too wrapped up in our negative emotions to pay much attention to them.

Happiness isn’t just about having the positive experiences, it’s also about noticing them, enjoying them, trying to prolong them, shining your flashlight on them. For example, rather than eating your morning muffin mindlessly, linger over it, appreciate the aroma, the sweetness or crunch, the blueberries as they burst in your mouth. 

blueberry muffin

Rather than just walking to get from A to B, notice the warmth of the sunshine on your face, feel the crispness of the air, or observe the beauty of the clean, white snow on a winter’s day.

Riverside walk on a snowy winter's day Stock Photo - 4218141

Instead of feeling like you really didn’t do anything tonight, even a quiet evening with family or friends can be savoured, for the comfort, calm, and feeling of care that it provides. If you make the effort, there is lots of positive in every life to focus on. You can savour a memory of a past experience, savour an experience as it is happening  or look forward to an anticipated enjoyable future experience.

Remember that good moments pass quickly, so make an effort to consciously appreciate them, and be careful about where you shine your flashlight.

Take care and be good to yourselves.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby, guest blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group. teacher, clinical psychologist for over 30 years, and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia.  ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Guest Speaker, Sharing Circle, Social events

Happy New Year 2020! What’s Next?

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it’s already 2020 (no vision jokes). A new year (and a leap year at that), a new decade, but what’s next? Sometimes when we’re in a Fibro flare, stressed out, and/or having a rough time, it’s hard to think, what’s next? So make plans anyway, make choices, don’t let the world make them for you.

Here at Fibromyalgia London Group we understand, the holidays can add extra stress (https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/15/12-unusual-ways-to-relieve-your-holiday-stress/) and post-holiday exhaustion is real…and don’t even get me started on what winter does to Fibro.

So come out to some (or all – with a $20 membership per year every single event, program, sharing circle, everything is no extra charge to you and a registered caregiver/supporter/loved one) of our programs, events, sharing circles, etc. – relax, de-stress, learn about resources and ways to cope with pain, exhaustion, anxiety. Also, you’ll meet folks who know what you’re going through. We don’t just say we get it. We get it.

Please note: Fibromyalgia London Group (FM/CFS/chronic pain) Saturday Sharing Circle sessions in the North end, North London Optimist Centre will now be bi-monthly (every second month, 6 times per year). As well, the FM/CFS Caregivers’ Support Group, led and facilitated by Rick Avdovich. Caregivers, supporters, and loved ones of persons living with FM or CFS have their own support circle, held Bi-monthly (every 2nd month/ 6x/year) at the same time our FM/CFS/CRPS/ME Sharing Circle meets.

Thursday Sharing Circle sessions will continue MONTHLY. So just as a reminder, there’s NO Sharing Circle January 4th, but join us at the North London Optimist Centre January 11th, 2020 for an educational opportunity…

LIVE BLOOD MICROSCOPY Saturday, January 11, 2020; 1-3pm North London Optimist Community Centre.

And Thursday January 16th for a Support/Sharing Circle. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Thursday support sessions are still monthly, in January 2020 it’s Thursday January 16th, 2020 11am-12:30pm (doors open at 10:30am and Peer Leaders will be there to answer questions, sign up members, share resources or just to listen) – Earl Nichols Recreation Centre 799 Homeview Rd. 11am-12:30pm. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Knit Happens: Therapeutic Knitting for all! Bi-weekly knitting program, 3rd Floor Board room London Public Library Central Branch (accessible to all). Please remember all FLG events are scent-free please. Instructor Janice Sumpton shows how knitting can help with chronic pain, or everyday stress, because Knit Happens! All are welcome! Open not only to Fibromyalgia London Group members but to the general public. New to knitting or an expert, come to learn or just for the company! Free 2hr parking (validate at front desk of LPL with library card) and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 13, 90, and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive! January 9th 1pm-2:30pm – bring your needles and yarn – we’re going to have a ball!

Cards and Company Monday Afternoons! January 13th & 27th, 2020, 1pm-3pm!!! Free for Fibromyalgia London Group members and a supporter/caregiver but snacks are always welcome!!! Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 90, 13, 15 and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever was you arrive, we want you to thrive! We’re playing with a full deck (honest)!

Please read and keep checking back, to the homepage, https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ changes all the time with upcoming events. To the right of that page, under “What We’ve Been Up To” are blog posts about events, Fibromyalgia and other stuff. Also, and very important, please share this homepage https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ for the London Fibromyalgia Group (FLG) with family, friends, colleagues, medical professionals, clubs, groups and on especially social media – you never know when you’re going to help someone. Then please, submit…

ORIGINAL content (written by you) blog posts, memes, quotes, ideas, recipes, lyrics, personal experiences, etc. to: iwanttobelieve@rogers.com (you can use your first name, full name, pseudonym, whatever you feel comfortable with, in the blogging world, anything goes…). Here are a few examples of ORIGINAL blog posts, but the whole point of original is you do you!!!

“Chronic Suckage”, “Is #Fibromyalgia Still a Four Letter Word?” and “12 Unusual Ways To Relieve HolidayStress” by Guest Blogger, D. Parker https://yadadarcyyada.com also a member of Fibromyalgia London Group and a Peer Leader.

Keep checking https://fibrolondongroup.ca for more and more details. Even if no one else understands, we do. New Year, new you or are you enough already and just need some help to live your best life? Don’t wait for help to come to you, come to us for help. Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~

Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com 

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

Happy New Year and hope to see you soon!