Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Forward? Yeah, I Don't Think So...

You know that phrase, "Spring forward"? Well, nothing about me "springs" anymore!

I don't "do" change well. My body doesn't respond well to temperature or any weather related changes, time changes, sleep changes, dietary changes, and ... well, you get the idea!

Oh boy, did the time change kick my franny! The weather got warmer, and even though it was for the better, it triggered a nasty headache that just kept escalating all week. After 5 days of increased water, tons of stretching and plenty of Tylenol, it kept getting worse. Ugh, why do I wait so long to break into my muscle relaxers and heavy pain meds?!

Welp, let's see... I can't think straight on the pain killers and I can't stay awake with the muscle relaxers. Put them together, and it is a recipe that can only bring sleep and LOTS of it. Do the meds help? Sure, most of the time the combination is helpful. Besides the side effects, the other big problem is that I have to unplug from life for a while. This means not being there for my family. In turn, it means that my husband won't have his assistant (OR his wife!), my daughters won't have their mom, and the house goes into anarchy. People are eating ice cream for dinner, dishes pile up, and even the dog gets into the trash and gets snarly. 

I don't like not being in control of my body. Which is a paradox in and of itself considering that no one really has control and anyone who suffers with chronic pain and illness has even less control of their body. But, in terms of being completely out of control and down for the count with medicine, it has to be REALLY bad before I break into the heavy meds. 

In the past, I was even more stubborn. I waited longer to medicate, to stop and lie down, or to ask for help. It became a pattern that lead to a cycle that started with my body shutting down and then invaded my thinking. It was like poison ivy that started out green and leafy but then created an unscratchable and uncontrollable itch that spread. I could easily go from being in pain to suddenly blaming myself for doing whatever activity lead to the flare and then on from there. Even now, I have to be careful with my thoughts. Before I know it, I could feel terrible about myself. I do still have those moments of guilt about my flares but I have learned to recognize the negative voices in my head that start to blame me for them and stop before it gets too far. 

I have also learned how important it is to really pay attention to my body. I got to know my triggers. I watch the weather and try to plan my activities or errands around any severe changes. If I start to lose energy, I try to take a break and lie down as soon as I can. I have gotten better at asking for help. Eh, I know that I do still have some work to do on that one for sure! 

Most of all, I have learned to be gentle with myself. It is an ongoing process. 

But, this I know:

I didn't cause my ongoing, every minute of the day pain and my condition is not my fault. A diet, medicine/vitamins, or exercise will not cure my illnesses. Surgery has not even cured me. Blaming myself only makes things worse. I am responsible for trying to take the best care of myself that I can. That includes going to bed and staying there if I have to!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Every Day You're Alive is a Special Occasion

Graphic found on Happy AZ

Some days, it may not feel like a special occasion. It is a struggle. But, when I saw this graphic on 
Happy AZ's Facebook page it reminded me instantly of my beloved Grandma. She used to remind me of this often. She would urge me to use all of the beautiful dishes and serving pieces that she had given to me and stop worrying about breaking them or waiting for just the right occasion. She reminded me that the reason that they were so special to me was that they reminded me of her and could just as easily be broken in the cabinet, dusty and unused. On this first Thanksgiving without her, I lovingly set the table with many of her beautiful things and it was a such a blessing to look around and see a part of her with us.

Sometimes, I "lose time" when I am hurting and the days slip by too quickly. My good intentions of doing things fall away and all I can do is rest and try to let it go. I don't have the luxury of knowing when I will have good days to keep waiting for tomorrow or the weekend, next week, next month, next Spring, etc. I am really grateful to have had this awakening to enable a change in perspective and look at my life differently. Instead of hoping and wishing, waiting and being disappointed in myself, I am dreaming and creating, trying to be much more intentional about where my time goes and even saying no when I need to. What a blessing to begin to live out my life as a special occasion, even if it is Pajama Day or Day 4 of Leftovers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Seeking Light in the Dark ~ Part Two by Brandi Clevinger

Continued from Day One

The first thing I did to change my situation was to accept my pain and my body as it is. Obviously, the pain wasn’t going to change other than fluctuate between tolerable and worse so I had to change how it affected me. Acceptance was my first step. Love me for who I am – the perfections and the imperfections. This took me about five minutes. 

