Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Life is Short in a World of Busyness


I have not posted to my blog in over a year!  Where do I even begin?! So many things always running through my mind as I have wanted to write so many times in the last year.  Unfortunately, once again, life got in the way and I put my writing on the back burner.  My friends, I can't tell you how much I have missed writing posts about life in general.  So many changes around here in the last year.  

Honestly, I could tell you that I have been too busy to write, which is true to a degree.  How truly busy are we in our lives?  Too busy to make time for our passions and things that we enjoy and make us happy?  I have recently stumbled upon articles about how the world that we live in today, basically has trained us that we must constantly be busy.  When you ask someone you haven't seen in awhile, how they are doing or what they have been up to, so often, the response is…"Busy". I am certain that you have likely spoken to someone this very week and received that response.  Is all of this busyness making us happy and fulfilled?  I often wonder myself.  I have always been one that enjoys having a plan for each day.  I am a planner by default.  If I don't have a plan or it doesn't go as I have planned, I get anxious.  I like being busy to an extent.  I am trying hard at relaxing when my schedule has hiccups.  It is always going to happen and that is okay.  I must adjust and go with Plan B. And if that doesn't work, Plan C and so on.  It is all in how we choose to look at the situation that determines how we will handle it.  

Do you love the busyness of your life?  If not, what changes could you make to slow things down and be able to enjoy the things that you may be neglecting simply for the fact of being "too busy"?

This morning, I was reading a blog of a woman who recently lost her battle with breast cancer.  I watched a video clip that was a documentary of her and family and her cancer.  I cried.  This woman was the very same age that I am.  She fought cancer for the last two years.  She had a husband and four children.  It made me stop and think for a few minutes.  I have felt like I have been climbing an uphill battle in my life for many months and some days feel like I am drowning.  I get up every single day and pray for a better day.  Emma has been sick more than she has been healthy this school year and I worry about her daily.  She has had pneumonia, sinus infection, strep throat and nasty viruses.  It has been heartbreaking to see my girlie so unhealthy.  She is having her tonsils removed over spring break.  It won't be quite the same as a beach vacation but, its the answer to getting her healthy.  Days and weeks of trying to nurse my sweet girl to health often left me feeling helpless as I couldn't make her better no matter how hard I tried.  This single parenting stuff is tough sometimes.  As I write this today, Emma is feeling healthy and is at school.  Praise the Lord.  My point in sharing this is that as I have had many days where I have cried at home trying to make my daughter feel better, almost weekly visits to the doctor, I am forever grateful that I was able to take care of her.  We had days and days that we wouldn't even leave the house because she was too ill.  When she finally got healthy, I fell ill with a virus and double pinkeye. As I may have been feeling defeated lately, after seeing this woman who fought hard for two years and lose the battle to cancer, I was, painstakingly, reminded that life is going to be really tough sometimes and the things that I have been fighting and struggling with seem so minuscule now. My dad just reminded me the other day not to let things get me down and that I will get through this.  He said, "Life is just a test with many hurdles. They make us stronger."  Wise words.  

I feel that I have preached this before…Life is too short.  It is so very important to live in the moment.  Try not to get ahead of yourself and plan every detail out for months, days, and years to come.  If you are feeling lost in a world of busyness, try to make some changes that will help you to enjoy the things that you love and enjoy and bring you happiness.  We all have the same 24 hours in each day.  I know, for a fact, that I have let some things that I am most passionate about, slip down my priority ladder because my daughter is my number one and she needed me. When she is healthy and the weather is nice, you better bet that I will be pounding the pavement and logging lots of miles running. I will be the first to tell you that I am not at all good at doing things for myself or taking time for myself.  My boyfriend is always telling me that I need to do more for myself.  It just isn't in me.  I am truly a work in process.  I get more joy in doing for others than for myself.  

This week, I encourage you to slow down and enjoy the moments.  Enjoy the ones you love.  Allow yourself to be fully engaged in conversations and try to eliminate some of the distractions.  Be fully present.  Smile at strangers. Think positive. Hug as tight as you can and be the last to let go.  Laugh from your belly. Be silly. Let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.  

Have a wonderful week!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday…My Gracie

Well, hello spring!  

It appears that I survived the countdown to spring!  Today is officially the first day of spring. Hard to believe, right?  If you live in Michigan, you can completely relate to what I am saying.  We woke up to a dusting of fresh snow this morning!  After the never-ending winter that we've had, I, honestly, didn't have high hopes for an early and warm spring.  I was only dreaming about it. Every winter, a little piece of me thinks that I should be living in a more southern part of the country.  I am not a fan of the cold.  I would be perfectly happy if we just had a little bit of snow around Christmas and then when January hits, I would happily welcome spring.  Wishful thinking!! I am smart enough to know that if I want a change, I will need to move to a milder climate.  Maybe someday.  

