Reviewing Low Cost Supplement Shops: Swanson & Piping Rock

For those who purchase a regular supply of vitamins & herbals, I recently found a couple affordable sources to share with you.

For the record, I have no connection with these companies other than being a shopper. I simply wanted to write a review in case it could help others save money, as the cost of non-prescription “meds” can add up so quickly every month!

Amazon

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Amazon’s prices have been steadily increasing, while quality seems to be declining. That’s discouraging those of us who relied on Amazon’s prices to beat the cost of drug store supplements, and we’re turning to other sources once again. Amazon’s healthcare department has become so competitive that sellers can raise their prices, and they have! Because the sale of vitamins and herbal supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA like milk and eggs are, we place our trust in vitamin companies every time we purchase a health product. I dare to guess that we’ve all been disappointed from time to time in online supplement shopping.Amazon’s ease of use from home, good selection, access to comparable customer reviews, low price, and fast delivery has made it simple to stock up on necessities. (Let’s make these our quality standards for reviewing the below shops.)

Even if “old faithful” isn’t on their game, we still have to take our medicine. What’s a girl to do?

Initially, I found these shops when I was in search of the elusive Vitamin C at the start of Corona. Then, when Amazon stopped carrying my brand of Chlorophyll, I happily found it at the same site I found the Vitamin C. More recently, when researching a vegetarian D3, the result brought me to yet another discount vitamin store. I feel as though I’ve found 2 precious unicorns among a large sea of very expensive, high-end, specialty horses. I don’t need specialty supplements with a high price tag, fancy packaging and brand recognition. I just need the basics, consistently.

In the last year, I’ve ordered from these shops more than once, and have also communicated with their customer service. I’ve ordered my usual supplies, and have tried new items as well. Because of my experience, however brief, I hope it’s enough to give you a rundown of what you can expect.

Swanson Vitamins

Swanson has an expansive selection of supplements, and plenty of options to choose from. Every day they seem to be running a new sale, but the recurring sale I notice most often is the BOGO on their own house brand products.

Swanson has plenty of customer reviews to ponder, for those of us addicted to reading customer reviews before buying.

I learned that their own label, Swanson Epic Pro Full Spectrum Probiotics at $10/bottle was apparently such superior quality that when the bottle ran out, GNC’s associate read the label and told my caregiver that they didn’t have anything as good to replace it! I attempted to try the best GNC probiotic, but I will be continuing with Swanson’s Epic Pro for my gut’s needs.

On the other hand, Twenty-first Century is a brand of vitamins Swanson sells on their site, around only $3 per bottle. It’s one of the least expensive brands I found among the broad range of prices. I’m trying the Potassium, so it’s hard to tell one way or another, but it definitely doesn’t seem as potent as my last bottle of drug store brand Potassium. I haven’t gone back for more of their Twenty First Century brand.

Something new I found on Swanson that I’m very happy with is their Vitamin C with Rose Hips. Vitamin C has always caused me issues, no matter what brand. From stomach upset, heartburn, mouth sores, and that characteristic bright yellow urine, I tend to avoid taking it even though it’s supposed to be so good for those of us with CRPS.
At the start of Corona, when all the Vitamin C (and toilet paper) on the planet was sold out, Swanson’s C with Rose hips was the only vitamin C to be found. (Rose hips have naturally occurring Vitamin C which is why rose is such a common ingredient in skin care). Reluctantly, I picked up a bottle, certain that the rose would cause a bad reaction. It was inexpensive after all, so no harm done if it didn’t work out. That’s the supplements game we play after all! However, none of the nasty vitamin C effects occurred, and to my surprise, no reaction to the rose hips occurred either! I know it’s potent however, because I could tell a difference in my skin after taking it for a couple weeks.They also carry my life-saving, blood building supplement Chlorophyll, which is becoming harder to find in the brand I take at an affordable price. I was so thankful to find it!

To be honest, I have hit a few snags with my orders and shipments. I’m sure Covid is playing a role in this, but ordering hasn’t always gone as smoothly as one would expect, and the packages are slow to arrive. (I must admit, you do get spoiled by Amazon’s 2-day shipping.) Customer service’s email department seemed to be completely automated, likely thanks to Covid. They did rectify the issue promptly, however. From ordering to arrival, Swanson takes about one full week.

