Category Archives: HappyNewYear

Party Etiquette for a Sassy Spoonie/ Missed Manners

Living with constant chronic pain or chronic illness is no party, but you may have been invited to a few this holiday season. Here are some ideas and tips to help you make it through the festivities as we approach the new year.

Original Painting of Glamorous Woman by Kim Legler on Etsy | Party Etiquette for the Sassy Spoonie

Glamorous Woman | Kim Legler

1. No Cocktails
I know, I know, at your next party, you may be thinking:
“Ughh, why did I come? How do I even get comfortable in this chair? At least I’m not squished on the couch. Did anyone notice that full body spasm? Oh great. And now my hands are shaking. Better put my drink down before I spill it. At least it isn’t red wine. Of course not, because wine is a trigger food and 8 of 10 of my medications don’t party well with alcohol.”

See, isn’t this fiesta turning out to be fun?! But don’t worry about the NO DRINKING POLICY. Your brain fog keeps you so fuzzy and clumsy on a regular basis that you’ll fit right in with your drunk buddies!

2. Polite Conversation
Look at all of those healthy attractive people around you playing ping pong with their witty dialogue. “Hmmm? What? Oh, no that’s not a fashion statement. That’s called a compression sock. Thank you so much for noticing. Yes, those are my favorite shoes…I guess. I know, I always wear them, don’t I? Ha, ha. You are so observant. You know, you should really go bird watching sometime- I hear that is a great hobby for people who enjoy staring.”

See, you can play this game of witt too. What a wonderful party!

3. Smile
When in doubt, smile.

Always keep them guessing. When your pain is on red alert and your brain is on complete shutdown, SMILE!
It tells people that they can relax and have a great time no matter how sick you are. You can always go to the ER later, tonight is for celebrating!

So flash those pearly whites and watch your friends dance, karaoke, tell work-related stories, and get jiggy. They’ll remember you being a sweet, saint-like creature, and little did they know you were just half-conscious from pain. Talk about a party trick!

Nope, parties just aren’t as fun as they used to be. And please don’t go around asking people what I USED to do at parties… (seriously, don’t). But it’s still great to get out and make memories whenever we are able. And when you are not able, know the party won’t be the same without you.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays!

This is one of my favorite pieces I published in 2014. A snarky spin on the old Emily Post / “Miss Manners” columns from the 1950’s.
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…With a little help from my friends

Happy New Year, everyone! I have now been blogging since August, 2014 and I’ve met so many amazing people along this writing road. These individuals have taught me, inspired me so many times and in special ways, and they have become my friends.

Friendship and community were something I least expected from blogging, a venture I assumed would be one of solitude, but it has shown to be incredibly interactive and instructing to me because of all of you. It has been much too long since I have thanked my fellow blogger friends appropriately, so I’m going to finally accept an award that was generously given many months ago. Please check out the blogs below and follow them. [Full disclosure] I don’t spend a great deal of time each day reading blogs, so trust me when I say that they are well worth your valuable time.

Earlier this year, the hot steamy Migraineur blogger at SexyAchyMoody.wordpress.com took a day off from giving advice on how to stay freaky and fabulous with chronic pain to award my blog with the Encouraging Thunder Award! Thanks girlfriend!

Encouraging Thunder is a spell that grants the gift of thunder and protection for bloggers so they can master their true purpose. It was created by Raymond, founder of encouraginglife.co.

[Cue foggy mist, no… not brain fog.]

And so, I now bestow the Gift of Thunder onto these wizards of the written word. May they be empowered to express themselves freely and truly, with magic of the pen… and the computer…and spellcheck…as their’s is the only voice like it in the world. 

FindingoutFibro: My best blogging buddy (BBB), Jess, is a young woman sharing her life with multiple debilitating chronic conditions. In this article, Distraction Therapy, also published with Axis Dance Company, Jess shares the free, creative methods she employs to help her cope with her disorders. Jess has a broad range of knowledge on many aspects of health she shares through her blog, and is a passionate advocate for ableism and women’s issues.