It just so happens to be Thankful Thursday again today. Today, this very first day of spring, I am thankful for my wonderful girl, known as my  daughter, Emma.  You may be thinking that I wrote a post about her once before, and you would be absolutely correct on that.  I wrote it a couple of years ago and you can find it here.  Emma is such a huge part of my life and she amazes me every single day.  I thought she deserved another post.  I mentioned to her before she went to school this morning, that I may write about her and she told me that I didn't have to write about her. So selfless for an almost 11 year old.  She suggested I write something about finally seeing some grass and spring arriving. She is even tired of winter! She cracks me up.

I am thankful for Emma, not only  today, but, every second of my life.  Admittedly, on a daily basis, I have a moment, or maybe several, in which I sit back and think to myself…

How did I manage to get so lucky and so blessed to have this amazing girl to call my own? 

What did I do to deserve such a caring and loving little human to take care of and raise to be someone who is ready to face the world with all she's got?  

All I do know, is that I feel like the luckiest mom alive.  I hit the jackpot.  This girl is priceless.

Emma is, and always has been, one of the most positive people that I know.  She has kept this positivity about her even throughout some of the toughest times of her life.  When we moved to Ohio for nine short months, she most definitely kept a good attitude at times when even I was struggling to do so myself.  Although, I try to be a positive person myself, I have learned from her on many occasions.  To be truthful, as positive as I strive to be, I most certainly have experienced times in which I wasn't sure I could dig myself out of such despair to find anything positive.  Emma always has had this keen sense of what people need.  When I am speaking of needs, I am referring to things like, a hug, a shoulder rub or a few kind encouraging words, a silly joke, a little note or handmade picture….something to cheer the person up and brighten their mood.  She can always make you forget whatever may be bothering you, even if just temporarily, and make you smile.  I love this about her.

Emma takes whatever is thrown at her in life, in stride.  She handled the divorce between her dad and I better than I could ever imagine anyone of any age to handle it.  Again, she was my saving Grace.  We were very close before that all happened but, we grew so much closer as we dealt with the changes and made a new life for ourselves.  She has always been so open with talking to me about anything at all.  This, I believe, has benefited her in so many ways.  I have always taught her not to hold things in (I try not, but at times I am guilty of doing this myself) because they will just cause her hurt and sadness that will eat her up inside.  Been there, done that.  I only teach from experience.  I have always told her that no feelings are ever wrong.  Feelings belong to the individual and no one can tell you that it's right or wrong to feel the way that you do.  

Emma is resilient.  It breaks my heart that she must travel back and forth to Indiana three weekends a month to see her dad.  It is so important for her to build a good relationship with her dad.  She certainly didn't choose this for her life but, she makes the best she can out of the situation.  She makes many sacrifices without complaint.  She will always assure that everyone else is happy before herself.  This is something that I do, myself.  It's tough sometimes but, also hard to change. We are who we are. I am trying to teach her that she can't always worry about everyone else's happiness and that sometimes she needs to just do what makes her happy. This is an easier lesson to learn while she is young.  

Speaking of happy.  This girl has been known to wake up dancing and singing while getting ready for school.  Does this happen everyday?  Of course not!  As a whole, she is happy.  She doesn't let things get her down.  She doesn't get angry.  She is able to forgive and forget.  She never holds on to things or holds grudges.  Happiness is her normal.  I love this about her too!  Who doesn't love to be around someone that is happy and smiling and grateful for the day and all that it holds?  I, my friends, am the lucky one that gets to live with this sunshine and her happiness and smiles!  I don't mean to make anyone jealous but, this is amazing to wake up to and end the day with as well.  I am a lucky mom!

Funny would be a great understatement when describing Emma.  This girl doesn't need to try to be funny.  It is completely natural!  We laugh every single day.  Sometimes we just talk stupid stuff or make up silly words to songs we like and look at each other and just crack up!  Laughter is a normal occurrence around our home.  If I am not laughing on a particular day, she will think something is wrong and bothering me.  Again…. her crazy keen senses!  This girl knows me all too well.  

Emma is about as selfless as they come.  She would rather do for others than for herself.  She was never a kid to "want" all the time.  She still isn't.  In fact, at Christmastime, she really wanted to collect donated gifts at her school so that she could give them to kids that may not have anything for the holiday.  Unfortunately, we didn't coordinate with the school soon enough and were unable to do it but, next year we will get an early start so that she can give kids who are less fortunate, a nice holiday surprise.  I recall so clearly when she brought this idea to me that she said, " Mom, all I want for Christmas this year is to give to kids less fortunate and be able to see the joy in their faces."  I believe my eyes filled with tears.  It's times like this that make me believe that I must be doing something right when teaching her about life and raising her the best that I know how.

A friend to everyone.  Since Emma was just a toddler, she has been able to play with and be friends with anyone of any gender, race or whatever.  She, to this day, puts no judgement on anyone.  Love this!!  In a world that is so ridiculously judgmental on so many aspects, this is a fabulous trait she has.  She doesn't let anyone persuade her otherwise.  In her eyes, everyone is equal.  It doesn't matter to her what you wear or what kind of house you live in or car you drive.  She likes you for you.  Simple as that.  She will stick up for others in a heartbeat.  She likes to build people up rather than what so many seem to do, knock them down.  Sometimes, I must remind myself that she is only just shy of eleven years old.  This young lady, is often wise beyond her years.  She is still so very much a kid but, holds qualities that some won't learn until later in life and possibly even never learn at all.  