I said aloud to myself, “This is the body you were given. It can be a blessing or a curse. It’s up to me. {After several minutes} I choose blessing.” And, oddly, I smiled. 

The next step took a bit longer and was much more challenging. As stated earlier during my ER trip, I had to change my way of thinking when the pain became less tolerable or I couldn’t do the activities I wanted to do. When those times came, my thinking process switched to a more positive way of thinking. Some of the things I thought about included:

    • What are God’s plans for me?
    • If I thought of myself as weak and in pain, that was how I was going to feel.
    • How did He want me to raise my children?
    • Did it scare my children to see me this way?
    • What did He want me to learn and reflect on during these moments 
         of weakness?
    • Was He strengthening me for future events?
    • He would not abandon me during this moment, so I had to be more trusting of Him.

As time went on, it became more often than not that I would be smiling when the pain passed. 

During one instance when the burning in my upper leg seemed to be too much to bear and I had been in excruciating pain for hours, I had fallen on the stairs on the way to my room. I was screaming in pain, tears soaking my. I cried out in my head and my heart, “LORD, PLEASE HELP ME! I SURRENDER MY PAIN TO YOU! I DO NOT ASK FOR YOU TO TAKE THE PAIN, BUT PLEASE TELL ME HOW YOU WANT ME TO USE IT FOR YOUR GLORY!” In that moment, in that very instant, my thinking switched to God’s love for me and how through His love for me that I would pull through the pain. I knew that this pain was but a small blip in His larger plans for me. That one day I would be thankful to have experienced this pain so as to grow from it in some way. It was not clear to me at that moment, but I knew His plans would be revealed in time, when it was right. 

A surge of warmth passed over me and it felt so loving. It wrapped my heart, body, and spirit lifting me from the depths of despair and brokenness carrying me into the rays of strength and encouragement.

I started smiling through grit teeth while the tears streamed down my face. This is what the warmth of strength felt like. Oh my, it felt wonderful!

Then the pain was gone. Just as fast as it overcame me and left me crippled on the floor, it was gone. It was a small miracle that only I experienced and will always cherish.

My mental approach to my pain could not be my only tool against Fibromyalgia. My other tools were building a support system and treating the pain through natural treatments.

Building a support system was also difficult for me. This meant talking to my family and friends about the extent of my pain and condition. Not an easy task. It meant admitting my limits and saying I’m not okay as I had seemed to be. It was saying that I, too, become weak at times and often times need support. It was swallowing my pride and tearing down the wall of perfection I had meticulously built around me. It meant showing others the real me – the flaws, the weaknesses, the limitations, yes, but the strength, too. How freeing!

Thankfully, God has blessed me with amazing family and friends. From my husband to mom to sister, each person makes me feel loved and supported. I do not feel ashamed to say, “I cannot do that today” or “I am not feeling well right now”. It is amazing and I could not ask for more from any of them.

The natural treatments have helped tremendously with the physical pain. My daily natural regiment includes:
    • Avoiding sweets, dairy, high starches, tomatoes, beans, and greasy foods. 
    • Avoiding caffeine other than my four ounces of coffee each morning.
    • Two ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day to help with the pain. 
    • I regularly eat pineapple and also make my smoothies with pineapple juice instead of yogurt 
        or milk to help with inflammation. 
    • 400 mg of magnesium each morning
    • 1000 mg of Vitamin C each evening
    • Two gummy multi-vitamins each day with my kids (helps with the sweet cravings)
    • Full 8 ounces of water throughout each day
    • Going to bed around the same time each night and waking around the same time 
         each morning (no matter the pain levels)
    • Not allowing any electronics, arguments, or negative energy in my 
        bedroom ~ (under any circumstance)
    • Daily devotionals with a concentration on Jesus’ words
    • Breathing exercises

Here it is a year later and I have yet to revisit those feelings of the past. The sun shines most days with a cloud here and there, but those pits and walls stay at bay. On the days that the sun is not shining, I just remind myself that the sun is constant though I may not always be able to see it. I have to push those clouds to the side with thoughts of positivity, encouragement, and the warmth of the light that I know is there.