IamChronicallyWell: Also known as “Chronic Nicole” discusses Selena Gomez’s recent Lupus diagnosis, and how the media has treated her, in comparison to how most people with chronic illness feel when they are newly diagnosed in Celebrities are Just like us part 2. On a regular basis, Nicole practices tongue-and-cheek writing so well that she should have a disclosure for readers with weak bladder conditions. Just sayin…

TheGadAboutTown: Mark shares his research of culture, literature and history, seen through the lens of his own witty, charming perspective. It was difficult to decide which of his posts to share with you, as they are always excellent. In this post, For Your Eyes, he asks the timely and wise question, “how much of our lives should we expose to the public?”

LifeinSlowMotionBlog: Both a chronic pain patient and professional counselor, this blogger shares what pain is teaching her. She asks the kind of questions that keep us up at night, the ones that no one else around us understand, she asks and explores through a compassionate and spiritual heart. In this post, How to Find Online Support when you have Chronic Pain, she guides readers to the best places on the internet to find caring support groups.

JustPlainOlVic: Vic, is a true family man, a father, and a husband. But beneath the surface of “Plain ‘Ol Vic,” you learn he is carer to a wife with Bipolar Disorder and Chronic Pain. Each day in his journal-style blog, he shares his life balancing work, raising his children, and being the support he has vowed to be for his spouse. In this heartfelt post, he shares a life lesson his grandmother taught him, and how it applies to his life today. [If you are on the flip side of a carer like Vic, I urge you to follow his blog.]

LivingwithObstacles: My best online friend, Julie began blogging this past year just after a heart attack induced by the effects of her 16 year battle with CRPS/RSD changed her life, yet again. On her blog, she writes about family, teen addiction, motherhood, chronic pain, loss of career, and how to rebuild on broken ground. Julie is a true warrior, and she has fought and won more battles than Archie Moore (most career knockouts in boxing).

KathleenBurkinshaw: is a blogger, mother, wife, chronic pain patient, and soon-to-be author of her first book! Her posts are like cracks of her soul shining right through the screen into yours. In this beautiful piece back in March, Unconditionally, she shares the meaning of real unconditional love, after losing 2 close family members. Stay tuned for Kathleen’s writing career to skyrocket, and you can say, you knew her when…

SublimeMercies:  Charlotte Issyvoo makes a wheelchair and cane look downright en vogue! She is not only a chronic pain blogger, she photo-documents her vintage ensembles, is a passionate advocate for child abuse, and she shares her feelings on women’s rights among other topics she is always well-versed in. Here, in one of her latest posts, she shows us how to bring the best of 1970’s fashion to our wardrobe using pieces we already have. Move over Ferra!

TheSickDiva: One of my closest friends, Jenny, an RSD blogger, shares her struggles with chronic pain and the health system. No matter how severe her pain is, she leaves you with a message of hope, love of family, and keeping God first. Her latest post on her experience with the medication, Lyrica, will make you think differently about your own medications: How Vanity Saved Me.

Mary Jane Gonzales is a long time author and advocate in the chronic pain community. Find her on Facebook uplifting people in pain, sharing research, new blogs, poetry and hope for the weary on In the Blink of an Eye. Also, check out her brand new poetry share group, Poetic Hearts for a supportive community of creative writers and those who appreciate original poetry.

Escharae writes about her personal path through Multiple Sclerosis as a woman, student, and young passionate person working through the questions of life and illness all at once. On her page, you’ll find compelling videos of neuroscience advances, infographics of health related issues, and personal accounts of her own life. Find out more about how her journey with MS begins here on her MSanniversary blog post, and where it has brought her thus far.

 

To every single reader and fellow blogger who drops by, follows along on Bloglovin’, WordPress, Twitter, or by email, spends your very valuable time reading and showing your love, thank you so much! I feel truly humbled. Wishing you a happier, healthier new year ahead.

