graduation and gratitude

I’m hoping this post makes even a little bit of sense because I’m writing as I’m getting ready for our first event this morning with Sara taking her EO rollerballs and me taking all of my coaching stuff and there is so much to do. We are excited and super busy and running.

This week has been that sort of week.

Sara – who started public homeschool earlier this year due to her health issues – had to have all of her school work in by midnight last night. And, as a lil’ stressball when it comes to school (all internal – not coming from me and her dad), she has worked and worried and worked and worried like crazy all week. And, of course, she made all A’s. Despite having been struck with RA in the middle of her 8th grade year. I am so proud of her – and so glad she has a break now too.

And, for me, it has been a week that I have wanted and dreamed of for so many years that I am just overjoyed that it is here.

See, Thursday night was our official End of Year Celebration at school. That’s right. I’m officially an official Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

 

As I wrote in my post back when I was SO excited that I was getting to start IIN, I’ve wanted to be a holistic health coach since I realized there was such a thing back in the early 2000’s when I saw Alex Jamieson in Supersize Me.

At the time, the situation I was in was incredibly difficult and I was in nursing school and I was quickly told that would never happen.

And, though I am incredibly thankful for nursing school – I got a full scholarship at a time when I was supporting a family on my own and desperately needed it – and will always be grateful for God’s provision, I always wanted to do something a little different. Something that was more me I think.

 

So, 15 years later, despite some major health challenges this year, I have graduated IIN. And I am overcome with gratitude.

I can’t believe I am putting together my own coaching programs and planning my own practice and getting ready to coach others on a holistic path. It’s incredible.

And, not only did no one in my life ever say anything negative about it, my precious family has done EVERYTHING to support me and to help make this dream come true. I couldn’t have done it without them. And I am just so so thankful to them and for them.

And I also realize that, as life is happening for me and not to me, I would not be the health coach I can now be were it not for my life experiences and my years of nursing and the years of waiting to get here. So I am grateful for that as well.

And now I have to get back to work, since I am t-minus 5 hours and counting.

I just wanted to take a moment to say, “Thank You.”

grad 22

Be well, everybody. Happy Saturday!

Grace and blessings.

 

the mother’s day mixed bag.

Yesterday was honestly the best Mother’s Day celebration I can remember. We went to spend the day with our family at the lake and had the best time talking and laughing and enjoying each other. It was simple and wonderful and I loved it.

Today has been good too. I’ve mostly rested – travel wipes me out – and now am up to celebrate Mother’s Day/Henry’s Birthday (oh yes, there will be pictures). I just made vegan mac n’ cheeze and grilled cheeze sammies and Sara has GF cupcakes in the works. It’s going to be fabulous.

Still, my feelings about Mother’s Day (in the big picture) are a mixed bag and this year threw in another wrinkle.

As I’ve written about before (last Mother’s Day), my biological mother abandoned my father and I when I was a toddler and that sting doesn’t go away. Mother’s Day when I was young was always particularly painful without her.

I had my sweet, sweet Grandmother though (living next door to us) and we were so close. Since she passed away in 2014, that has been a hard thing on this day too.

As an adult, though, I’ve been blessed when my dad married a wonderful lady, and, then later, when I married my husband, I also got the best mom I could have ever asked for too. I am so thankful for both of them on this day (and the rest of the year as well).

Another difficult thing that certainly isn’t a secret but I have never written about is losing my boys. My twin sons, Aidan and Bailey, were stillborn due to complications with my pregnancy and I became septic and almost died myself. It was a terrible time. I don’t speak of it often but I never forget them or their birthday or fail to think of them at holidays (or any other time). This day seems to me to be a reminder of loss.

However, I also have been blessed with three healthy children who are so nearly grown and for that I am so thankful. I celebrate that on this day.

The wrinkle this year is that the relationship with one of them has become quite strained and there is nothing I can do about it. This day, having not even heard a word from that child, is so painful in that regard.