About Brandi Clevinger: 

"I’m Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, anfellow spoonieAfter many years of struggling with body aches, joint stiffness, severe back spasms, seasonal depression, sensory sensitivities and other various ailments, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. In Winter 2012, I started on my way to becoming well again and regaining a ‘normal’ life. Through my journey, I have learned that living with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain does not have to be merely surviving life, but thriving it! Being the Imperfect Mom not only gives you the resources needed to understand Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but also how to cope with those crazy kid days, unexpected flare ups, and unpredictable emotional days." 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Seeking Light in the Dark ~ Part One by Brandi Clevinger

As I type these words, my children are playing in the background, my husband is writing a paper, and I could not feel happier than I do right now. 

It’s Saturday, so my husband and I slept until our two youngest children came pouncing across our bed to bless us with their sounds of laughter and beautiful smiling faces. The tickle monster (my husband) made an appearance and ‘attacked’ them producing louder squeals of joy and laughter.

After they left our room venturing downstairs to watch cartoons, my husband and I had a few minutes of intimacy before joining our children. Once in the kitchen, I made a wholesome Southern breakfast of made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and homemade oatmeal. We gathered in the living room and ate while enjoying a classic show of Spongebob Squarepants (Plankton was trying to steal that darn krabby patty again!). When our plates were just short of licked clean and no room in our bellies, the children darted outside to play, my husband started his school work, and I decided to work on this article.

It paints a picture perfect family. It’s not. 

It’s as though I live a ‘normal’ life free of pain, depression, and anxiety. I don’t. 

It appears the sun is always shining, clouds are never over my head, and the walls never close in on me. Not true.

To be honest, less than twelve hours ago I was in a ball on the living room couch crying from the pain in my back, knees, legs, and feet. Depression and anxiety were creeping in on me like a predator stalking its prey. At any moment I could be devoured by it, consumed by the darkness. 

So how did I go from that broken ball of helplessness to June Cleaver in twelve hours? 

I have Fibromyalgia and live with chronic pain. I am in constant pain each and every day. There is never a period of time that there isn't something hurting – back, leg, stomach, knee, head, the list goes on. I have experienced the darkest of days and the endless days of hopelessness. There were times I thought I would be consumed by the very walls that surrounded me. It was as though as I was at the bottom of a pit enclosed by darkness and nothingness with no route of escape. 

During those moments I wanted to be anywhere but right there in that state. The sun is where I longed to be. To bask in the warm rays of sun that only happy people seemed to experience – that is what I yearned for. I wanted to push back the suffocating walls with strength and confidence. I wanted to crawl out of the pit of despair on the staircase of hope and lie in the green grass soaking up the warmth, the light, and the vastness.

Yep, that is where I wanted to be. And I was determined to get there. I didn't know how. I didn't know with what strength. All I knew is that the sun would shine on me again and hug me with the warmth that I have been deprived of for so long.

After a trip to the emergency room earlier in the year, I reached my breaking point with negativity associated with my pain. I was going to enjoy the sunshine and I was ready to take those steps on a new path filled with light and positivity. I was no longer going to just be smiling through the pain. I was going to truly feel the happiness, too!

* Continued in Part Two 

About Brandi Clevinger:
"I’m Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, anfellow spoonieAfter many years of struggling with body aches, joint stiffness, severe back spasms, seasonal depression, sensory sensitivities and other various ailments, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. In Winter 2012, I started on my way to becoming well again and regaining a ‘normal’ life. Through my journey, I have learned that living with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain does not have to be merely surviving life, but thriving it! Being the Imperfect Mom not only gives you the resources needed to understand Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but also how to cope with those crazy kid days, unexpected flare ups, and unpredictable emotional days." 

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness - Finding My Joy Before & During This Thanksgiving Holiday

Final Thoughts
This was an awesome thing for me to do and I am so very glad that I did it! Every day wasn't great. I struggled through a few, but, maintained my joy. This truly was a great way for me to realize just how important it was to be in the moment. I am even more aware of just how many things that I should be grateful for each day and how much joy can be found in silly conversations while doing very ordinary things.