I am not trying to brag about my sweetie.  I simply want to share with you all about how blessed that I am to wake up each day and see a girl, my daughter, and her smiling, positive outlook on life.  It is so much fun to see her blossom throughout the years.  In one breath, I wish I could freeze time so that she wouldn't grow up but, in the next breath, she brings so much joy to my life and watching her grow is an incredible experience that I will forever cherish.  

Emma Grace, I am truly blessed to be called your mom.  You make me proud every single day.  You bring so much love, joy, laughter and sometimes even tears to my life. I love all of it. I cherish all of the memories that we have created together. I could not ask for a better daughter.  In my eyes, you are absolutely perfect.  I thank you for all of the things you have taught me.  I have become a better person and better mom because of you.  You rock!  Keep your positive thinking and your caring heart and you can achieve anything you set your mind to achieving.  I believe in you and always will.  I will always be here for you for anything you need. Thanks so much for being you.  I love you so very much. I love you to the moon and back and then some.  Always remember that.  XOXO

What makes you thankful on this Thankful Thursday?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday…Today

It's Thankful Thursday!!

As I was thinking about what I was thankful for this week, I decided that the most fitting thing to be thankful for was simply…


I am thankful that I was given yet another day at this thing that we call life.  It is so easy to get caught up in our lives and lose the appreciation for the moments and experiences we have on a particular day. 24 hours seems to slip away so quickly and I know that I, myself, am guilty of letting the entire day and night slip by me and not really considering the things that I may have experienced or the blessings that may have been bestowed upon me in that period of time. One. Single. Day. 

This is something that I was reminded of, after a local young man passed away unexpectedly.  A guy who had everything going for him and had a great future ahead of him that was cut short, without warning, because of an enlarged heart that he was never even aware of having.  My heart breaks for everyone that knew him.  Many friends and family may very well have never experienced such a loss in their lives. 

 I am certain that so many that knew him, are asking themselves….why?  How could such a young, driven, caring young guy, who had given so much in his short 17 years, be taken so unexpectedly? All of which are very normal questions. I truly believe that these are all questions that we may never know answers to until down the road in our lives, perhaps we may not truly know until we get there ourselves.  My beliefs assure me that the man upstairs had better plans for him. Of course, as with opinions, we all have our own beliefs and yours may differ considerably from mine, which is perfectly okay.  

I am thankful for today.

Today, gives me another opportunity to start fresh.  Tomorrow is done and I can't worry about what I may have done or not done.  Or if I did it right, or well enough.  Or if I said what I needed to say or if I didn't.  And if it was the right or wrong thing to say.  That was yesterday.  I can learn from any mistakes that I may have made yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, or a year ago.  

Today, started with a clean slate.  

What a beautiful thing that we are given!  

Today. 24 hours.

I am not going to lie to you and say that with every single passing day, that I only think of the positive things that I experience.  If I told you that, I would be lying.  I most certainly have those days in which, I wonder if anything could go right and that everything wasn't such a struggle.  Yes, I too, have more days like that than I am comfortable admitting to.  Life is tough.  Some days are most definitely easier and full of more positive things than others.  Like I have said numerous times…

Life is about the journey, not the destination. 

I try my very best to live in the moment and enjoy it as it happens. Do I always remember to do this? Nope. Sure don't.  I do realize that it is some of the toughest moments that I have actually learned the most and benefited the most from experiencing.  Am I asking for more tough moments in my life? Most certainly not. Will I encounter many more in the future? Most definitely. I'd be a fool to think otherwise.  Do I think that those times have made me a stronger person?  Absolutely!  Do I feel good about myself when I reflect back upon tough life moments?  Without a doubt!  

I believe we all are likely guilty for not living in the moment at times in our life. There are so many factors that make it more challenging to remember to live each moment as we experience it.  Probably more times than not, I don't think of things as a moment that I will never get back.  A moment that will never happen again.  With all of today's distractions, it's often, unfortunately, easy to lose the focus of the "right here and now".  

What distractions do you ask?  Careers, sports schedules, parenting, building relationships, stress, living too far in the future, over committing ourselves, expectations of ourselves and others, technology, keeping up with the Jones'.  These are obviously just a minuscule example of some distractions that we may experience in our lives.  

After hearing the shocking news of Ryan Fischer's passing, it really gave me a reality check.  I know full well, that lately, I haven't been the best at living in the moment and being thankful for today and all that it holds.  I have been very guilty of trying to figure out every last detail of my life for the next decade and beyond. I have so many decisions to make that often overwhelm me.  I have been not only trying to adjust to living life with celiac disease and my life of gluten-free everything.  It's getting easier but, as I am certain, there will always be difficult times and situations.  Think about it…what gathering, these days, isn't surrounded by food?  Most social things are based around food.  I am so focused on getting my health back to better than it ever was before.  I wish it could happen faster.  

Again….the journey.  