So, Mother’s Day isn’t really wrapped in a pretty pink bow for me. I wish it were.

(Father’s Day is my jam: I have my dad who raised me, I have the most amazing husband who is so good to us (and I only wish I could do bigger and more for him), and I have his dad who I just love so much too. I’m all over Father’s Day.)

But, still, maybe this is what is supposed to be. Maybe God can use all of this.

I don’t write all of this to be a bummer. I’m not sitting and feeling sorry for myself. Quite the contrary – I’m about to get myself ready for an awesome Beauty and the Beast Doggie 5th birthday party (and, if you don’t think Henry is one of my babies too, you REALLY don’t know me).

I write because I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this day, and, whether it is the loss of a mother or child or grandmother or facing infertility or whatever other pain they are dealing with, I want people to know that they are not alone.

I want them to know that it’s okay if this day isn’t pretty pink bow wrapped for them either or Hallmark approved. It’s okay to skip church today (the Mother’s Day service can be an arrow to the chest of someone in pain) and watch movies in bed all day. It’s okay to do whatever makes them feel best today and not worry about.

Most of all, I want them to know that they are seen and cared for and loved.

That may well be the purpose in the pain.

Be well, everybody. Be good to each other.

Grace and blessings.

 

a gnarly awareness month flare

Imagine if at least half of your days were truly sick days – as in fever, night sweats, body aches, difficulty walking, overwhelming fatigue. Actual, in-bed sick days.

And what if the rest of your “functional” days were all filled with crazy symptoms too? (you just happened to be out of bed for part of them?)

And, think, what if every time you stood up, pain radiated through your hips and lower spine? And your feet throbbed? What if you reached a point where standing for more than 5 or 10 minutes without a break was just intolerable?

What if you had to take sleeps once or twice a day, no matter what?

And you had numbness and tingling and pain in your hands every time you used them?

What if your eyes were so dry you couldn’t see properly at times no matter what you did to correct the problem?

What if your heart rate stayed abnormally high despite all medication and you could just feel it race?

What if some mornings you woke up inexplicably short of breath and it took hours to shake it off?

What if your knees had a kind of jackhammering pain that made you want to just sit and scream?

What if you woke up with “morning stiffness” that never left for the day?

What if the pain in your feet was pretty well guaranteed to never go away?

What if your ankles looked like those of a ninety eight year old with congestive heart failure by the end of each day?

What if general life stress could trigger a flare that would send you straight to the hospital – or worse?

What if you lived with constant anxiety and guilt because you couldn’t do the things you used to do anymore?

An RA Crash Course.

 

I have a pretty great life despite my illness but this week has been one for the record books.

And I decided that, with this being Arthritis Awareness Month, it was time to talk about some of the bad things too  – as I always try to write honestly about my disease:

After the major fallout with my son on Monday night, my health started decompensating pretty quickly. . . and by Wednesday, I was in total misery, napping on and off throughout the day, struggling to summon the strength to make it to the shower. At 5 PM, when my husband was coming home from work, I finally had to give up and just go back to bed in earnest.

ra 17

Since I’ve gotten up from that sleep, my pain is still just out of control. I am now taking timed Prednisone doses – which is the last thing I want to do with my broken bone situation but I don’t have a choice really – and doing some work while staying put on my bed with Henry the Wonderpup.

Since I’ve had to hit this reaction with the massive prednisone, I am hopeful it will break soon. I just hate that, when something happens that is terribly upsetting, I can just sit and wait for hell’s own flare to come but there is nothing I can do to stop it.

In addition to the pred, though, I will step up my anti-inflammatory diet and oils and all of the things that I know to do to help myself. I will also be staying home for the next few days, resting and working in bed. Hopefully and prayerfully by this weekend, I’ll be close to my baseline.

As always, I’ll be fighting forward.

 

 

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

So, it turns out I’m Lorelai after all

Without getting into the awful details, we had a terrible episode with my son last night. It was unbelievable. Honestly, it has probably been a long time coming. . . But that doesn’t make it any less painful.

