Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: PAIN

I can see you now, rolling your eyes and wondering, how can she be thankful for pain……  Is it possible anything good can come from a life with pain?

Whether you live with pain as a result of a chronic illness, addiction, or a physical/mental reason, are you still able to smile?  Is it possible to find happiness after a disease has stolen a career, ended friendships, stolen memories and some days even confined me to the house?   Is it really possible to not fall apart?

I lived through the pain of addiction, relapse and recovery,  I have lived with the pain of MS.  Some would say I do it by living in denial or in some sort of fantasy world I’ve made up in my own head where everything is unicorns and rainbows.  The pain I feel most days is not physical (although I wish it was) it is emotional.  Is it possible for someone to fight addiction, secondary progressive MS and still find purpose in life? Can someone whose life has been striped away; have moments, if not days, of tears; live in confusion not remembering things, continual fatigue and weakness yet find themselves not cursing the world, their disease and everyone or anything?

Is it truly possible to be thankful for a life with pain?

The truth is, pain has helped me to grow as a person.  It has helped me to see “joy” is possible.  I will admit entering into recovery the first and then again after a relapse, the pain seemed immense.  There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Then hit with the diagnosis of MS after 4+ years of testing, the emotional roller coaster started again.

I wouldn’t know the treasure a smile could bring if I didn’t know the misery of pain. I wouldn’t know the simple pleasures of sitting outside enjoying the weather.  I wouldn’t understand the value of time spent with those I love.  I wouldn’t hold dear those moments of peace I experience if I had never lived through days of chaos and disorder. I wouldn’t appreciate the little things in life, often passed by as nonsense or unimportant by most people if I hadn’t been in a place where those things were all that kept me going.

When the pain is great enough, I am ready to practice gratitude and do some work on me.  In recovery, I know the pain is great as a result of those inner gremlins who keep rearing their ugly heads.  I may have lost LOTS of memories but those inner gremlins sure know when to jump up and make me feel even worse.  I don’t know what the next moment in my life or tomorrow will bring. I don’t know if today will end in tears or laughter. I don’t know if I will have enough strength to fight my way through. I don’t know if my hands or legs will fail me when I need them the most. There are a lot of things I simply don’t know.

There are two things I do know………#1 Using is not an option whether it is a drink or a drug or endless shopping or binge eating.  Going back to doing the things which lead me to more pain and heartache is not an option.  #2 MS will not define me. I used to be brave. I used to be a tower of strength for those around me.  I used to be a mighty warrior. But now…now I’m a warrior with weak ankles, fading memories, and tears in my eyes.

Some days I don’t know if the emotional pain is a result of the relapse or because of the MS.  The two get so jumbled together.  I said for many years, the loose of memories was a result of my addiction when the truth is, it was probably the start of my MS.  The pain of not being able to remain is greater than any physical pain I could ever feel.  Not remembering my childhood is one thing – I mean I’m getting old, right? But when you can’t remember the day your daughter was born, when pictures don’t tigger memories, when you dan’t remember your wedding day which was only 8 years ago…..the emotional pain is great.  Relying on others for their memories of particular events is tough – it is their perspective and not my own.

MS has stripped me of the person I once was.  Addiction, relapse and recovery has shown me glimmers of the me I could become or used to be. I know it sounds weird since I don’t have many memories BUT if I can feel good about me then it is a good day.  Today,  I put my foot down and refuse to sink amidst the swirling tumultuous seas pushing against me. I refuse to quit. I refuse to give up.

Today, the battle I am facing begins in my mind. I am reminding myself and you, I am more than MS (or whatever you are dealing with).  We are more than the pain. We are more than the loneliness, the struggles and the fears. We are true warriors! People may never understand the battles we face (although in recovery there are others who thankfully get us) or see the internal struggles taking place in our lives, we stay in the fight…weak, but grateful for one more day.

Wear your badge of honor, bravery and courage proudly today. Hold your head high. You are a hero…a gutsy, courageous, mighty warrior! You are strong enough. You are brave enough. You are tough enough.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  – John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

wERA4ybWWc6eW6phrckP8CBe3W5wG8seBzQdA87T6tacfepC_4_600.jpgCreate a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Unclutter Your Life

Difficult or Burdensome?

Letting Go…. not something most of us do easily.  This time of year is filled with so many things – work, holiday shopping, visiting family/ friends, cooking, baking, wrapping presents, decorating, cleaning… What if you could LET GO of just one or two of those things?