My energy is coming back slowly.  I've been back at the gym, for the last 2 weeks, running again.  It feels so great!  In fact the first day that I ran, it felt so great that I forced myself to run further each time.  I ended up pretty sore the first few days but, it's how I do things.  Go hard or go home! I have very high expectations of myself. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I knew the way I was easing myself back into it was completely wrong but, I was feeling so happy to be back to my passion of running that I like to push myself.  I knew that if it was my last day in life, I pushed myself to be the best that I could be.

Last week, I started using a new insulin pump.  It's back to the old school pump with the tubing again.  Honestly, I hate the thing.  I don't often use the word hate either. It is a very strong word. I chose a different pump than I had  prior to my very favorite Omnipod.  Bad move.  So much button pushing for every simple step.  It's ridiculous and frustrating!  I called as soon as I got home from my training on how to use this dandy unit, to exchange it for the brand I have had experience with in the past.  Sometimes its just best to stick with what you know.  Silly me for thinking I should try something new!! Hopefully, within the next few weeks, I will be able to switch and be on yet another pump!  I never would have switched from my pump that has no tubes but, unfortunately, my insurance would no longer cover that kind.  After having the freedom of no tubing for so many years, I feel I am going backwards in time and technology. It has really bummed me out.  This perhaps, is another reminder to live in the moment.  I don't at all love this current pump, yet I am thankful that I am not having to endure giving myself numerous shots daily.  Always trying to see the bright side of things even when it is not so easy to do so.  

Another huge detail in my life these days, that has distracted me from living for  the moment, is the fact that I am trying to figure out what career is going to be right for me.  For the last 11 years, I have been extremely blessed to be a stay at home mom.  This has been the most rewarding experience in my life.  It is not always an easy job to parent and teach another little human, that we love more than we ever knew possible, the fundamentals of life, how to become responsible, how to be confident and dream big in order to achieve anything they dream about.  As a parent, we are not given and instruction manual.  We must teach our children the best that we can with all of the knowledge we hold from our own lives.  I make mistakes all the time as a parent.  I am willing to admit that I make mistakes to my daughter. I assure her that making mistakes is okay and that is how we learn important lessons in life.  I am a perfectionist by nature but, as we all know, nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  I have personally always struggled with the fact that sometimes my very best, still isn't good enough, in my mind.  It's often hard when your own expectations for yourself are tougher than anyone else would expect of you.  I guess you call those high standards, my friends. 

I have not had a job outside the home in many years as I just told you that I have held, perhaps one of the most important jobs of all times of being a parent and raising one amazing and sweet girl, as known as Emma.  Thinking of finding a job gives me much anxiety and sometimes terrifies me when I think about it.  What would make me happy and fulfilled more than being a mom?  I am not sure anything could replace that feeling.  I would absolutely love to be a writer of some sorts. I know that may surprise you all, as I write these posts that could rival a lengthy novel!  Unfortunately, I have no other experience with writing, other than this amateur blog that I started several years ago.  I am a Certified Personal Trainer and envisioned myself running a training business working one on one with people to help them achieve their optimal health through regular fitness.  There is nothing I would love more than to help individuals, that may be unsure how or where to begin their journey to become fit and confident with themselves and their bodies.  This would be very rewarding for me.  I would not make a super group fitness instructor.  I enjoy getting to know people on a more personal level and learning what motivates them and makes them tick.  If I can find a way to get this business started, I would feel accomplished, a great sense of achievement and very rewarded.  Helping others fuels my soul.  Writing fuels my soul.  This is just a start.  You must start someplace if you ever want to achieve anything. Through lots and lots of thinking, these are the options I have narrowed it down to that make me most happy and fulfilled. 

And the novel continues…

My point in this post is that rather than getting ahead of yourself and worrying about 5 years from now…

Live for today.  

We all were blessed to be given another day to wake up and give this world all we've got.  Give it your best.  Enjoy the great things, the not so great things, the funny things, the memories that you are making in this day, the relationships that you are nurturing and strengthening, and your friends and family. You were given 24 hours.  Be ever grateful.  Love like there is no tomorrow.  Be present today for we never know what tomorrow will bring.  

What makes you thankful on this Thankful Thursday?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yes!! One Month Already!

Today, I have hit a milestone in my road to healing and better health. It's already been one month that I have been completely gluten-free!  Part of me feels that it went by quite quickly…then, when I reflect back to the times that it felt like such a struggle to feel normal, or like everyone else when it comes down to meals, snacks or grocery shopping, it seems like time has crawled by incredibly slowly.  I have had times that I feel like I am doing a pretty darn good job with adjusting to this whole, "I have celiac disease, I absolutely can NOT have any gluten, not even a crumb, so please keep it away from me or I will be very sick…I will wash my hands obsessively, cook with my own "special" pans and utensils and sometimes when out to eat with others, will sit and watch the rest of you eat, thing that I will call my new life."  