November 29 - 30, 2014 ~ Last days in Review
I am thankful for the knowledge that it is okay to just take some time off once in a while when you can, not only when you have to. I decided to take a break from my Facebook Page to refuel and refresh. I decided to enjoy being fully present in the moment of being thankful. My weekend was full of more moments of my family offering me more help and finding more ways to interact together. We had a special event on Sunday that allowed us to spend quality time with friends we haven't seen in long time and catch up. The weekend ended with a mini pedi/facial, brownies, and the mid-season finale of my family's favorite show, The Walking Dead. This was one of the best Thanksgiving holidays that I can remember. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

November 28, 2014 ~  Day 28
I am thankful that the kitchen was completely cleaned for the first time EVER right after the meal! It was awesome to wake up early and come out for coffee and not have to fight with dishes or stuff on the counter. My oldest and I ventured out for her first day of Black Friday shopping ever. We got a few awesome deals and really enjoyed spending time together. We got to see a longtime family friend that has been away with the military. I am also so thankful for leftovers, relaxing at home, and that my little family has been enjoying so much time together over this past week.

November 27, 2014 ~ Day 27 
Thanksgiving dinner was amazing and delicious! We did not eat precisely at the time I had hoped, but not too far off. Having our friends to share the meal was so nice. Our day was filled with tons of yummy food, fun, football, and a lot of laughs. My kids even helped clean up. I am so thankful that I had the energy and ability to put into all of the details. It was so much fun and the memories are worth all of the work and effort ~ especially, since I had as much help as I did!

November 26, 2014 ~ Day 26
Wow, the snow is really coming down! I am thankful that I have the items I need to finish cooking. The girls and I have haircut appointments later this afternoon. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! I had completely forgotten to schedule them so I was lucky to get this appointment. Yeah, with bangs in my eyes and the long straggly strands, I really wanted to keep this appointment. Hubby was a prince and drove us after we were able to get in a smidgen earlier. I had a wonderful time with my girls (all of us gorgeous now!) cooking and preparing food while they traded back and forth playing video games with Dad. It was fun to hear all of their commotion coming from downstairs and music and laughter in the kitchen. It was a great day and I even got to bed earlier than I expected with all the help from busy hands. 

November 25, 2014 ~ Day 25
Today, I am thankful for a light day and the energy to do many things. After coming home and jumping into some prep work and cooking, I realized I was almost out of flour..? HUH? How am I almost out of flour?! I always have flour. Oh yeah, I have been making strombolis and pizzas! So, I went through my recipes and ingredient lists to see there were a few other items I needed but brain fog helped me forget. Then, back out to store I went blehhh! Thankfully, my hubby came with me and we were home in no time. This time, I have everything I need before the snow tomorrow. Yay!

November 24, 2014 ~ Day 24
Today, I am thankful for the Thanksgiving school break so I did not have to wake up at 5:00 am! It was nice to have my youngest home. She makes me laugh so much. I really enjoyed having a late lunch with her and my hubby and also not having to cook!

November 23, 2014 ~ Day 23
Today, I am thankful for a renewed energy that I haven't had in a while. I am so happy to have friends that feel like family over for our Sunday Fun-day. I am so grateful that I feel comfortable enough with them that it isn't stressful if everything isn't put away or we have a low key meal like beef BBQ sandwiches and quick salads. The treasure is in the time together.

November 22, 2014 ~ Day 22
Today, I am thankful for a new day. Showered, dressed, and out the door to meet my mother and sisters for a new Thanksgiving tradition of breakfast before the holiday. With our growing families, different schedules, and general holiday chaos, we haven't spent the holidays all together in quite a while. Understanding and letting go of the idea that we had to get together ON the holiday or not at all, gave us the opportunity to reconnect and enjoy lots of time to catch up together without the hustle and bustle. After a lovely morning/afternoon, I enjoyed a nap, and then a lovely meal with the hubby and youngest. I do treasure moments with family! Lots to be thankful for, especially as I am starting to feeling better.

November 21, 2014 ~ Day 21
Today, I am thankful for a low key day to get some extra rest and do a few things around the house. That is the start to feeling better. 