~Peace~ 

Merry Christmas, Vintage Style

Merry Christmas from abodyofhope

Tidings! Me and baby Santa (a.k.a. my little sister) wish you a warm, and full Christmas, and a 2016 that is brimming with answered prayers, opportunities to give to others, and so much energy that you won’t know what hit you!

Thank you all so much for reading, for leaving comments, for hitting like, for sharing, and for being supportive of this “physical therapy experiment.” Getting to know you has been a wonderful gift in 2015.


 

Chronic Illness Christmas

No matter what last year or years past have looked like… What traditions I may have cherished… Whether or not I still have the people in my life who have been precious to me in years past… And even if I can’t leave my bed again this year for the holidays… I won’t compare this holiday to others. I won’t allow all of the endings and losses to get into my head today. It’s the time to celebrate Christ’s birthday. Mary and Joseph didn’t need everything just so to have a celebration for His birth that night. The people who were supposed to be there for them had tossed them out the door when they most needed help. But new people showed up for them.

Actually, I am wrong. I keep saying, “I won’t” and “I’ve decided” but this has been a prayer for a while, for comfort to get through these holidays. So it isn’t my doing at all. I know that. And I can’t take the credit. It’s an answer to many cries to God. A Christmas miracle, if you will.

I pray now, for those alone and in pain, that you are comforted in your spirit this Christmas.  

~Peace~

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13

A Positive Message for your Lying Brain

Original art by Jezabel Rodrigo Yusta: "Negative self talk and making room for your true beauty" article #spoonie #depression #inspiration

Original art by Jezabel Rodrigo Yusta

“You are going to feel this way forever,” “you are only going to get worse,” ” you will never be able to do that,” “you are a burden.”
Who would say such horrible things to you? I’m guessing you do.

They begin as whispers in the back of our minds and they fester and shout for so long, we begin to accept them as our self-truths. But they are NOT truths, they are only our fears and our doubts. ONLY? Yes, they are not reality.

Depression, chronic pain, chronic illness, trauma, long periods of high stress: Leech out the positive chemicals from your brain and body. Those chemicals are responsible for the good thoughts and feelings which help balance our problems and our negative thoughts. Remember feeling like you used to be such a positive, upbeat person? It isn’t your fault that your mind is different. Your body chemistry and brain wiring is altered by your changing health. Your brain is no longer combating destructive whispers and banishing horrible images of yourself. It means you are filled with LIES. Your brain is sneaky lying liar who deceives you more than ever…so don’t believe her sales pitches!

After a while, the whispers turn to shouts and we begin to believe these negative messages like: No one cares, I am weak, I’m not good enough, etc. You would never say these things to a suffering loved one in pain, so why do you replay these messages over and over to yourself? It becomes habit. These lies take on a life of their own and before we know it, they make us feel powerless, hopeless, ashamed, guilty, and alone.

But we are not powerless! We can take control over our thoughts and change the tape that has been endlessly running. You can help restore balance to the stream of lies that have been on blast.

Replace the negative messages with positive mantras that are TRUE! No one deserves to be bullied constantly. Why not try showing yourself the same compassion you show others?  You could really use it right about now…

Become self-aware. Scout out the lies. Take them down!

When you realize you are tossing yourself a negative message, say “STOP” like snapping a rubber band on your wrist. Replace those lies with something positive and true, such as: “My life is a gift,” “I will do my best today,” “I am thankful for the love in my life.” 

Just as you now believe the negative self–talk which were once only tiny whispers, new positives can become your reality instead. Sometimes people say, “I choose happiness.” But it isn’t actually that easy. Seeking out gratitude is possible, however. And gratitude ushers more and more joy into our lives

My mantra for today: “I am a child of the Creator. Forgiven all things by His son. I am perfectly and wonderfully made, and there is no room in here for my negative noise while the Holy Spirit is trying to speak!”