He is now at his father’s house.

And my husband, who worked all day on no sleep, is finally resting.

And my youngest daughter, who has been busting her tail all day working against a school deadline while keeping an eye on me, is also finally in bed.

And my pain has been AWFUL today – which I could have predicted with such an upsetting day yesterday.

So I’ve been in bed pretty much constantly today, napping on and off.

And now, our oldest daughter, who unfortunately was a witness to the craziness last night, is piled up in bed next to me, watching Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life.

I’m not much of a TV person but a favorite thing of mine is picking a great series and watching it through with my family. My husband and I have watched The Big Bang Theory, How I Meet Your Mother and Modern Family together, to name a few. Sara, our youngest, and I have watched Stranger Things and Queer Eye.

And so, tonight, Laura and I started Gilmore Girls. Since she has seen the earlier episodes, we are watching the new ones and then we will circle back and I’ll pick up the older ones.

After all these years of hearing that I’m Lorelai, it turns out it’s true. From the coffee to the food to the dog dressing and special doggie meals to all the crazy pop culture references to the Christmas obsession, it’s true.

But more importantly, I really needed to enjoy a good Netflix and late night pizza fest with my fam. Very much badly.

And there have been some other great things too like exciting developments with my business:

I have my final business name and logo chosen and our first conference in about ten days. There is lots of (really great) work to be done.

So, as with all hard things (like this with my son), I’m just digging in and hanging on and doing the things I can do.

And getting my Gilmore on.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

dreams and visions (and glue sticks and washi tape)

Today (yesterday, really) was spent working in my office, as well as my kitchen, and reworking my blog, and I also spent some time working on plans for my health coaching programs. With graduation upon me and my practice starting, I have so much (good stuff) to do.

One thing I also did – that I started when I was in school as an assignment but I will always keep doing in the future – was rework my vision board:

my vision board – and, yes, that is a mini salt lamp below it. I prefer ALL of the hippie around my Hut. =D

The first time I made a vision board I felt totally goofy doing it, but, honestly, now I love it. It’s a great way to keep my dreams and goals before me every day, and I encourage everyone to make one, whether it is a physical board or just a secret Pinterest board that they look at every morning.

Also, as adults, we tend to get bogged down in the day-to-day and vision boarding is a great way to remember to keep dreaming and looking forward to things, which is so important to our mental health.

I even remember reading in a book – though I can’t remember which one for the life of me – vision boarding being described as “craft time with God.” Bahahaha!

Seriously, though, everyone’s board looks different. Some are covered with houses, cars, and pictures of jobs. Some look like giant travel advertisements. Some, like mine, are lots of words and quotes and a few pictures and my life verses. It can be ANYTHING.

Just. Do. It.

Remember:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. – Muhammad Ali

Where there is no vision, the people perish. – Proverbs 29:18

Be well, everybody. And get crafting.

Grace and blessings.

 

a new spoonie purpose for me this awareness month.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. It is also the Awareness Month for Celiac Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Chiari Malformation, Lupus, and several other serious spoonie diseases.

I’ve written often about my struggles with rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease and the struggles our daughter is experiencing as well. I’ve shared all the issues we’ve had with doctors not listening or not helping. I’ve reported weeks where we just could NOT stay out of the ER. I’ve done my best to describe just how debilitating the pain and fatigue of these illnesses can be.

And they are miserable.

But, as I also have recently shared, I’ve had some great things happening too with my graduation.

Actually, these came today (yay!!!):

In addition to helping people with standard American dietary issues (which I also really want to do), I feel I am in a unique position to help my spoonie sisters with the problems we face:

  • Where they may go to the doctor and only get 10 or 15 minutes to report their concerns (which, though usual, isn’t enough time to begin to discuss complex medical issues), I will take time to actually sit and LISTEN to the whole story. Also, our families need a break sometimes too from hearing the symptom report (it’s okay – we know). I can be great for a sympathetic ear.
  • I will spend whatever time is needed sorting dietary needs and issues and supplements and other alternatives to help relieve symptoms, where they won’t be getting that from their physicians (this I KNOW).
  • Because I have a strong nursing background, I am familiar with the side effects of our meds, so I will be helpful there as well.
  • I will be available by email anytime, unlike our physicians.
  • Most importantly, I live with this as well and I will BELIEVE them. I can’t count how many stories I’ve heard of patients not being believed at their appointments and it’s terrible. I actually understand what these illnesses are like. Really.