November 20, 2014 ~ Day 20
Today, I barely have the strength to get out of bed. After a busy week, not sleeping well at night, and no time for naps in the afternoon, I am completely exhausted. That might sound relate-able to someone who doesn't have chronic pain and the complete fatigue that comes from it. But, those who do, know exactly what I am talking about. It isn't just being tired, it is incapacitating. Thursdays have become my busiest day since my oldest and I switched the cleaning day of our church from Saturday. I am SO thankful today for the strength that God provided to get through this day. There was absolutely no way that I could have done it on my own. 

November 19, 2014 ~ Day 19
Today, where to start? Ugh ~ what a day! This was a repeat of yesterday where I wish I could have had a do-over on most of it. It was cold, I was hurting so badly, I had a lot of work to do, I lost my temper, and I could not sleep. There were other things that were disappointing and discouraging; but, that is not what this post is about. There were still bright spots to be thankful for: My oldest, offered to change her plans and help me tremendously, I was able to make a delicious meal that did not come from a box or take out, and successfully helped my youngest with her homework. These days, most of it is so confusing to me since expectations, punctuation, grammar, and math has changed so drastically ~ but that is a whole separate post! The homework is finished and I am SO thankful!

November 18, 2014 ~ Day 18
Today, I start with being thankful that this is a blog post about being thankful and finding the joyful moments in every day and not a "what I wish happened differently today" journal. I am thankful for more energy today to do many things that needed to be done. On the whole, I accomplished quite a bit, but rarely as much as I would like. As I lay in my bed reviewing the day, the first thoughts are usually of those things that I didn't finish and now have to be added to tomorrow's list. But, then the lovely things that I have started to be sure to notice throughout the day begin to pop into my head: my husband still opening my car door after 23+ years of being together, my youngest successfully being in charge of putting dinner in the oven for the first time, the whole family being together at the table, another successful adventure in hair color for my oldest, a mostly empty sink before bed, a warm home, a full belly, a soft pillow, a comfy bed and any negative thoughts give way to a grateful heart and a pretty good night's sleep! There are so many things to be thankful for each day.

November 17, 2014 ~ Day 17
Today, I am thankful that my hubby tries to take good care of me. I thought that I was going to escape going out in the rain today but
my brain fog won again and I forgot that I needed something for work. So, I had to go out ~ blah. He drove in his toasty warm car with heated seats and I was home soon enough. I am also grateful for my future sister-in-law (who created this beautiful blog) and the wonderful communities of Bloggers and Facebook for their support. Once upon a time, I had been creative and had fun, but, then there was pain. Pain takes up so much of my life. It tells me what I can do, what I should do, and then of course ~ what I can't do. But, as I continue to blog, host my Facebook Page, and have the opportunity to talk with other people who share my dark gift of chronic illness and medications, I have started to feel those sparks of creativity again. While I would never want others to go through what I have been through and what I continue to go through, it is a gift and a blessing to me to be able to relate, laugh, cry, and be encouraged by others who truly know my daily quest to find joy and live each day the best way I can.

November 16, 2014 ~ Day 16
Today, I am thankful for giggles, belly laughs, hugs, smiles, deep and silly conversations, and all of the other little things that my little family shares. I love our Family Sunday Fun Days.

November 15, 2014 ~ Day 15
Today, I am thankful for a few things. I am so happy for another quiet weekend (rare, but so needed!) I spent the day in comfy clothes, looking over my recipes for Thanksgiving again, surfing Pinterest, and watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I was able to roast the turkey wings and veggies to make the broth that will be the gravy for the big day. I combined recipes from an old Woman's Day magazine and a similar one I found on The Yummy Life. Oh my yum! After it chills overnight, I will thicken it and freeze it. Score! Cross that off my list, WOOT! Apparently, my brain fog has been less because when I was going over my recipes, I have almost everything I need except for the turkey and a few odds and ends. How refreshing, since I have had to run out to the store at the last minute hoping to find things that have been gone for days.