Swanson:

-Ease of website ✔

-Large selection✔

-Customer reviews ✔

-Low prices✔

-Fast delivery✖

-Customer Service ✖✔

-Quality✔✖ (just like anything, don’t go with the lowest priced brand and it will be fine)


Piping Rock

Piping Rock finishes just behind Swanson. Along with supplements, they also sell essential oils, natural hair & body products, and they have a sweet selection of snacks such as dried fruit and nuts.

Last week I ordered my first package of snacks from Piping Rock, and was so pleased at the large quantity for the cost! If I had purchased that amount of dried fruit from the grocery store, it would’ve cost me 3x more.

Looking through their offerings, they seem intent on keeping things simple and natural. It reminds me of my local herb shop, only it’s a web-shop.

In my snack pack, everything was great, however one of the products wasn’t what I expected based on their description. It was a sweetened dried fruit, and I wasn’t able to eat it.

The day after I left the review for the sweetened fruit on their website, an email appeared with a receipt for a full refund of the item I wasn’t satisfied with!
I was shocked.

They saw my review, and took the initiative to issue me a refund!

They certainly did not have to, but that single act of customer service will draw me back to shop at Piping Rock again, knowing they will take care of any problems I have.They have a smaller selection than either Amazon or Swanson, but they aren’t selling a variety of brands. Instead, Piping Rock lists their own in-house brand only.

I cross-checked my staple supplements between Piping Rock and Swanson, and the prices are about the same at both shops.

Just like Swanson, Piping Rock is also American owned and their headquarters are here. If Amazon’s international seller base is a concern for you, then you can rest easy knowing that Piping Rock and Swanson are both US operated. They both formulate their house-brand supplements at their own labs, and ship to customers from their own headquarters. (Neither ship outside the US, however. Sorry to my international friends.)

Apparently, Piping Rock’s owners also began the successful drug store supplement brand, Nature’s Bounty, which was a cool tid bit to unearth. I just stumbled on that little nugget today!

Their in-house vitamins boast to be on par with their original brand Nature’s Bounty, only more cost effective and accessible to just about anyone’s budget.

Here’s the breakdown for Piping Rock. In the instance of quality, there have been hits and misses, both in the supplement department as well as snacks which is why it’s reflected as 50/50. On the bright side, they will make sure you’re satisfied, and they have far more than just supplements.

Piping Rock:

-Ease of website ✔

-Large selection✖

-Customer reviews ✔

-Low prices✔

-Fast delivery✔

-Customer Service✔

-Quality✔✖

If you’re like me and have a supplement haul every month, then you look for savings wherever you can find it. If Swanson or Piping Rock have an equivalent swap out that costs you less, then that’s a win!

Swanson has a HUGE supply of supplements and herbals from a wide variety of brands, and Piping Rock has a prolific affordable Natural Health shop- which happens to include vitamins. If you like using natural shampoo, face cream, organic soap, cooking oils, etc., then definitely check out Piping Rock. I continue to do most of my supplement shopping on Swanson Vitamins for now.

I hope this helps you, and please let me know where you purchase your supplements!

If you’re interested to see what my full list of supplements and herbs are, and how they each help me, let me know by dropping a comment down below.

Be well!

-Mary

Rare Disease Day 2021 Feb 28

Why are people with Rare Disease called ZEBRAS?🦓

When doctors are in med school, they’re taught that when you hear the sound of hooves, it’s probably a horse.

That means, when a patient gives them a list of symptoms, and it sounds like a common condition, then it’s most likely that common condition.

HOWEVER, there are exceptions to that rule.

Sometimes the sound of hooves are actually zebras.

We as patients may present like we have one (or several common conditions), but can actually have a rare disease that’s difficult to spot, hard to diagnose, and even harder to treat.

We are called zebras, and in the Rare Disease world, zebras have MANY different color stripes.

🖤🤍💙❤💛💚💜🧡🎗✊

Renewal: morning prayers

~Renewal~

Every day I wake up with intrusive
thoughts. Almost as if they begin before I wake up. My brain wraps around them, like that terrible song you can’t stop singing. For the first few moments I wake up, I’m flooded with only pain and panic.

And every morning, I begin the day with prayers of thanksgiving. It’s my morning routine. On my way to the restroom, I begin.

As I pull my shrieking body out of bed and toward my walker, I’m not thankful. I don’t feel gratitude, I feel pain and contempt that my body forces me ten miles to the restroom every morning.

