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.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/11037770@N00/287004622“></a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com“>photopin</a> <a

pref=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/“>(license)</a>

This story was also published on Medium.

All Boys are SUPERSTARS

All Boys are Superstars

All Boys are Superstars

 

My three adult sons,  ages 18, 21 and 22, experienced challenges and triumphs as they grew into young men, but fellow Canadian Justin Bieber became a man with the eyes of the world watching and reporting on his every move.  This week he apologized for his actions of the past year on The Ellen Degeneres show, and I wrote this poem for him.

Boy Star

By: Ann Hoy

All boys are stars
In the stellar nursery
Of the night sky
Soothing lullabies of light,
The North Star is bright

You were fourteen
When ascending the sun
Your childhood done
Adolescent superstar
Pushed up way too far

You could not shine
Without the darkness of night
And your boy light
Flashed into a mature man
In the frying pan

#JustinBieber #childstar #adolescent #boy #mature #man #superstar #childhood

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/67926342@N08/6175343447″>Justin Bieber Billboard Music Awards 2011-12</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

A Year of This, Makes A Lifelong Learner

Learning is fun

Learning to grow food is fun

photo credit:Barrett Garden Work Day -photopin.com

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.

Rumi

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=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32561453@N05/9985350765″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Learning is fun

Learning by Doing

Hat tips to:

Seth Godin – Education System essay

*http://www.worldmag.com/2014/09/study_music_really_does_make_kids_smarter

*http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236587

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32561453@N05/9985399006″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

A Job Interview Doesn’t Have to Be Nerve-Racking

A Job Interview doesn't have to be nerve-racking

View the job interview as a conversation to market yourself

How to Ace The Job Interview

Job Interviews 101:

You have sent your resume and cover letter, and you have been asked to come for a job interview – now what?

Preparation is the key to making a good impression quickly.  Arrive early, and dress appropriately for the position you are applying for.  It is a safe bet to dress conservatively and business-like.  Your appearance is one of the ways to market yourself to the employer.

Bring a copy of your resume to the interview, so you have the dates of your work experience at your fingertips.  Also, bring a copy of your references, in case the employer asks for them.

While an interview can be nerve-racking, it is only a conversation, albeit one that you must prepare for.  A tough question, such as: “what is your greatest weakness”? can be answered honestly, but try to turn it into a positive.  For example, you can say that you are a perfectionist, but you have learned that your best work is good enough.

Let the employer lead the discussion, and don’t talk too much. Tell the employer why you want to work for his or her company, and a little bit about your background and achievements and your future goals.  Research the company beforehand to establish some common ground, and prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, if time permits.

By listening to the interviewer, and observing the work environment, you will gain clues about why you want to work for the company, or in some cases, why the company wouldn’t be a good fit for you. You are interviewing them in a way too.

At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time.  You may either be contacted for a second interview, or you might not be contacted at all, or, you may be offered the job on the spot.  Decide ahead of time when you are available to start.  It is a courtesy to give your present employer two weeks notice, but you can negotiate employment start date depending on the circumstances.  You can send an email or thank you card after the interview expressing how you enjoyed meeting the person and that you look forward to hearing from them soon.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncngpao/9673058279/”>North Carolina National Guard</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

A Cover Letter Expresses Why You Want To Work Somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere
photo credit: Jannie Chien – Morguefile

 

Cover letters 101:

If you haven’t read my previous post on resumes, click here: http://goo.gl/H0Pxbr

Now that your resume is complete, you are now ready to compose a cover letter to email along with your attached resume.

Including a cover letter with your resume makes it easier for an employer to call you for an interview.  Introducing yourself makes you memorable, adds a human connection, and makes your contact info easily accessible to employers.  It also enables you to send out multiple resumes, and tweak each one to a specific employer in the cover letter.

A cover letter is a brief introduction to you, in a few paragraphs, summarizing your skills, experience, or courses on your resume that qualify you for the position you are applying for.