I am really trying my very best to stay positive about this, as much as I possibly can.  The last month has definitely brought many changes in not only my diet but, the way I must live now.  I will admit that I have had many times that I just break down and cry.  I have never in my entire life wanted to draw attention to myself.  I have always been the one who would rather go through my life somewhat unnoticed.  I have found it rather challenging to remain that way with the celiac diagnosis.  With diabetes, I have been very good about keeping it to myself and most outsiders would never even know that I have it.  Of course, every so often, I get those remarks from others, suggesting that I shouldn't eat something because I have diabetes.  Thanks for your concern but, after almost 12 years, I'm pretty certain that I know what I can and can't eat and how it will affect me.  I must be doing something right because every time I see my endocrinologist, he tells me I am doing great and to keep doing things just the way that I am.  With celiac disease, I almost have no other choice than bring attention to myself.  It may be what I am struggling with the most, in fact.  I always am asking if something is gluten-free or questioning if it is processed in a wheat free facility.  In restaurants, sometimes the gluten-free menu isn't enough.  Especially with so many people that are just going gluten-free by their own choice.  In their case, it makes no difference if their food is prepared on the same surface as a gluten containing food.  For me, it could be the difference of a great meal shared with friends or family or going home and curling up in a ball as I hold my breath through the pains in my stomach. I feel that I am constantly researching where and what I can eat.  It would be simple if it were only me. But, its not.  I still need to make sure that the ones I love are eating what they like and where they'd like.  I HATE that every meal now, turns to what I can eat.  I want more than anything else, to feel normal like the rest of you. No focus directed at me. No paranoia about if it is safe. This may be one of the tougher challenges that I have had in my life. As an outsider, I am sure it is very easy to look at it and think….what a simple fix.  Avoid gluten and you are better.  Honestly, before I was diagnosed, I may have thought the very same thing myself. 

I saw the dietitian and she gave me some useful information. Shared some resources, brands and restaurants that were good choices for me.  She also told me that I need to get rid of my flour. My gluten filled flour.  The flour that I had used hundreds of times, feeding my soul, as I spent hours baking in my kitchen.  Sometimes almost daily.  The flour that I would spread out in the counter before my daughter and I would roll out our sugar cookie dough to make our special Christmas cookies. I am not sure how many of you know that one of my passions is…. baking.  It always made me so happy to bake some fresh, warm cookies to share with the ones I love.  I was sitting there in the dietitian's office and when I heard those words, my eyes began to tear.  Yes…it's true.  That was almost 2 weeks ago and my flour still sits in the canister on my counter.  I walk by it numerous times each day.  I haven't been able to bring myself to throw it out.  To many of you, that must sound so silly and ridiculous.  Maybe so.  To me, until I learn how to bake with new flour combinations, which may indeed, never produce that same baked goods I once baked, it is like closing a door to my passion of baking.  Yep….a year ago, I never would have guessed that I would be mourning my flour!!!  This too, shall pass.

Chris and I had quite the adventure last weekend.  Sunday night, I thought making a gluten-free pizza would be an easy dinner for us. Ha….that proved wrong.  We went to Meijer and got all of the fresh fixings for our pizza.  I went to grab the gluten-free pizza dough to find out that they didn't have it!  A great laid plan gone wrong.  What is a pizza without the foundation of the crust?!  It was late, I was hungry because I didn't have lunch. I had Frito's at Subway while Chris was lucky enough to eat a sandwich.  So, by 8 o'clock, I was needing to eat dinner! I told Chris that we could just forget it and he could have a regular pizza and I would resort to some Chex cereal.  He was not on board with that plan.  He insisted that we find the dough for the crust.  After stopping at two other grocery stores, we found it!  Thank goodness!  Who knew that a simple pizza could send us on a Sunday evening scavenger hunt?! I was so hungry that just about anything would have tasted good by that point but, I was impressed with how it turned out. Chris even liked it!  

Here is a peek at our pizza….It is obvious that the kids weren't around. Look at the veggies!! 
Each week, I have to remind myself that this is a process, just like anything else.  My stomach feels better than I can remember it feeling in a very long time.  I have only had a few headaches. My brain fog seems to be less and less. It's the fatigue that continues to frustrate me.  In fact, I am growing a bit inpatient as I am a month into this and still feeling a total lack of energy.  I had really high hopes that within a couple of weeks, I would be re-energized! I actually catch myself daydreaming about running again!  Running and fitness happen to be another passion of mine and it is something that I have been missing like you can't even believe.  I have a goal for myself to gradually get myself back into it within the next week. Baby steps, my friends.  

I know that everyday may not be a great day but, each day will hold something great.  Sometimes we just need to look a little deeper to find it.  Hope is something that I must hold onto with each day. I decided to look up the exact definition of the word, hope.  This is what I found...

Hope:  a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Yes!  I have hope and will continue to have it as I continue on this journey back to wellness and getting back to the girl that I once was and can be again.  Without hope, I have nothing.  