But, the act of gratitude requires nothing but the act itself.

Perfect, because I have nothing else to give. And with no flowery words, no fuzzy feeling, no memorized verse, I give my scrambled offering to my Maker.

From my always darkened apartment, a Sun rises…in me. Every morning.

The Sunlight melts away those frigid intrusions. Soft light falls onto new gratitude where only a moment ago, I could find nothing worthy of speaking thanks over.

From then, everything I do, from brushing my teeth, to eating my food, to taking my medications is an act of worship.

There is no small act of service. No offering too small.

Every gift wrapped with thanks to God that I’m physically able to do each task, that I have medication to take where in other areas of the world I would not, that I have food to eat, and ability to digest it.

All of this has been provided to me by His hand. I’m feeling the fullness of gratitude now, the peace, and mercy that I only begin to understand.

If you feel down and useless today: Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain

If you’ve been glued to your couch or imprisoned in your bed because of chronic disease or intractable pain…then you may feel trapped, hopeless, even useless. Are you getting tired of staring at the same 4 walls and know that you’ve been made for more?

Whatever you’re feeling right now, your feelings are completely valid given everything you’re going through. Whether you’re feeling depressed or hopeless, frustrated at doctors, even angry at God, all of those feelings are understandable and very difficult emotions to process.

You’ve lost so much in the battle with your health. It’s okay to grieve over your life, and grieve the loss of your health. You built a good life, and the threat of physical invasion is more mentally overwhelming than anyone around you could possibly realize. You didn’t choose this battle, but you’re in it nonetheless.

It’s important to give yourself permission to mourn the things you’re losing. That’s what people mean when they say “be kind to yourself” or “give yourself a break.” Self compassion isn’t the same as self pity. In fact, self loathing begins to dissipate when self compassion enters the picture. If you would show love and tenderness to your daughter or grandmother in your situation, then do the same for yourself. You’re worthy of that care. Dig deep and find understanding and patience for yourself (even if other people around you haven’t).

When we say chronic illness is a “battle,” that’s part of it. Being a warrior is choosing to treat your body with patience instead of anger- even though you may not feel your body deserves your understanding for how it has betrayed you. Being a warrior is giving yourself dignity simply because you’re human, and worthy of it no matter your health or ability status. Being a warrior is staying in this game of life, even when leaving feels like your only option. Of course, battling chronic illness refers to the rigors of healthcare and living through the “hell” in health, but it also refers to giving understanding to the people who don’t understand us in return.

Then, consider finding something constructive to do from exactly where you are. Whether that’s offering to moderate in your favorite online support group, or taking a free web course for something enjoyable (see Domestika.org), getting involved in a weekly Bible study online with a friend (see YouVersion app plans), an online book club over zoom, or getting into a new hobby that you can do laying down.

I know your brain is pushing back with all the reasons you can’t do it, and may already be making you feel that it’s a pointless cause, etc. That’s the same part of your brain that likes to tell you that you’re lazy, and says that no one actually cares about you– it’s just not true, my friend. You’re not lazy, you’re ill. People do care, but they may not know exactly what you need right now. That ugly little gremlin in our brains is a straight up liar.

Just find one new thing, and try it out temporarily. You don’t know where it will lead, who it will impact, and how one small change will help you in the long run.

Your job never defined you in the first place. You are still you and you are still on your journey ❤

You are loved. You are not alone. Please take good care of yourself,

Mary

***

Join us at the disabled art share group Chronically Inspired on Facebook where we share our adapted projects, and encourage each other to get back into doing the things we once loved.

2020 Gift Guide for Chronic Illness and Disabilities

Happy Holidays! I hope this finds you feeling well and looking forward to many healthy tomorrows 🧡


That’s a common greeting between those of us in the chronic illness community, but after the year the world has experienced, I’m happy to share the same well wishes with every single one of you, with a chronic disease and without.

If you’re shopping for a loved one with a chronic illness this year, long-term illness, or disability, you may feel unsure of their needs, wants and unique daily circumstances. Here are a variety of gift ideas at every price point, with images and links to help you find the perfect gift for your loved one.

These suggestions are appropriate for someone who is mostly confined to their home or uses a walking aid, if applicable. Here are several gift ideas along with advice to help you shop!