I start MS injections tomorrow (at least give them a try), I am finding there are things I need to let go of.  Some things may fe letting go for a season, while others are for good.  I have to embrace my journey and NOT get wrapped up in the picture of the “perfect XXX” (fill in the blank).

I was struggling this morning trying to decide about an upcoming leadership training – should/could I travel, what would people think if I don’t go or does it mean I don’t care about my business if I don’t go – the comparison game inner gremlins were hard at work – actually working overtime.  This scripture popped up.  I’ve seen it many times but for some reason, today the words took on new meaning:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Maybe you are working on a project (business, job, etc), and to be blunt, you dread it.  It isn’t hard and someone else might love it BUT you don’t.  Maybe it isn’t purposeful.  Maybe is won’t lead to a better opportunity.  Maybe it is sucking up a lot of time you could better spend elsewhere.  The worst is, it  doesn’t use your strengths well. Bottom line – it has become a burden.  I have heard this lately from consultants in direct sales.  Their passion has turned to only an occasional spark and it has become more work than anything else. They are sticking with the business because of fear, need for an income, a big following… the list goes on AND none of the reasons include a passion for the work they are doing.

I know direct sales (or any job) can be “difficult”.  There are peaks and valleys in everything but when something becomes “burdensome” it may be time to let it go.  Here are the key distinctions between activities which are difficult versus ones which are burdensome:

1. You’re working hard and you’re tired, but deep down, you’re energized by the work.

When something is difficult, but you are energized by it, it can be a sign you are right in the midst of your sweet spot. There is a certain gratification which comes with your purpose. You can give everything you have and yet still have the energy to keep going.

2. You feel stretched, but not broken.

Difficult tasks and situations stretch you. They empower you to learn and grow and become more of the person you are meant to be. Growth, by its very definition, expands you into a bigger version of yourself.

3. You are at peace even in the midst of the chaos.

There are seasons of life which are very difficult and even chaotic. You look forward to getting through them, even when you feel uniquely equipped to handle them. Chaos can swirl around you and yet you are calm. You are at peace.

4. There is purpose in the pain.

Difficult tasks and situations lead to purpose. Burdensome ones distract you from your purpose. Difficult, but purposeful situations can transform you, give clarity, strengthen relationships, and mature you so you are better prepared for the future. They lead you towards your purpose.

5. It is worth the effort.

Difficult tasks and situations are purposeful. Burdensome ones are not. If you can see by persevering, the reward will be worth it, stick with it. Difficulties are about making sacrifices for a greater purpose.

So, which situations in your life are burdensome and which ones are difficult?  Will you make a change, removing the burden or persevere through a difficult time?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Time Management

Kitchen Chaos to Calm

 

It is the holiday time of year which means lots of parties, family gatherings, and holiday events.  Spending time with the people we love – family and extended family.

Growing up, my mom  was the ultimate “hostess with the mostest.”  Our house was always a gathering place.

I was always amazed at how well things came together.  She planned the meal, the decorations and made sure everything came together in an attractive range of colors. When she said, “dinner will be served at 5:00 PM,” dinner was served at 5:00 PM, give or take ten seconds. Hot foods hot, cold foods cold. She always seemed to pull it all off effortlessly, never breaking a sweat or allowing anyone in the kitchen to help.  Okay, maybe a little help but not much.

I didn’t inherit this gene.  There have been periods in my life when things may have come together but then there were those times when I was just moments from a melt-down. And by the time my guests arrived, the last thing I wanted to do was eat. All I wanted to do was hide in my bedroom until they were gone!  I can even remember cooking my first turkey and forgetting to take out the “bag with the gizzards and stuff out”.  Yup, we found it when we cut the turkey.  I was horrified!

 

Do you get caught up in kitchen chaos when you’re trying to practice hospitality?  Do gatherings make you excited, nervous and down right sick?  Here are five steps to create kitchen calm I found in a recent blog:

1. Take breaks

Breaks are vital to self-soothing when chaos starts creeping in.  They aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity.  Taking a break simply means getting out of the kitchen for a few minutes and …

…sitting in a favorite chair with a good book.
…reclining on the couch (with or without a purring cat!)
…listening to quiet (or upbeat) music.
…taking a brisk walk.
…whatever else works for you!

The goal is a mind set change. Think of it as “cleansing the palate” of your head and heart before you move on to the next step of meal preparation.