Before you compose the letter, decide what attracts you to this opportunity, and what skills or education or training that you have which are relevant to the position.  Expressing why you are interested in working for this employer and what skills you have to offer to the company makes a personal connection, that competing job applicants may neglect to make.

The cover letter includes contact information, such as your name, address, cell phone number, home phone number, and email address at the top, and the date. The salutation in the letter depends on if you know the name of the person who is hiring for the position, such as –‘Dear Mrs. Jones’, or if you don’t know the name, you could phone and ask, or you can write – ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

Start the letter with your intention: “I am applying for the position of landscaper for your hotel”.    Then explain why this position interests you and how you are qualified for it.  For example, as my attached resume shows, I was employed at Cedar Garden Center last year, and learned how to place and plant trees and flowers on-site under the direction of the head landscaper.  Adding information such as: “I enjoy working outdoors with plants, and have enrolled in the night school horticulture program at college” lets them know that you will work hard, you take pride in your work, and are planning a career in this field in the future.

This brief letter introduces employers to you, informs them why you want to work for them, and how you can help grow their business, gets you noticed amongst a crowd of applicants, and may land you an interview for the position!.

 

A Resume Is About What You Have To Give

A resume is about your skills

photo credit: Jeremy Wilburn via photopin cc
a resume highlights your abilities

Resumes 101:

As graduation season approaches, many young people begin their job search.  Perhaps you are seeking a seasonal job before heading to college, or are applying for your first full-time job in the workforce. The following are some tricks to help you stand out from the crowd on your job search.  Congratulations and good luck!

A resume is a short read for a time strapped employer, it is 1 or 2 pages long, detailing what you have to offer this employer to help their business, in a clear, neat, easy to read, and error free document.  It is not only about what job you want to get, it is also about what you can give, and you show this on your resume by demonstrated skills and accomplishments that are transferable to a new job.

  1. Contains a sentence that says what your job objective is – what position you are applying for, and why they need to hire you, rather than the other 100 people who emailed resumes to their inbox.
  2. It is constructed with descriptive action words and adjectives showing your enthusiasm and skills for getting the job done. If your employment experience is limited, use transferrable skills acquired from babysitting, paper routes, hockey teams or volunteer work.
  3. A quality resume alone won’t get you noticed, you need to send out quantities of resumes to increase your odds of landing a job interview.  On average, for each 10 resumes you send out, two employers will respond.
  4. Tailor the resume to which job you are applying for, and in some cases, send in a different resume for each job.  For example, if you have a lot of experience in a field of work you are applying for, list your work experience first, and education second.  However, if you have limited experience in your field of study, and need relevant work experience to match your educational qualifications, list education first, and work history second.  Your goal is to make an impression in the first 30 seconds of an employer considering your resume, to make him or her want to continue reading, so you have to grab them with the skills or education that are most desirable to that employer.
  5. If you do get called to come in for an interview, remember to dress appropriately for the job you are applying for.  Wear clean clothes similar to what the current employees at that workplace wear, have neat hair, turn off your mobile device and remember to thank the employer for their time at the close of the interview.    A follow-up thank you email with a “looking forward to hearing from you soon” comment is also a nice touch.

Blog Road Trip – Change Is The Journey

Blog road trip

Your are changed by the journey

For a successful road trip, it is best to pack light, because the most essential items, such as: curiosity, open mindedness, and willingness to learn, are not found in your suitcase.  These tools enable you to stumble upon surprises on your journey that are so exquisite, they transform you, and upon your return home, you feel compelled to share the wealth of your experience with others.

By attending seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and community events during the past month, I have met people who are working to make a difference in the world, by giving their time, their talent, their leadership, and their money.  Many are also doing fulfilling work and making money.

At institute B in Vancouver, I attended the screening of “Not Business as Usual”, and the panel discussion that followed, and had a guest blog posted on the Institute B website.  Here is the link to my blog: http://www.instituteb.com/the-passionate-fans-of-conscious-capitalism/.  You can watch the film on their website as well.  This is an organization that is changing capitalism, and creating a culture where business for profit is also purpose driven.