*Content is NOT SPONSORED. No affiliate links. These are my unpaid personal opinions and mini reviews, as well as suggestions from our amazing readers.

*Updated for 2020

*Most items are available to be delivered by Christmas

*If you prefer not to read this article in its entirety, then find all gift suggestions are highlighted in blue.

*Also see:

100 Spoonie Gifts: pinterest board


Find_Prime._CB331800185_

Internet Subscriptions

Streaming video allows your chronic friend to watch movies and television series’ any time, instantly, from anywhere. Especially on those bad days when doing nothing but resting is the best and only option. Distraction therapy like settling in to watch movies and television is the gift of entertainment which they will certainly thank you for. Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus are a few of the most popular video streaming services, and they all cost around $100-$125 per year.

Amazon Prime and Hulu plus subscriptions also allow you access to their new Watch Party features, which allow you to stream movies simultaneously with your friends!

The Amazon Prime subscription also allows access to a wide variety of ebooks, and music, alongside the streaming video service. Amazon Prime’s included 2-day shipping feature is a blessing for anyone who has trouble getting out to the shops. Now that Covid-19 demands that high risk individuals like us stay indoors, Amazon’s fast online delivery is a convenient alternative. In certain areas, Amazon has rolled out Fresh, a grocery delivery service which is a fabulous gift option.

Audible is another of Amazon’s subscription services, and quite a thoughtful gift. If your loved one is like so many of us with chronic illnesses, then reading books becomes a tricky task due to blurry eyes, migraine headaches, brain fog, memory decline, trouble concentrating due to pain, etc. Audio books can make reading enjoyable once again. Actually, Audible is also on my Christmas list!

Read the rest of this entry

Kindness Day: In remembrance of Ellie #AutoimmuneDisease #JuvenileArthritis

🌼Kindness Day🌼

Eight year old Ellie Pruitt passed away suddenly this past February from complications of the autoimmune disease, Juvenile Arthritis.

Though Ellie was only 8 years old, her impact has been incalculable. In her short life, she helped raise thousands of dollars and broadened awareness for the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation through her family’s fundraisers at her elementary school in the Atlanta area.

Just after her tragic passing, Ellie’s “Kindness List” went viral, reaching all around the state of Georgia, as shops and restaurants changed their marquee signs in remembrance, elementary schools and churches honored her memory, along with social media and news outlets all sharing her message to “Have Fun & Love Always.”

This past Tuesday, to celebrate what would have been Ellie’s 9th birthday, October 20th, 2020, was named, “Kindness Day” by her town. To observe this special holiday, we wore her favorite color, yellow and celebrated her birthday by doing intentional acts of kindness.💛

Many on social media changed their profile pictures to yellow, while others shared kindness-centered memes, hashtagging their posts with #ElliesDay.

One woman cashed in her spare coins to leave a generous tip for her waitress on Tuesday. Another woman handed out gift cards to children for ice cream- YUM! And another young lady shared a photo of herself at a blood bank, donating in Ellie’s honor!

Legacy Ridge Assisted Living in Woodstock, GA organized a special balloon release to commemorate Kindness Day. Even though Covid19 prevents the residents from seeing their loved ones inside the facility, quarantine didn’t stop them from enjoying the beautiful fall day! They look lovely posing with their yellow smiling balloons. One resident loved Ellie’s list so much, she pledged to abide by the 5th rule: “Love Always.”

Legacy Ridge Assisted Living at Neece Road

There were many more noteworthy acts to mention, but the people who don’t have access to social media are the ones who truly did the most in remembrance of #ElliesDay…the kids! Hundreds of kids from all around the area rocked their yellow, and quietly acted on intentional kindnesses to help others and give to their fellow students, teachers and family members in celebration of Ellie Pruitt’s heavenly birthday.

I dare say that the youngest participants will be the most influenced by this event, learning the values of love and kindness, to carry with them throughout their lives.

At the end of the day, Ellie’s family shared a post on social media to thank everyone who participated in the celebration of their late daughter’s birthday. They were clearly touched by how many individuals and businesses participated.

The below message was shared by Ellie’s mother, Heather Pruitt:

“I am blown away by what a huge success #Elliesday was. I started the day trying to keep a list of all the acts of kindness that I was hearing about but by about 8 am I had already lost track! I know that Ellie was smiling down on each one of these kind acts throughout the day and had the best birthday ever partying with Jesus! Thank you to everyone for making this a day for us to look forward to and not be afraid of. It was full of all kinds of emotions but we certainly felt all the love!💛”

Ellie’s Kindness List

This is Ellie’s loving, living legacy which she left with us to remind us all how we should treat one another.