2. Make a written plan

I have always written the menu and gotten all of the ingredients together.  My problem always seems to be I get them in the oven okay but then I end up with some dishes done too early while other still need to cook.  It took awhile but now I work backwards. I figure out how long each dish needs to bake, cook, set, or chill. Then I do the math to calculate when I need to begin.  Calculations are far more realistic than gut feels or guilt-filled “shoulds” will ever be. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can assure ourselves—It takes as much time as it takes.

3. Prepare ahead

Chaos always seemed to result when planning a gathering because I waited too long to start or didn’t allow anyone to help.  Now, part of my plan includes figuring out everything I can do ahead of time and what I can delegate.

House cleaning.  Not a strong point so I now start cleaning days prior and do strategic touch-ups on the day of.  Additional advance preparation includes:

  • buying pre-made ingredients rather than making everything home-made.
  • doing all the chopping, slicing, and dicing a day or two ahead.
  • taking the first step of a recipe (such as cooking the rice for a casserole) the night before.

Fixing a meal feels so much less daunting when everything is ready to “throw and go”!

4. Accept help

This was a hard lesson to learn.  I still struggle with shooing everyone out of the kitchen mainly because I never want to admit I need help.

Now, when someone says, “How can I help?” I refer to my plan and give them a specific answer.  “Could you peel and slice the carrots? ” “Would you put those rolls in the basket?”  “If you could pour the drink—it’s on the top shelf of the frig.”

5. Clean as you go

This is one is easy for me.  I quickly scrub and rinse everything in the sink and set it all in the dish drainer to air dry.  I use a towel as necessary and put everything back where it belongs.  It makes clean up so much easier and is a smart step toward sanity. Starting the next stage of meal preparation in a clean kitchen automatically creates a sense of calm.

So who is ready to host Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings?  What steps do you take calm kitchen chaos?  Thank you Cheri Gregory for sharing your tips.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Start Your Morning Right

imgres

Is this you first thing in the morning BEFORE your morning coffee?  I’ll admit, my hubby would probably say this is me despite my best efforts.

How-to-attract-at-the-start-of-the-day-400x209

Enter my morning coffee and I am ready to start the day.  Whether I am working my business or just trying to get errands and household chores done, I set an intention for the day.

I get into the right frame of mind.  I know you are saying BUT the kids need to get ready for school, hubby is hurrying for work and maybe even you are trying to get out the door to your JOB.  How is that possible, right?

The first step is to get up earlier than the rest of the family.  I hear the LOUD groan BUT if you are getting up the same time as everyone else, you will be reacting to everyone and everything.  Do you really thing that is the way to reach your goals – whatever they are?

Even 30 minutes earlier will make a HUGE difference.  Start small if that seems scary – say 15 minutes.  The sooner you start to send positive vibrations out into the world, the better the chance for it to build and work miracles.

Happy awakeningVisualizing

When you first open those eyes, are you already picturing a day of chaos and uncompleted tasks.  Why not try forming a mental picture about how you want your day to unravel. No matter what the task is, it is within your power to visualize everything happening successfully. When you imagine carrying out your tasks successfully, you will help to focus, and focusing on what you want leads to your positive results.

 Use Positive Words

When you talk to people first thing in the morning, do you use positive words or does Negative Nelly creep in?  If you ONLY allow yourself to use positive words, you will help in attracting positive results.  Instead of talking about how sick a child (or pet) is, why not say “I am taking them to the doctor so they can be healthy and happy”.  Choose to use your words to help you focus on a positive outcome instead of the potential pitfalls.

You always want to be open to receive greater abundance.

Mindful Dressing

This one, I never really thought about but it really does make a difference. The truth is that what you wear is important because the way you dress sends a message, not only to others, but also to the universe. Have you ever noticed that on the days that you feel great in your clothes, you feel positive so you focus on the positive and you receive abundance.  It all links to releasing your mind from clutter that so you can bask in the confidence that you exude because you feel good about your outfit.   Confidence raises your vibration and makes attraction effortless.

Woman doing yoga.

When you clearly focus on envisioning what you want in your mind, you will add success in life. Add dressing powerfully to clear away negativity and leave a clear path for your intentions to materialize. Using positive words when you speak will keep positive vibrations flowing and make attracting what you dream seamless.

Are you ready to attract the abundance that you so richly deserve?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!