Please share your positive mantras in comments. Blessings on your journey.

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“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson 

Original art by Jezabel Rodrigo Yusta: "Negative self talk and making room for your true beauty" article #spoonie #depression #inspiration

Inspirational artwork by Jezabel Rodrigo Yusta. See more original images of the artist’s here.

No Fear Campaign 2015

God has not given us a spirit of fear...2 Timothy 1:7 Just leaving a few last brain cells on the page…a couple cob webs to take down from the corners of 2014. A few drippy-drops to leave behind from the old year.

Something I really soaked in this past year was that God is passionate about calming our fears. I grew up in church, and actually, many pastors do a great job of instilling more fear into people instead of inspiring courage. The opposite of what the Bible reiterates. This isn’t a tirade on the way some churches use fire and brimstone to scare their congregation into submission, however. I am not against the church as a whole.

I grew up afraid of a lot of things. I won’t tell you all of the things I worried about and feared as a child; those fears were not my church’s fault. As a teen, I had anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. No one realized it, but my mind was spinning with worries and fears all the time (not unlike so many teens). Now that my chronic illness is at the point where I’m no longer able to go to church, I have found reading scriptures on my own and journaling about them has been an excellent learning experience.

I’ve stumbled upon so many verses throughout this past year regarding fear. PS, the Bible has a lot to say about not being afraid and having courage. The biggest realization for me is that most of these verses are not only discussing fear, God actually COMMANDS us not to be afraid. That’s pretty major, don’t you think? I think so.

I was going to do an entry listing verses like this, but someone told me there are 365 “Fear Nots” for every day of the year. After researching, God tells us not to be afraid of life and then gives us a different reason for each one 103 different times. But fear is discussed over 500 times throughout the Scriptures! God really wanted to send a message, don’t you think? You might be wondering: if He did not want us to fear, then why create us to be such scaredy cats in the first place? Well, He didn’t. The Bible says that we were not created with a spirit of fear or “timidity” but of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7)

However, He also knew ahead of time that His children would live in an increasingly frightening world. We would have so many terrifying prospects to face every day, so many things to worry about in the future, and we would be petrified when going through risky, unfamiliar circumstances. We are reminded to have faith and not to be distracted by all of the anxieties that fill our minds with doubt.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9

Three years ago my health and pain conditions got so much worse than I could have ever anticipated. I spent the first 7 years worrying about what the worst case scenario might be. I protected myself from so many things, hiding from potential threats to my “deteriorating” health- things that might make me worse which anxiety had cooked up in my mind. Yet I never could have foreseen what has happened to me; fear did not help me at all. And I’ve now been through worse than my fears ever prepared me for. Seriously, I’m SO over being afraid! 

God keeps reminding us to be courageous, commanding us not to fear, and instilling a sense of His own strength in us. In the coming year, throw some caution to the wind! Take risks. Worry less. Go on more adventures. Say YES more! Give more. We have a God who promises to be with us always and an awesome afterlife waiting…

Several of my friends deal with anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and are looking into the coming year with a feeling of doom brought on by fear bombarding their thoughts. So many I know are awaiting very scary test results that will determine all they will be dealing with in the coming year, and it feels impossible to shoulder. If you are living in a constant state of terror now that you have been diagnosed, or will be facing major surgery or multiple invasive procedures this year, I would like to leave you with a few verses to take with you which also are a comfort to me. He knew fear would be one of the most overwhelming and distracting emotions for us and wants us to live a good life, focused on things that can help ourselves and others grow, not live bogged down by stress and dread; otherwise, why would He have been on such an anti-fear campaign?

Have a Happy, Fearless New Year!

~Peace~

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Do not be afraid. I have set you free. I have called you by name. You are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:13

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 1 Peter 3:13-14

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

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“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”  Psalm 56:3

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”  Prov 31:25

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