Dj's Deth Klown at Clayton Fest

DJ’s Deth Klown at Clayton Community Festival

At ‘The Surrey Steps Up Youth Awards’, I met the youth space group, who are fundraising to create a safe, sober, space for teens in the White Rock/ South Surrey.  The blog post was published in The Semi-Ahmoo Straight newsmagazine. Here is the link to the blog post –  http://annhoy.com/working-to-create-a-safe-sober-space-for-teens-in-their-community-by-ann-hoy/

With stops at the brand new Surrey City Hall, The Clayton Festival for families, The Cloverdale Rodeo, with a 68 year tradition of community pride, and entertainment, and The Louise Hay ‘I Can Do It’ Conference in Vancouver, with keynote speaker Wayne Dyer, it has been an interesting and informative journey.

Blog Road Trip

Learning at The I Can Do It Conference, Vancouver

In addition, I have been following media personalities on Twitter, at  @AnnHoyBlog, who use their influence to make the world better.  It only takes one person to make a change,and it is more about how the journey changes you than the destination you reach. After 242 blog posts, and 200,000 page views on AnnHoy.com, I am taking a break from sawing to sharpen the saw.  As Burton Rascoe said, “A writer is working even when he is staring out the window”.  Your observations are translated onto the page when you meet like-minded people, like the alchemy that turns base metals into gold.

Taking time to reflect, has helped me plan how to transform my blog to one that raises business consciousness up, as we spend a large part of our lives at work.  More about the blog makeover will follow. Have a great day!

photo: flickr/photo pin creative commons/road trip other photos: Ann Hoy

Hillarious Letter from an Irish Mom

Hillarious Irish Mom's Letter

An Irish Mom’s Humor

Dear Son,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am still alive. I am writing this slowly because I know that you can’t read very fast. You won’t know the house when you come home. We’ve moved.

About your father, he has got a lovely new job. He has 500 men under him. He cuts grass at the cemetery. Your sister Mary had a baby this morning. I haven’t found out yet if it’s a boy or a girl, so I don’t know if your an aunt or an uncle.

I went to the doctors on Thursday and your father came with me. The doctor put a small tube in my mouth and told me not to talk for 10 minutes. Your father offered to buy it from him.

Your uncle Patrick drowned last week in a vat of Irish whiskey at the Dublin brewery. Some of his workmates tried to save him but he fought them off bravely. They cremated him and it took 3 days to put the fire out.

It only rained twice this week, first for 3 days and then for 4 days.

We had a letter from the undertaker. He said if the last payment on your grandmother’s plot wasn’t paid in 7 days, up she comes.

Your loving Mother, P.S. I was going to send you 5 pounds, but I have already sealed the envelope.”

 

 

courtesy of irishcentral.com

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/trilliumdesign/8034450098/”>Trilliumdesign ~ Caroline</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

It’s Mother’s Day, Give Generously!

  • Be generous to mom

    Be Generous to Mom Today

    Be generous with:

  • time,
  • attention,
  • food,
  • drinks,
  • flowers,
  • phone calls,
  • visits,
  • chocolates,
  • hugs,
  • kisses,
  • and gratitude!

Make Today the Most Amazing Mother’s Day Ever!!!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cinemamudo/7490814694/”>fabíola lourenço</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Working to Create a Safe, Sober, Space for Teens in Their Community

Teenagers need to belong and feel accepted, and they need to know that someone cares for them, or better yet, that the entire community cares for them.

The City of Surrey hosted the ‘Surrey Steps Up Awards’, on May 2, 2014, at the brand new Surrey City Hall, where Mayor Diane Watts honored Surrey teens who are making a positive difference in their community.

A group of teens at the awards from “The Youth Space Project”, is making a difference in the White Rock/South Surrey area.  The group set up a mini youth space in the lobby of Surrey City Hall, complete with cozy couches, fun games, and snacks, and invited people to come and hang out with them.