Thank you, dear Ellie💛 We all need this reminder right now!💛

#KindnessDay #AlwaysLove #ElliesDay

More info below:

Kindness Matters image

AJC- Ellie’s List

Arthritis.org Ellie Pruitt

AutoimmuneWarrior.org- Ellie Priutt

In a time of Crisis…. Managing stress during covid19


Art bt Ruben Irelandartwork by Ruben Ireland

In the past, I’ve written on rare disease and adjusting to life after becoming homebound. As the world learns to cope with the reality of life at home, threatened by a terrifying virus, and concerned for what the future has in store, this is the only topic I’m compelled to write about today.

While we live under the shadow of Covid19, how are you handling the images in the media? How are you coping with social distancing, and isolation? Have any of your family or friends tested positive?

Here we’ll be discussing some of the feelings that come along with heightened stress, and why it can make our lives seem out of control.

In a crisis, the natural reaction is to feel shocked, upset, overwhelmed, concerned, confused, sorrowful, and/or physically agitated. If these feelings sound familiar to you, then take some small comfort in knowing that you’re reacting like a healthy, normal human being.

Though these feelings can be physically and emotionally difficult, they are completely understandable under the given circumstances.
On the flip side, if you were living without a care in the world, then one might wonder if you understood the gravity of the situation. Staying in denial might feel better temporarily, but it can lead you to take dangerous risks for yourself and your family. Failing to grasp the seriousness of our situation may lead you to go as far as spreading misinformation or even the virus itself.


Concern serves a purpose and it’s the appropriate reaction for survival. Concern can be a very useful emotion, and keeps you more alerted to possible dangers.

We generally try to avoid or ignore our concerns and feelings of stress, but in a crisis situation, remember that feelings of anxiety are there to serve a purpose. It’s perfectly understandable to be worried for your loved ones. It shows a heart of compassion; it can drive you to check on the people you care for, to listen to local authorities, and to go the extra mile to keep your family safe.

Everyone is sorting through their own unique life circumstances due to the “Stay at Home” orders. If your regular routine has been interrupted by the quarantine, then you’re even more likely to feel the pressure. When you lose control over your plans, you can begin feeling as though life has become chaotic, and you’re helpless to change it.

Losing your workday and regular routine can also cause confusion, feeling a loss of accomplishment, lack of motivation,  and feeling a sense of uselessness. Being alone with your thoughts in isolation all day removes your typical daily distractions which can make stress seem even more pronounced!

These are distressing times, and the images in the news can play up our worst fears. It’s the media’s job to capitalize on the most distressing images and stories- the ones that grab our attention, and get our adrenaline pumping. I would caution anyone from watching too much broadcast news. Especially if you’re home with access to the news all day; it’s guaranteed to pump the volume up on your stress. The same goes for unsubstantiated conspiracy posts on social media which are meant to tap into your deepest fears.

In the moments when anxious thoughts flood your mind, logic won’t always prevail. Your survival instincts can begin to override. During periods of crisis and high stress, you may find yourself in “Survival Mode” (Fight-or-Flight).

If so, you might be experiencing: nervousness, sleeplessness, bursts of adrenaline, agitation, excessive loneliness, intrusive thoughts, racing mind, mood swings, sudden bouts of exhaustion, and confusion.


In survival mode, we instinctively want to fix things. We feel the need to actively find solutions, which is a great motivator, however, it can also lead to feeling helpless if we don’t have ways to exercise these desires. Feeling helpless combined with high stress and isolation can be a slippery slope to feelings of worthlessness. If you have a family member with a history of depression, try to check in with them during this time, and let them know how much they mean to you ❤


You may not be able to find a cure for Covid19 or go back into work yet, but using your energy to do a hands-on project at home will help you get a better sense of control, and therein begins your new routine.
Building a new routine at home will help you feel more in control. Building a routine can be as simple as getting up at the same time each day, making breakfast, and limiting your screen time.