I was looking through some old photos and reminding myself of all that I have done and can achieve.  I thought that this one really shows what my life has been for the last year or so…. an uphill climb.  Just as in the picture, I didn't quit.  I climbed and conquered.  
I hope that you have a wonderful week.  My wish for you is that you, too, have hope in whatever you may be dealing with in your life.  I know that not all of us like being vulnerable and sharing with others what we may be going through in our lives.  Believe it or not, I am actually often one of those people myself.  I love writing and it is like therapy for my soul to share real life stuff.  I know that it requires me to put myself out there at times and allow my friends and family a look at what may be really going on in my life.  I try to make my blog as positive as possible.  That is why I always try my best to find the silver lining in things.  Life is, most definitely, not easy.  It is about the journey, rather than destination. It is often easier dealing with things when you share with others and you know they understand and support you.  Sometimes you may find that the other person is dealing with something similar or you may be able to help by supporting them in something completely unrelated.  We are all human and no matter how perfect we may try to portray our lives to be to the outside world, we are actually all quite alike in some ways.  Everyone can use an open ear, advice, a hug or just knowing that someone has got their back. No matter how tough someone may try to be, everyone wants to be loved and needs to be loved and cared about. It is human nature.  I don't care who you are or how you want to argue that, I think I am pretty accurate in that statement.  I think my brain fog has most definitely improved because I seem to be back to writing posts that are as long as a novel!!

Have a fabulous week!!  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday…Only 41 Days Until Spring!!

It's Thankful Thursday!! 

Today, I am thankful that Spring is only 41 days away!!  February has only just begun but, it feels like I'm living in a frozen tundra!  I am so OVER the snow that seems to be falling every single day!  I do, fully realize, that just because Spring arrives in 41 days, that the weather may still be cold and snowy… I would be happy to see 40 or 50 degrees! I am honestly counting down the days!  I am willing to bet that I am not the only one that is feeling this way.  Its beginning to feel like I'm in that movie, Groundhog Day…where Bill Murray wakes up to the same day over and over and over.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it? 

Besides for the warmer weather, green grass, and leaves on the trees, I am looking forward to Spring because I should be feeling much more like myself again.  A couple of months into my gluten-free life should allow my intestines to heal and my body will be able to once again absorb all the important nutrients that its been missing for all too long.  I know, for anybody else besides myself, this isn't all that exciting.  For me, it is HUGE!  Perhaps, even more exciting than this winter wonderland disappearing!!  

I have now been completely gluten-free for 10 days!  Some days are most definitely easier than others.  It is absolutely crazy how careful I need to be in avoiding it.  I am back to the reading of every single label on foods routine again.  Gone are the days of just trying a bite of something new that Emma may be snacking on after school.  Just as there will no longer be any sneaking a slice of deli meat as I prepare her sandwich for lunch.  Making a simple lunch for her to take to school, now requires washing my hands before and after I touch anything.  Who would have ever thought that I could feel sick from touching some bread and unconsciously touching my lips or snacking on some of my safe, gluten-free snacks, right after I touched the bread.  Cross contamination is ridiculous!  I know it will get a bit easier over time but, right now, I am completely paranoid! I'll share a perfect example on why I have this paranoia now…  

Last weekend, I was all excited to make some homemade caramel corn.  My recipe is completely gluten free!  I was excited to still be able to indulge myself, on occasion, on this addictive sweet treat. Well, as a newbie in this gluten-free life, I learned, literally, within minutes that cross contamination is a big deal!  Bigger than I could have imagined.  I used a silicone spatula that had been used on gluten filled foods, in the past and it was a mistake. As soon as the caramel corn came out of the oven, I had to try just a taste.  Not more than 5 minutes later, the stomach pains hit.  Just like I had known for as long as I can remember.  The ones that come and I hold my breath until it passes.  Not fun, my friends!  I guess it was good that I learned that lesson right off the bat!! I will not attempt to stray from the gluten-free diet intentionally. There is no food that I love enough to endure the stomach upset and pains again.  No thank you. 

I actually am feeling quite proud of myself and how I am handling it thus far.  It definitely takes planning at all times.  Last weekend, Chris and I and the kids were out running a few errands and lunchtime rolled around. We went to what once was a place I frequented, because its Mexican, of course.  Taco Boy.  Well, I was too afraid to eat anything because I wasn't confident that it was safe to eat.  Ugh!  I LOVE Mexican food!! After we went luging on Sunday, I wasn't able to have hot chocolate or coffee!  For the love!  I just keep reminding myself that I CAN DO THIS!!!

I did learn that I can eat plain baked potatoes, chili and frosty's at Wendy's.  Who would have thought?!  Needless to say, I have enjoyed this already.  Tonight, Emma was with her dad for dinner and I tried a freezer meal.  It was organic and gluten-free and actually tasted very good.  Check this out….tortilla casserole and black beans.  
I've learned quite a lot in one week.  I have had my face in a book much of the time that I am home with only myself.  My brain is actually almost overloaded with info about celiac disease and gluten.  I have even had nightmares about gluten because its been on my mind 24/7 these days.  So much information to soak up.  I look forward to meeting with the dietitian next week. Here is just a small sampling of the books that I have been reading….
Although my stomach is feeling much better since I have eliminated gluten from my life, I still can't wait until I wake up one day and have my energy back again.  That will be a most beautiful day in my future.  Until then, I will just remain positive that with each passing day, my body will continue to heal and I will slowly keep feeling better and start living more of my life.  As the diagnosis and life change are, at times, overwhelming, I am very thankful to know what it is and that as long as I eliminate gluten for the rest of my life, it is not something that is going to take me from this life before I was ready.  I am thankful that there are support groups, dietitians, countless books, family and friends to help and support me as I begin this change in my life.  