November 14, 2014 ~ Day 14
Today, I am thankful that I am moving a little easier, with the warmth of the fire. My youngest and I had a fun dinner, laughing and giggling the whole time. I enjoy those special one on one times. Raising teens is hard enough, but needing to rest so much and taking medication that makes me loopy tends to make me feel disconnected from those I love. I treasure these moments with my girls.

November 13, 2014 ~ Day 13
Today, I am so thankful for safe driving in the snow/sleet. It was our daughter's first adventure driving in winter weather. I was driving behind her trying to make sure that nobody got too close. I was white-knuckled the whole way home! But, she is a wonderful driver and has my hubby's instincts. I am also SO grateful for our first fire in the wood stove. Oh my word, what a difference that makes for my sore and achy muscles! It is a blessing that is beyond belief! 

November 12, 2014 ~ Day 12
Today, I am so thankful that I could go back to sleep after our girls went to school. I was shocked when my hubby woke me up and I realized that I slept for 3 hours. I am so thankful that I was able to get some sleep that I really needed. Because of that extra rest, I was able to be able to get up, stretch, and make the most of my day. With the last of the warm days before the impending cold snap, I strapped on my big girl boots and chose to push a little harder to complete the outside jobs that needed to be done. Ever since I began trying to find ways to thrive with my Fibromyalgia and chronic migraines, I try to plan everything for the week based on the weather, especially in the fall/winter. As a "trade off" for doing those kinds of physical activities, I have to take muscle relaxers and/or pain meds and need to sleep more. 

November 11, 2014 ~ Day 11
Today, I am thankful for free wood for our wood stove that will keep us toasty warm in the cold days coming very soon. I am also so thankful that our daughters are very responsible and that I am able to rely on them to grocery shop for me. I even came home to find that all of the groceries were put away. What a treat! <3

November 10, 2014 ~ Day 10
Today, I am grateful for being out of bed and being able to move around and stretch. One of the hardest things about my flares is that I hurt too much to move, but the longer I lie there, my muscles just get tighter. I am grateful for the muscle relaxers that help a little by keeping my muscles from seizing up. Even though it hurts like the dickens, I am able to begin to work through it.

November 9, 2014 ~ Day 9
Today, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the knowledge that just because I may think or feel something about myself, it does not make it true. What God thinks about me is way more important to me than what I think about myself. I started beating myself up today for running too many errands in the rain the other day, which I KNOW are both triggers for a flare. I started with horrendous cramps and nausea 3 days ago (I think it may have started with something that I ate). Then, I woke up yesterday with debilitating muscle pain and weakness that is still here today. Ugh! So, for the last few days, I have been gentle with myself. I listened to my hubby and rested. But, here we are 3 days later and I still hurt so badly and I just want to sleep. We are going to church today and I am running late. The laundry has piled up, dishes are in the sink, blah blah blah... Here comes the condemnation. Here come the voices that remind me that I do this all the time. BUT, then a clear voice breaks through. No, you don't do this all the time. You are learning, but you stumbled. That voice is the Voice of Truth. That voice is the voice I will choose to believe.

November 8, 2014 ~ Day 8
Today, I am thankful for a quiet weekend, warm and cozy jammies, and the ability to stay in bed all day. I am relieved that I keep quick foods in the freezer to pull out in a pinch so I don't have to worry about what's for dinner or having to go out to eat. Because I have been having more good days than bad, it still surprises and frustrates me when I feel this low on energy even while I am resting. I am looking forward to the end of this flare and warmer temperatures in the next couple of days.

November 7, 2014 ~ Day 7
Today was one of those days that I had to be gentle with myself. One of those days that all I wanted to do was sleep. I am thankful again for an understanding hubby who insisted that I go lie down even though I didn't want to!

November 6, 2014 ~ Day 6
Today, I am extremely thankful for modern technology. It is chilly and rainy here and I ran too many errands today. While walking through the last store, I started slowing down and nearly stopped as my energy completely left me. We hadn't even eaten dinner yet. I was so happy to walk into a warm home, reheat leftovers, rinse the dishes in hot water, and then load them into the dishwasher. I crawled into a very cozy bed, (still dressed!), pulled the warm covers up, rested my head on a fluffy pillow, and called it a day. I am grateful for medicine that keeps the pain less than unbearable.