Youth collective building a space for youth at Surrey Steps Up 2014

Their dream is to create a badly needed ‘youth space’ in their own community, and they are reaching out to the larger community to make their dream a reality.  Tayla, one of the teens says: “there’s nothing for teens to do in our area”.  She is looking for sponsorship for a youth space, where teens can participate in fun activities together.  Grace is also working on the youth space project, but she looked more solemn, saying:  “a lot of our friends have died from drugs”.  “We need a safe, sober place to hangout, where we feel accepted and can express ourselves in a positive way” she says.

youth space project

Example of what a youth space would look like

The group is currently accepting donations to create an environment where teens can get together after school. Alexandra Neighborhood House, and the local RCMP, agree with the need for a youth space, and are encouraging the teens to ask individuals and businesses in the community to take the opportunity to invest in them, show they care, spread some goodwill in the community, and receive a tax deduction at the same time.

With so many new families moving into the area, the demographic trend is toward a younger population, and they need a safe place to work on their resumes for their job search, meet new friends, or explore volunteer opportunities in their community, that would aid in keeping youth off the streets and away from harm.

Their goal is to secure a space by this fall.  The ideal location for the youth space is the vicinity of 152nd St and 18th Ave.   If you can help them by providing a building (approx. 2500 square feet), that can be converted into a youth space, please contact Jessie Kergan – Youth and Family worker at Alexandra House.  jkergan@alexhouse.net.  Alexandra House will process all donations and issue a tax receipt to businesses or individuals who sponsor the project.

Top Photo: Surrey Youth

Bottom Photo: photo pin/creative commons.

Optimizing Yourself – Week 17 – Setting Constraints as Big as Dr. Seuss

working with constraints

Working With Constraints

Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) was the master of setting constraints. He once made a bet with a publisher at Random House that he could write a book using 50 words or less.

His power to set limits paid off when Green Eggs and Ham sold more than 200 million copies and was Seuss’s best- selling book

Cat in The Hat was written using only a first grade vocabulary

Limitations inspire creativity by making you find a way to make it work, and setting a schedule helps you get things done whether you feel like it or not, and adds to your productivity.

Everybody has a limited set of tools to work with, but you can work with your tools to maximize what you have.

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to challenge myself to set constraints and make myself work within limits, and find a creative way to make it work. I will let you know how it goes next week.

http://thewritelife.com/dr-seuss/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=ce906f0bdd-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-ce906f0bdd-106421045&mc_cid=ce906f0bdd&mc_eid=5299b6b24f

photo credit: ladybugbkt via photopin cc

Review of Week 16 – Open Space In My Heart For Blessings

Blessings Cupboard

Making Space in My Blessings Cupboard

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I cleaned out the cupboard in the laundry room where I put everything that I don’t know what to do with. I call it my procrastination cupboard, full of stuff I haven’t decided to throw out yet. It is where I look, if someone asks me where that thing-a-ma-gig is. As the old saying goes “if Mom can’t find it no-one can”.

It is one of the last vestiges of disorder in my house, and clinging to the stuff, feels like I am holding on to the past.

So when Pablo Coelho said that by purging what isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful, we will open space in our hearts for blessings, this was the perfect place for me to start.

I found a marionette puppet of Woody from Toy Story, which would be joyful to a small child, but not my adult children. I found a black plastic holder for je ne sais quoi, that is also getting the deep six. That blue plastic basket that was never beautiful, useful, or joyful, has also gotta go. There were two empty boxes, and a box of pencil crayons, and as soon as I throw them out, someone will ask me for them, but even if I have to buy new pencil crayons, I can’t hang on to stuff in case someone someday might need it.

I felt so good cleaning out the cupboard that I am going to rename it a more positive name – the blessings cupboard, as Pablo said blessings will come if I make space for them. <3 photo credit: -PinkFarasha.* via photopin cc