One last thing I learned this week…I can still eat Skittles and Butterfingers!  :)

What are you thankful for on this Thankful Thursday?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just Another Bump in the Road

WOW!  I haven't written on my blog in EIGHT months!  On one hand, I can't believe it. On the other, I know exactly why I haven't posted on the random happenings in my life. I have been happier than ever in this new season of my life.  My relationships with family and friends are great.  I'm still so very in love with Chris and am enjoying the life we share together.  

From a birds eye view, everything seems to be going well in my life. So, what, do you ask, is the hang up?  This, my friends, was a mystery to me as well. I have been feeling fatigue like I have never experienced in my life. I thought that perhaps my iron was low, as it had been in the past.  I also have had frequent headaches that at times would occur daily.  My stomach has been a mess for as long as I can remember but, has gotten worse over the last year.  My mind hasn't been clear as it always was, in fact, its been very foggy. My bones have ached and my body feels weak.  For months, I would get up each day with high hopes that I would feel better, like my old self again.  Rather than seeing any improvement, I kept feeling worse.  I was to the point in which, I felt I was going through the motions of my daily life.  I felt like I was existing, rather than living my life. Feeling this way was getting me down and discouraged.  

During the last several months, I have been to the doctor, had blood work done, done some of my own research and talked with people I knew. Finally, I asked to have the blood test that tested for a gluten issue.  I am no super sleuth but, my symptoms pointed directly to celiac disease.  A few days later, I received a call from my family doctor saying that my blood test showed antibodies for celiac and that they were referring me to a  gastroenterologist.  Two months later, which happened to be yesterday, I had my appointment with the specialist, only to find out that, yes, it was, without a doubt, celiac disease.  

It was such a relief to finally have an answer to the way that I had been feeling for such a long time.  I now have hope that starting a gluten-free life, will not only help to heal my body that had been suffering daily from the foods I had been eating for years, not knowing that they were literally poisoning my body but, to get my energy back and feel like the person I once knew. If any of you remember, I used to NEVER sit still.  I would ALWAYS be doing something from the moment I woke up until the moment that I dropped into bed at night.  I can't wait to be that "go,go, go" girl once again.  I can't wait to live and enjoy my life again and not just watch it pass me by from the sidelines.  I can't wait to not feel sick and lethargic.  I can hardly recall what it feels like to feel healthy!  

Today marks the beginning of my gluten-free life.  I have obviously not met with the dietitian yet, so I am trying to just figure this all out.  It is amazing how many things contain gluten!  So many of my favorites that I will never have again.  I can't focus on what I can't have again but, rather the healthy foods that will become part of my daily diet.  Just knowing that the gluten containing foods will cause my body pain and sickness, is enough for me to stay clear of any in the future.  This afternoon, I went on the local library website and reserved over a dozen books all about this new diet I'll be learning.  I want to know all of the good, bad and ugly.  I have been able to adjust my life and diet accordingly when I was diagnosed with diabetes.  This is just another bump in the road.  I know this may not always be easy, in fact, sometimes down right hard, but, I've got this.  

Although, it will take a couple of months before I begin to feel better, I hope that I have been able to give you just a look into celiac disease and what it can do to the body.  There are over 300 symptoms and everyone may experience it differently.  It is one of those diseases that goes greatly under diagnosed.  I, like many others, probably get so used to not feeling well, that it becomes normal for them.  It is NOT normal to go through life feeling like that.  I am so very glad that I didn't just decide that I was going to exist in my own life feeling horrible without figuring it out.  I have learned it time and time again….if you know something isn't quite right with your health, you are probably right that it isn't.  Every time I have felt that something was not normal with my health…I have been right.  Every. Single. Time.  

I am not at all here to  preach and tell you all to take care of yourselves.  Nor did I write this for any sympathy.  I wrote it more about awareness. If I helped only one person by writing this, it would be worth every minute I spent composing this post.  

I appreciate all of you that took the time to visit my blog again after my long absence again.  I thank you for not giving up hope that I would one day return to writing.  It is my hope that as my brain fog begins to lift, that I will be back at posting more frequently again.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yep...I'm Still Alive!!!

I'm back!! 

I know some of you may have wondered what happened to me.  Did I fall off the earth?  Did I run out of things to blog about? Did I quit blogging altogether?  Nope.  None of the above.  Quite honestly, I've just been traveling through life day by day just like each one of you are doing.  I will admit that there were many days that I told myself that I needed to sit down to blog but, obviously other things either took priority or I quite possibly was distracted by things in my life.  Today, was one of the few times that I was actually happy to see it rain!  Not only did it give my lawn a much needed drink but, it also excused me from picking those rotten weeds that seem to sprout as soon as I get them picked!  I thought it was a perfect day to sit down with my computer just like I used to do all the time, to get back to blogging and my love of writing.  A perfect day to feed my soul.  Those weeds will have to wait until the sun beckons me out there.