November 5, 2014 ~ Day 5
Today, I am thankful for my husband’s understanding and caring heart. I was having a rough day and I sincerely appreciated a few small things that he did that added up to turning my day around. It makes me feel loved and cared for to have him anticipate things that might make me feel better; especially, a soft hug and an encouraging word. After nearly 23 years together, we are becoming closer than we have been in years and I am very thankful for that!

November 4, 2014 ~ Day 4
I am so thankful that I am able to mostly work from home for my husband. I am happy to try to take some weight off of his plate, since he is our sole provider. I try to be a blessing to him, since he is such a blessing to us. Although, I am sure I probably get on his nerves sometimes, we seem to make it work. Having to be somewhere outside of the home every day for many hours was very difficult for me, especially in the winter.

November 3, 2014 ~ Day 3 
I am so thankful that my husband and I parent as a team. We both want to provide tools for our kids while still teaching them that it is up to them to use them properly. We don’t always get it right. But, we know that our time with them is brief and our goal is to raise girls that can think and provide for themselves as adults. Each day I am thankful for my girls and that I am able to be a part of their lives. That has been an amazing gift every day of their lives.

November 2, 2014 ~ Day 2
I am thankful to be able to relax at home all day. As soon as I opened my eyes, I declared it my Pajama Day. I could have gotten dressed but I chose not to. I stayed in my jammies and sorted through my Thanksgiving recipes. Seeing my Grandmother’s handwriting brought tears to my eyes because this our first year without her here on earth. I am so thankful for every wonderful memory that I have of her and her delicious recipes to pass down to my children.

November 1, 2014 ~ Day 1
I am relishing in the aftermath of a great Halloween. I am so grateful that my youngest wanted to be with a good friend & trick or treat, my oldest would rather go to a Haunted House with her father than go out with friends, and a husband who wants to take his oldest daughter & her boyfriend to one of those places I don’t want to go!

Today, I am thankful for a restored relationship with my sister-in-law and our families spending time together. It was so nice to see cousins chatting and all of us laughing together enjoying a wonderful breakfast. I am also thankful for spending time with my little family and then watching the girls carve their pumpkins. Time didn’t allow for them to carve them before Halloween. So many times before, I would have just scrapped the whole idea since it was already over. But, it wasn’t too late and I am so glad that they got to enjoy the activity!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Prepare For Take Off ~ My First Week FLYing (Take 2) Cleaning With Fibromyalgia

Ok, so I started the Fly Lady systems again in April... April?! Holy Smokes, I thought I would have been farther along than this by now! Sighhh. Oh well, I digress. Spring came and it was time to plant my garden. Summer came and so did the off and on flares. Yeah, probably from gardening. Don’t judge me! The kids went back to school and my routines completely changed. I found myself slipping back into old habits.
If I don't keep up on paper clutter, it takes over very quickly! If I don't keep up with house cleaning and do a little at a time, I will inevitably do too much at once and spend too much time & energy "catching up". Let's call that what it really is ~ "catching up" is the same thing as a self-induced flare that was not worth the five minutes my house was “clean”.
SO... back to the routines that started pulling everything together and helped keep me on track.

Day 1 - Monday
How do I feel? I feel awful. I broke 3 fillings 2 weeks ago and have a nasty headache. It isn't a full migraine. I am not nauseous and I can move around but I think a spike through my head might be an improvement. I can't eat anything with texture so I am always hungry. My stomach and meds are not mixing well. Since I didn't sleep well, my body just plain hurts all over.
What's on the agenda today: Up at 5am for the kids. I have to work. I work from home for my husband who is a Realtor. I have a ton of stuff to do but I am having trouble concentrating. This is not a good mix. 
FLY: I emptied my sink, and shined it as per the FlyLady's instructions. My oldest daughter's chore is to empty the dishwasher so I had to wait for her to get home to finish. 
I got hooked on making my bed after I started in April. I like the way it looks and it is so comfortable to get into at night when it has been made. Before, it didn't seem like a big deal since I would lie down during the day and mess it up anyway. But, sometimes. I go to bed after my husband. When the bed was unmade, it was very difficult for me to get into with the blankets all disheveled and him lying on them. I cannot sleep unless I am covered completely and I will keep waking up and hurt very badly if I get cold during the night. This problem was solved just by making my bed. Who knew it could be so easy?!
FLY Focus:  The Home Blessing. The longest and sometimes most difficult thing for me. This is when you spend 10 minutes doing a bunch of different things and stop. This includes mopping, it is called a quick mop. Sheesh, I'll say! Since I move a little slower, I don't get as much done as I would like every time. BUT, it is still more than what I was doing before AND I spend less time and have less pain after. My kitchen floor is not spotless but, guess what? It is a heck of a lot better than it was!