After being unable to work as a nurse for the past year, I honestly feel like this is what I am meant to do and it is a way I can be of service to our community so I hope to spend this awareness month being helpful in a small way at least.

I am so excited.

Be well, everybody. Happy Thursday!

Grace and blessings.

 

397 days

It’s been 397 days since I stopped drinking.

397 days since my cute little sugar skull wine glasses turned into toothbrush and pen holders.

397 days since the rest of the alcohol related paraphernalia in my house went in the trash.

397 days since the whole world changed and brightened and a new life started for me.

A life of books and church and movie nights and a nutrition degree and writing and so much freedom and joy.

Don’t misunderstand me – there has been plenty of hard too.

My autoimmune disease brings incredible pain at times from which there is no escape.

And, though neither broken foot is a treat, my right foot is unbearable at times.

And we have some serious life stresses right now that just have to be faced head on.

And I quickly learned that I was masking my anxiety disorder with wine and had to learn to manage it. Deep breathing, Valor EO, and, most of all, my Wonderpup, Henry, are my saving graces.

Despite the rough stuff, though, it’s a wonderful life with my better half, my Buggle, my Henry, my family and friends, church, writing, books, and, now, coaching.

More than anything, I am thankful to God for giving me grace and a whole new lease on life. Every day, I’m thankful.

I say this all to say how much I HATE the beast that is substance abuse.

I learned earlier tonight that an old friend from my town, who went to our church, whose children are younger than mine, was living in a facility to get a fresh start, but was ultimately unable to be free. She passed away from an overdose.

I have no judgment. We are all in the same boat.

My heart is just broken for her family, especially for her babies.

And, prior to learning of her death, I had some things I had been meaning to share. But this has certainly lit a fire.

Though her death was related to another substance, alcohol, in my mind, is every bit as dangerous, if not more so, because people tend to consider it safe as it is legal.

I saw this article last week and the information stuck with me and I felt led to pass it along:

https://www.delish.com/food/a19779621/one-alcoholic-drink-day-shorten-life/

Even what most people would consider moderate drinking can drastically shorten a person’s lifespan.

When we consider that the rates of alcohol abuse are skyrocketing among women, that alcohol is a potent neurotoxin, and that alcohol is a carcinogen, linked to cancers, such as breast cancer, with only a small daily intake, there are definitely many issues with this legal drug.

Of course, that doesn’t even take into consideration alcohol related accidents and deaths.

It is definitely not the safe drug it is often thought to be.

And many times people are reluctant to seek help when they do have a problem with it because it is so socially acceptable and they don’t want to be “branded” somehow.

It’s time to change the way we think.

And, then, in the case of my friend, there is the opioid crisis.

Heroin related deaths have quadrupled in my county in recent years.

From what I understand from reading the report from the county sheriff, there is a more pure strain that is becoming available and also some of what is available is laced with fentanyl. Either of these can prove deadly.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is to this problem in the big picture.

I do know, regardless of the substance, that help is available to people who are struggling and I would just beg them to take it. And, if you don’t make it the first time – or the fifth – to keep trying.

There are resources that are always available:

aa.org

na.org

celebraterecovery.com

hipsobriety.com

In addition to these, there are tons of online support groups. Just consult Google and you’ll find plenty.

And, as always, if you are in crisis, PLEASE present to the nearest emergency room. Regardless of your insurance status, they WILL help you.

This stuff is no joke. It’s life or death.

You are not alone. You are worth saving. And you can be helped.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.