So, where do I even begin?  Over 8 months have passed since I've posted to this blog.  Well, so much has happened since September.  Some big things and some small.  Some super exciting happenings and some extremely boring too.  I've even learned lots of new things.  Who doesn't love to learn new things?!  

Rewind to the fall...Emma started fourth grade, which I'm sure I already mentioned.  She and I have settled into our routine at home together and her weekend travels to her dad's home in Indiana.  She is with her daddy three weekends each month, unless we have swapped a weekend for one reason or another. I know how important it is for her to have a relationship with her daddy and see him on these scheduled weekends but, after all this time, I still get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I hug her goodbye and she gets into the car and drives away with him.  It's almost as if someone ripped my arm off and threw it where I couldn't find it.  A big part of me is missing when my sweet girl isn't home.  
October brought a big change in my life.  I met the most wonderful guy that I ever could have imagined meeting.  I think that I may very well have fallen in love with him the first day that we met.  The moment our eyes met and I saw his great smile, I was done.  He had me. Our very first date was walking around downtown together as we checked out ArtPrize.  We had a fabulous time talking and laughing as we started to get to know each other.  I am pretty certain that I had a smile on my face the entire time!  I could not have asked for it to go more perfectly.  We've been together ever since that Friday afternoon, the fifth of October.  I have, never in my life, been happier.  We make a great team and have a wonderful partnership.  He has helped me with so many things.  And what is most special, is that he helps willingly and not begrudgingly. Chris is one of the most giving and caring people that I have ever known.  We gave Emma's room a makeover, my bathroom and the spare bedroom.  Fresh paint for each room!  Those were just a sample of all the things he's helped me to do.  Basically, we went through my entire house and organized everything and I got rid of more stuff that I even want to tell you that I had!  My home now feels fresh and organized just as I like it to be.  Thank you Chris, you are truly the best!  I love you with all my heart.  Thanks for coming into my life and making me realize how happy life can be and that I indeed could open my heart to love again.  I am more thankful for you each and every day.  
Let's see, what other random things happened in my life....

I had a blast learning how to snowboard in December, with Chris and his kids at Boyne Mountain. (Emma was with her dad so she was unable to go with us. She had her own private snowboarding lesson with Chris a few weeks later.) The not such fun part was breaking my wrist 2 1/2 hours into it!  I was sure that I was fine and didn't need to go to urgent care. I refused to go until the next afternoon. Chris finally, made me go and its a good thing that I did.  I had to wear a silly immobilizer on my wrist for 2 months.  Such a bummer! I was out for the season!  I can't wait for the next thing...learning to wake board!  Hopefully, I have better luck. If you've never broken bones before, I'll tell you to never take for granted things like brushing your teeth, showering and other daily activities that I struggled to do on my own.  If you know me at all, I hate asking for help with things.  This forced me to ask for help a little more than I was comfortable with doing. I still need to go to physical therapy because it still just isn't right. Does breaking my wrist get me off the hook a little bit for not writing?  

In my absence, I started liking baseball, following MSU basketball, and actually enjoying movies.  Its amazing how things take on a whole different perspective when you  are in good company and that the company you are in, enjoys you just as much.  I've done the obvious, dusted lots, cleaned toilets, sinks & showers. I've shopped Walmart many times and see someone in their pajamas every single time! I learned how to use a power sander. I've given and received lots and lots of hugs!  I've enjoyed walks with my girl. I've enjoyed heart to heart talks with Emma.  I somehow acquired an addiction to homemade caramel corn that I ate entirely too much of this winter.  I ran and exercised too little.  I have gained a few extra unwanted pounds. I've learned to hit the snooze button occasionally. I have laughed daily since I met Chris.  We laugh so hard together.  Emma and I have laughed daily until tears are running down my cheeks.  I've laughed with my family, Chris's kids, Chris's family, my friends and sometimes just at myself.  After not much laughter for years, it is such an amazing thing in my life to be able to laugh hysterically almost every day.  Laughter is another thing that feeds this girl's soul! I've met new friends, reconnected with old friends.  I've begun going to church once again.  I've been to concerts and 40th birthday parties at mega 80's night.  I've eaten lots of Mexican food and enjoyed a few margaritas. I had another birthday. I woke up to waffles in bed from Emma on Mother's Day and pedicures with my both my sweeties. I've enjoyed too many BBQ chicken flat bread sandwiches from Subway with a side of a white chocolate chip cookie.  It's truly not a wonder why I'm carrying several extra pounds on my body.  

I'm happy.  Happier than I have ever been .  The few extra pounds may bother me but, not as much as they once would have because my heart is filled.  I am blessed with such incredible people in my life.  If this were my last day on this earth, I would know that I was perfectly content and had no regrets.  

Thanks for stumbling back here to read my random happenings after my long disappearance.

Have a wonderful afternoon!