Day 2 - Tuesday
How do I feel: Growl, hiss and sigh. Teeth are hurting so badly. Head is pounding. 
What's on the agenda today: Too much. I just want to sleep.
FLY: Sink has a few dishes in it. Blehh. It didn't take long to clean it up and then the sink was nice and shiny. Today, we were supposed to get dressed as if we were going out. Yeah, this is one that I am not always able to do. I am hoping that I will be able to go back to sleep. 
FLY Focus: Plan and Play I can do that while I rest on the couch. What's for dinner, grocery list, look up recipes on Pinterest… Oh SNAP! Where did the time go? Ha! Pinterest problems. I didn't have much time to play, but did get my lists finished and I was able to get a nap, so I will count that!

Day 3 - Wednesday
How do I feel? Grrr
What's on the agenda today: Work, errands, getting ready for my dental appointment to have 2 teeth repaired. I know that it will be rough.
FLY: Sink has a few dishes in it but again, not too many and it didn't take long to do them. I started my Control Journal.
FLY Focus: Anti-procrastination Day! One of my favorites. I kept doing this every Wednesday also. I started with a list of things a mile long and started checking them off one week at a time. It is amazing how freeing it is not to wince and think DANG! I keep forgetting to do that! I just put it on my list for next week.

Day 4 - Thursday
How do I feel: OUCH! 
What's on the agenda today: Dental appointment and recovery
FLY: Getting dressed wasn't a problem since my appointment was at 8:30 in the morning. Sink was empty before I left. Dinner was in the crock pot for my family. Win!
FLY Focus: Errand day. I actually did go to the grocery store today right after my appointment. My face felt like it was melting and I practically ran through the aisles; but, I grabbed soup, drinks, and stuff that would be good for me to eat as well as my family. I seem to always forget to care for myself! The rest of the Fly Focus... I didn't even look.

Day 5 - Friday
How do I feel: ...
What's on the agenda today? As little as possible,
FLY: We are listening to our inner voices. I am learning to be more kind to myself the way I would be with others. Today, I will do what I can, when and IF I can. I am okay with that. 
FLY Focus: De-clutter purse and car. Nah, I am going to need to rest today.

So, one week in. How did it go? 

Depends on who you ask. If you ask someone with a Type A personality who follows every single instruction, it did not go well. If you ask me, I will say that I did the best I could. 

Before I tried Fly Lady, if I couldn't do it all, I wouldn't bother to do any of it. Now, I am constantly reminding myself that if I just do a little today then I won't have as much to do tomorrow. I won't overdo it trying to catch up. I am changing habits and forming routines that are weird and different for me. I feel awful some days and can't do them. That's okay. I just get up the next day and try again. I am starting to really re-think how I see myself and my inner voices. I am treating myself the way I treat others. Not better or worse, but the same
I may be the only who appreciates it but I do really like my shiny sink!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sometimes, I Wish I Was a Bear!

It is rainy outside. It's gray and dark. Blech... My mood is feeling as gray as the clouds. It is getting downright cold at night. Fall is here... sigh. I love the colors of Fall. I enjoy pumpkin EVERYTHING and even enjoy wearing sweaters. What I don't enjoy is knowing that my body's arch enemy, Winter, is right around the corner.

And with winter, come the flares, the brain fog, and the chill inside that doesn't want to go away no matter how much cocoa or coffee I drink. I think that bears and other animals that hibernate have the right idea.

How nice would it be to fill up on a ton of delicious food, go into a quiet cave, get cozy, and sleep until Spring. Sometimes, I wish I was a bear!