On that note, I would encourage you to avoid the common terms “positive” and “negative” emotions, and instead give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling. Specifically, labeling emotions as “negative” can make us feel as though sadness, loss, heartbreak, and frustration, are somehow forbidden. If we view our most challenging feelings as “negative,” it can unintentionally, cause a sense of shame or wrongdoing. Though some feelings are uncomfortable, they help us learn, grow and build character.
Acknowledging our full experience, however difficult, can also allow us to have more empathy and compassion for others.

Seasons of struggle have a way of making us feel alone inside of our pain. If it seems as though no one understands, if you’re feeling withdrawn, depressed and/or have a sense of doom, I would urge you to contact a counselor through an online therapy app. Please take good and gentle care of yourself! (You’re the only beautiful you that we will ever have.)

We should all try to reach out to our friends and family by video chat during this quarantine for some social interaction, get some fresh air, and find creative ways to connect with one another (safely) online.

If you’re staying at home, and observing social distancing, I thank you personally on behalf of my immunosuppressed self and all of us who are at higher risk. After almost 9 years, I understand that the idea of being confined to your home can at times sound like a prison- to be given boundaries you can’t cross. But this boundary is to keep you safe, to keep the virus out, not to make us feel trapped or alone.

This season will be over soon. For now, let’s make the most of this time and try to be the best versions of ourselves we can be in the face of hardship. Reach out, check on your elderly friends and those with disabilities and chronic illness, since they may have difficulty getting basics. Caregivers and delivery programs may not be serving them right now, so an offer to help might be appreciated.

Most of all, I want to remind you that you’re not alone. The entire world is going through this difficult time collectively.  Thank you for continuing to help your community by staying home, and remaining socially distant. It’s a sacrifice you’re making for the greater good!


Keeping our healthcare professionals, essential workers, and all those fighting this virus in our prayers and on our hearts. Also praying for the safety, health and healing of our brothers and sisters around the world. Let this be a time of community, understanding, and finding more gratitude with every passing day. We hand over our fears and uncertainties, trust the future to you, and plant our feet in your eternal hope. Amen.
God be with you.

Thank you for reading. Take good care, and stay well. -Mary


More resources:

How to manage anxiety in a changing world

10 ways to deal with big changes

25 ways to volunteer from home

My Caregiver Left

Yesterday was my nurse/caregiver’s last day. She’s moving out of state, and is beginning her new life in semi retirement. I’m a bit anxious to find someone to fill her very large shoes, but truly excited for her and her new journey ahead. She has more than earned it after a lifetime of looking after people.

She began her nursing career by working in every single unit in the hospital, but in more recent years, she’s done the highly specialized job of a home healthcare worker. She will take on a patient if her church has been contacted with a special need in the community, but more often, she works in home hospice care. She has a calling for it.

You wouldn’t believe the stories she has told me over the last 2 years!

Like the one about the old man who she realized was in his final moments, so she ran upstairs to get his wife. She encouraged his wife to crawl into the bed with him, and tell him everything she wanted to say to him. His last breath was taken in the arms of the woman he spent his life with, as she whispered her love into his ear.

Another story is the not-so-old man who was fighting so hard to hang on. Finally, she asked his family to gather around his bed and tell him out loud that they were all there, and one by one they told him how much they each loved him. He hadn’t been conscious for some time, but he must have heard them because he let go that night, surrounded by his family.

(She says sometimes at the end, people wait to hear from a particular loved one before they can let go.)

Or the one about the woman who was rushed into the ER after a terrible car accident. Later, she was finally stabilized and unconscious when my nurse was cleaning her up.

Then suddenly the woman sat straight up, with her eyes looking wide in front of her, and said out loud,Jesus, you’re here!”

Then she fell backward and flat lined.

This is how I see her. There are nurses and birthing coaches whose job is to help give birth to babies, but on the opposite end of life, she is there to help ease terminal individuals out of this world in their own natural time. Kind of beautiful, isn’t it?

She played a very different role in my life, however. She came in to assist me with errands and personal hygeine tasks. For me, it eases some of the stress on me and on my relationships to have a professional who I feel comfortable asking for personal assistance, as well as for the additional things I wouldn’t be inclined to burden someone else with. For example, if I’m feeling nauseous, on a rare occasion, I might ask her for a cup of herbal tea. I wouldn’t ever bother someone else to make me hot tea (literally never), but yesterday, the tea kept me from having to take my anti-nausea medications which sedate me, and it enabled me to eat something.

