Coffee Headaches: How I Overcame The Incurable Pain

Coffee Headaches

My behavior doesn’t define me, my ability to change it does


After trying unsuccessfully to quit coffee for three months, I quit in ten minutes.

How did I do it?

I did it with the help of my three sons.

The idea of quitting coffee had been percolating in my mind for a while, and the boys knew it.

On our way to the park one day, I stopped at a coffee shop to grab a coffee. It was a scalding hot day in July.

My middle son said: “Why do you need a coffee on such a hot day?”

“Don’t you want a cold drink instead?” said the oldest.

Then the youngest said: “Didn’t you say you were quitting coffee, Mom?”

I always told them to do what they say they’re going to do, and I wasn’t following my own advice.

Worse than failing to quit coffee, was failing to lead by example. And I was being held accountable.

Why quit coffee? The adverse side effects:

1. The shaking hands after drinking three cups. 2. The “coffee headaches” if I didn’t drink a cup upon waking up. 3. The coffee cravings that felt like I wasn’t choosing coffee- it was choosing me.

I quit coffee that moment in the parking lot, but the shift in my behavior came with side effects.

I didn’t drink coffee that day, or the next day, or the day after that. I had a coffee withdrawal headache that continued for three days. But on the fourth day, my coffee headache was gone.

My new habits no longer revolved around drinking coffee. I didn’t miss the smooth, dark, warm, aromatic beverage — much!

I started drinking water or tea instead.

I knew what I had to do, but it was the guilt from my family that made me commit.

My behavior didn’t define me, my ability to change it did.

In the end, I quit for love. Love for myself and my kids.

Once I was freely choosing what to drink, I found that coffee really wasn’t my cup of tea.

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This story was also published on Medium.

A Year of This, Makes A Lifelong Learner

Learning is fun

Learning to grow food is fun

photo credit:Barrett Garden Work Day

While schools have switched from chalkboards to keyboards, skills like how to think independently and how to collaborate with others are not taught by a computer – those skills are taught by great teachers who have a huge impact on our lives.

The memory of our favorite teacher stays with us after we finish school, because they are among our first adult leaders, other than our parents.

My favorite teacher was my grade three teacher, Mrs. Pulsford, way back in 1970, in Vancouver. She was a bar-raiser, mentor, and earth angel who cared about us, and turned us into students that cared about what she was teaching.

1. Great teachers encourage you to never give up on your dreams

The hippie/scholar knew that music education helps kids do better in subjects like math.* When she played guitar in music class, with an orchid in her velvet black hair for flower power, she motivated me to sign up for the school guitar lesson program.

“Teachers open the door but you must enter by yourself”
Chinese Proverb.

2. Great Teachers Teach Us That change Starts With Us

First she connected her students, by forming groups of eight students to read aloud together. We bonded, and belonged, and generated positive peer pressure and better grades. Our open book comprehension tests vaulted our reading levels. When we moved our chairs into a circle to read, we felt like the nomads we studied in our textbooks.

The summer after that class, I read every junior mystery book at the local public library due to my new love of reading.

Once she connected the students to one another, she connected us with our school community, when we tackled the school litter problem. Our low tech anti- litter campaign was bootstrapped with paper, crayons and safety pins.

Our hand drawn flowers had tears rolling down them, and the words “litter makes the flowers cry” under them. We pinned them to our jackets, and wore them outside at recess and lunch.
When a student littered, we said: “you dropped something”, and the awareness we raised helped us eliminate the litter problem.

3. Great Teachers Honor Our Individuality And Unique Talents

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
-Dr. Seuss

Celebrating our differences in a system that rewards compliance and conformity was a feat. Mrs. Pulsford balanced the teeter totter of conformity and individuality so well, that we fit in by being ourselves.

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.
— Rita Mae Brown

She believed in our gifts and talents, and, like a magician, with gemstone eyes behind black framed glasses, she pulled the best out of us.

One day our group was assigned to bake a chocolate cake. Allowing eight kids to access the forbidden teacher’s staff room, turn on the oven, operate an electric mixer, and break eggs was the epitome of trust, and we didn’t disappoint her.

We learned to stop spilling batter on the recipe when we could no longer read it. We measured and mixed the ingredients and cleaned up the mess. We learned to do something we had never done before with a group. This made our future math problems on measuring and dividing a breeze.

Like birds learning to fly, our self-sufficiency and confidence grew:
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they are given wings.


4. Great Teachers involve us in experiencing new things

Entrepreneur Richard Branson’s believes children learn more from travelling than being in the classroom.

Tactile and interactive quantum learning moments aren’t achieved through technology. The incubator in our grade three class housed baby chicks, which we could pick up, to feel their warm, downy feathers. We loved those chicks, and were sad when they grew too big for the classroom, and had to return to the farm, but we understood.

She placed the baby teeth we lost in glasses of Coke, so we could watch them disintegrate until they vanished. We grew green bean plants in the windowsill of the classroom and stuck our fingers in the soil to test the moisture level and decide if they needed to be watered.

With thirty four students in her class, Mrs. Pulsford was constantly changing the environment to make it exciting to learn in. We either had a class outdoors, with no walls, or we visited another classroom to see how they learn, so learning never became stagnant. We learned by doing.

5. Great Teachers Re-imagine the old ways of doing things

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban says: “99.99 percent of the things we do in business are being done the way they have always been done. No one has re-imagined how things should be done. That is what successful people do” *

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein

6. Great teachers make learning fun

As co-creators in a relaxed environment, we were free to explore and make mistakes. Happiness was conducive to acquiring knowledge and common sense.