It might be a small favor from her perspective, but it’s a luxury most people in my position simply do without. I tend to ask for necessities like food, drink, and clothing, and have learned to let most other extras fall to the wayside. If you have someone in your life, whether it’s a spouse, parent, friend, or professional carer who is happy to do the extras on occasion, then you know how special those people are, and how much they care.

I can’t tell you how positive it is for a person’s mental health and well being to be given some options and control back… especially if they’ve had many of their personal freedoms taken, such as by disability or illness.

When she came into my life as a part time carer/helper, she understood what it’s like to be in that “in-between” stage after a divorce, and she also had the benefit of knowing me as a healthy headstrong teenager. When I told her my secret– that I was hoping to move into a nearby apartment/ shared house, she was one of the few people who responded with excitement!

Amazingly, she didn’t ask if I was able, instead she saw it as a matter of making it possible. And then she helped me make it possible!

Together, we spent this entire last year planning, packing, moving, and then finding the right assistive devices to make the apartment accessible and safe. She was far from the only one, of course, but her belief and encouragement have been an incredible driving force and confidence builder.

This year has been such a positive growing time. I’m very glad that I took the leap toward independence, regardless of the obstacles. Looking back on the last 2 years with her, I believe that her timing in my life has been purposeful.

I’m going to miss her friendship the most, but as her friend, I’m so happy she’s having her own big life adventure. Maybe it’s silly but any sadness is being drowned out by the excitement I feel for her.

Now I’m praying for someone new- the right someone to come and lend me a gentle hand.

It can be a daunting prospect, but I’m choosing to trust that whoever it is will be the right person once again.

Thank you for visiting.

Take good and gentle care of yourself,

💙Mary🦋

The Woman in Room Number 3: poem by Karen Brown

The Woman in Room Number Three by Karen Brown

Jesus I asked, would You please make me well, so I can find a new place to dwell,

Could You please heal my body, show me the way, I’m willing to do whatever You say.

Jesus I asked, could I just use one arm, this alone would work like a charm
To give me a life with so much less strife.

Oh Jesus, I asked, could You help me today to realize Your power in a whole new way?

Then Jesus responded, He answered me sure, showing me something I’d not seen before…
“My child I love you more than you know, and I’ve called you to be where no one will go,
In a place where I want My presence to show;
You see when you gave Me your life on that wonderful day,
I already had you walking the way that would reach those people who I wanted to touch;
How else will they know that I love them so much?

So smile your smile,
let them see My Life,
shown glowing in the midst of your strife;
And Oh My Child, you will very soon see, that you’ll be dancing with Me… for eternity.”

Thank you so much for giving your permission to share, author Karen Brown, and a special thank you to Nancy Belz.

Apologies to my readers

Dear loyal readers of abodyofhope blog,

Yesterday morning I was notified of a spike in the page’s stats.

Nice, right? Wrong.

I later found out that several of my unfinished drafts were published to the live page without my knowledge.

If you follow abodyofhope and received several email updates yesterday, those articles were totally rogue works that I never intended to publish.

I want you to know firstly that your emails are secure. You recieved the automated emails only because my blog was updated. They are programmed by WordPress, and nothing there was compromised.

I’m still unsure how my blog’s interface was disturbed, however. Was it a glitch or a hack?

In 5 years of managing this page, nothing like this has ever occurred (yes, that’s an anniversary! 😊🎉).

To be honest with you, I was mortified yesterday morning.

The unfinished drafts you read were basically pages from my diary. I have struggled to write with clarity for the last year, which has lead to fewer updates here on the page. I still write on a weekly basis with the hope of publishing to the blog, so I have accumulated quite an archive of drafts. Yesterday you had a peek into about 7 of my attempts.

I shared a post regarding the incident on Facebook. To my surprise, I was met with several messages from regular readers who were so generous and encouraging.

They reminded me that I can trust you all. I can share my heart here even if it comes in a rough or raw package because you are interacting openly with me and with these stories– not sitting in judgment of me from a distance.

From what I gather, you enjoyed the articles, and someone said the content even helped them in some way.

Whether you read the leaked pieces or not, I want to thank you for following, for inspiring me with your stories and with your comments over the years, and for being thoughtful loyal readers whom I can trust with even the most sensitive topics. Will you please forgive me for the lack of writing? I will update you soon with all the new things I have been working on.

Once again, thank you so much for reading and take good care,

Mary

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