As she read ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carrol, to us, her voice changing from soft to loud to emphasize the beat of the nonsense words, and circling our desks in stereo, she transported us to the dark swamp of tangled language, and engaged us in her passion for poetry…

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,…
And the mome raths outgrabe

7. Great teachers ask “WHY NOT?” 

For homework, she asked us to mail a postcard to her home address. We could either  make a postcard or buy one, then address it, write her a message, buy a 6 cent stamp and affix it, and place it in the mail box outside the drugstore. We learned where mail came from, and how to use the postal system.

She surprised us when she mailed a hand-made postcard back to each of us at home. Mine had a pink flower drawn on the front, and a message inside that thanked me for my postcard with The University of British Columbia campus on it, where she had studied. Years later, this is where I studied, inspired by her.

8. Great teachers raise the bar by getting out of the students’ way

My takeaway from her class is that life is our greatest teacher, and our family, friends, and adversaries are our teachers. Our passion exists in the joy of learning and our curiosity about the future.

Someone once said: “you have no friends, no enemies, only teachers.”

If you desire to be a lifelong learner, and a lifelong dreamer, then all you need, is one year, like the one that I was lucky enough to have, back in grade three.
#raisingbiz #lifelonglearning #AnnHoy #teachers #teaching #impact

#greatteachers #engage #encourage

photo credit: <a href=”″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Learning is fun

Learning by Doing

Hat tips to:

Seth Godin – Education System essay



photo credit: <a href=”″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

52 Weeks to Optimizing Yourself 2014 – Week 8 – Go BIG With Going The Extra Mile

The Extra Mile

Go BIG With Going The Extra Mile

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to go BIG with going the extra mile.

“The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.” Everyone says they go the extra mile, but almost no one actually does. Most people think, “Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?”

Jeff Haden

Jeff Haden goes on to say: “That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities. Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do–especially if other people aren’t doing that one thing. Sure, it’s hard. But that’s what will make you different–and over time will make you incredibly successful.”

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to look for ways I can go the extra mile with my work. I will let you know how it goes next week.

photo credit: kkimpel via

Review of Week 25 – Commit to Myself

For this week’s bettering yourself challenge, I committed to myself and supported my goals and dreams. Instead of putting others first, I cooked and ate more fruits and vegetables, although my family prefers pasta and pizza; this week they ate stir-fried vegetables instead.

I also supported my health goals by getting more exercise, and for my personal development, I spent more time writing.

Supporting myself is a process that I need to continue, as one week is not enough time to change my patterns, but I felt good that I got the process started.

Review of Week 14 – Recognizing my Ego

I worked on recognizing my ego for this week’s bettering yourself exercise, and I learned the truth in Eckhart Tolle’s statement that “the present moment is the enemy of the ego”.  

When I was thinking about past limitations or future uncertainties, it was my ego getting in the way of my happiness again.

When I felt as if I needed more and more of something, (attention, food, recognition), like waiting for my family to comment on how good the dinner is, I recognized it was my ego surfacing again; not allowing me to be content with what I have, or with the happiness I felt in the present moment.

Instead of being able to enjoy the present moment, my ego was focusing on getting to some place in the future instead of enjoying the now.  For instance, I cooked some new Mexican recipes this week that my family loved, and my ego started me thinking I could open a Mexican restaurant.  How bizarre, I thought.  But the ego can be deceptive, so it is something I am going to continue to watch out for.

Cleaning up My Little Corner

small__3623077649As I cleared the clutter out of my house this week, I threw out some old thoughts with my stuff. I had been equating “abundance” with having stuff, but, as Eckhart Tolle, (one of Ann’s inspirational people) says: true abundance isn’t about “things”, it’s about a “feeling of abundance” within yourself, where you don’t need more things to feel fulfilled.

In his YouTube video “Manifesting Abundance”, Eckhart says: “the sense of insufficiency is a spiritual dilemma. The concept of “not enough” is ego; you are not that needy entity that needs more, everything you need is within you. By raising your level of consciousness above your everyday thoughts by being still, you will learn to love yourself, then you will love others, as you will see yourself in them, and you won’t feel separate but connected”.

He says, by “connecting with the source of all abundance – God, or Buddha, or a universal intelligence, which connects us all, you will see we are all enough as we are, then of course we won’t want to harm ourselves, or others, or the planet we live on.”

I realized that the vicious cycle of wanting more, was preventing me from enjoying the present, so this spawned a new category on my blog called: “Cleaning up My Little Corner”. By shifting my consciousness to the abundance in my life, I can help the planet.

By eliminating the production and transport of excess goods that I don’t need, I can reduce the burning of fossil fuels, and focus on fulfilling my spiritual needs, so I become part of the solution.

By each cleaning up our own little corner, we can each do a small part to reverse the damage to the planet. Then one by one, we will bequeath a cleaner world to our grandchildren.
photo credit: flickr photo pin 3823977649


Guitar playing hockey stick when a goal is scored

Guitar playing hockey stick when a goal is scored

At, we define’MOMMIFIED” as:“All wrapped up” with helping family, or caring for other people.

(Also includes dads, guardians, or grandpas, etc)

Whether you are a mom, a dad, a guardian, or a childcare worker, if you have cared for other people repeatedly, at some point, you have accomplished the impossible. At, we recognize your heroics, and want to hear about your “mommified”, experiences where you were “all wrapped up with helping family”.

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