Thursday – inspiration and star jars

Today is Thursday and that means a bit of inspiration for all who are trying to live with chronic conditions.

Luckily, between my many orthopedic operations and my chronic Lyme, I’ve been able to amass a large collection of things that help me remember how very lucky I really am.

This little 3 inch jar is one of my very favorite tools.

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A friend of mine sent it over after a particularly difficult knee surgery. Things hadn’t gone as expected and I was left in a lot of unrelenting pain.

“Here,” she said. “I saw this and thought of you.”

It was originally intended to be a wish jar. The instructions said to remove the 12 glass stars and then make a wish as you returned each star back to the jar.

Sometimes, when things are really tough, wishes are too difficult to think about. What was I going to say?

I wish I could run again?

I wish I could sleep without being woken up by my pain?

All of the wishes I could think of were only reminding me of what I *didn’t* have anymore.

So instead I turned it into a blessings jar. Several times a day I emptied the stars out and one by one I returned them to the jar with a statement of being grateful for what I had.

I’m grateful I can make it across the room without crutches.

I’m grateful for that 45 minute nap I was just able to take.

It’s all about taking your situation and approaching it from a different angle. It’s also about choosing to dwell on the positive instead of the negative.

Did it eliminate all of my negative thoughts? Not at all. Those still managed to poke through on occasion.

But did it help?

It did, it sure did.

You don’t need a tiny jar filled with stars, if you wanted to make one of these you could take a glass jar and fill it with pebbles.

Or you could just hold the star jar in your mind and when things get tough, count out your blessings, star by star.

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Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

Tuesday – The beauty of protein

Need a little protein boost in the morning?

After talking with a nutritionist who told me that *anyone* who is trying to manage a chronic illness needs to up their protein intake, especially in the morning, I’ve been trying hard to do just that.

I had read that when your body is fighting an illness (in this case Lyme and related co-infections) it breaks down protein when you sleep. If so, then giving your body a boost of protein in the morning, makes sense, you are upping your depleted supplies.

We all know that a body under stress breaks uses protein (which is why athletes are so enamored with protein drinks) it makes sense that a body fighting an infection or a disease would also have a need for a fair amount of protein.

And of course having chickens provides me with the perfect little protein package. Eat all the eggs you want, my nutritionist told me, provided they are “clean.” Note: what she means by “clean” eggs are those that are antibiotic and hormone free (enter our backyard flock.)

And so I will.

I like my eggs scrambled (I gag on “wet eggs”) and with lots of flavors added (I liken them to “messy omelets.”) Today’s eggs were scrambled with sauteed onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and a little bit of pepperoni for flavor (although I wonder how healthy pepperoni really is – I’m going to have to look into that, I’m sure some brands are better than others.) For added flavor and vegetable fat, I spooned an olive tapas on top.

Didn’t take long (in fact the step that took the longest was cleaning up.)

Yum. It’s a non-expensive meal (especially when you have your own chickens) that delivers a powerful punch of protein and good fats. Win-win.

 

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Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

Monday – “I know I can” and no weigh-in

I am going to climb that mountain.

Earlier this summer a friend of mine and I had decided that we were going to start climbing (hiking) some of the gorgeous mountains in our state of New Hampshire. Why not? We have tons of trails and you can’t beat the view.

The fact that we would be getting exercise was an added bonus. Continue reading “Monday – “I know I can” and no weigh-in”

Wednesday – exercise – you can do it

Motivation is so important to everyone, especially those who face challenges. I wrote this piece a few years ago after I completed a triathlon. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished and in the end, that’s what’s most important. Finishing a race means you didn’t quit.

Think of this the next time you think you can’t possible do something.

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Sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due.

Yesterday I participated in a sprint triathlon.

Let me just put it out there, it wasn’t pretty.

I wore a fat-kid-at-the-beach tee shirt during the swim, mostly because I didn’t have the right tri outfit. You’re just not going to find me in one of those hi-tech wet suits, I fear that once on, the darn thing would never come off. Continue reading “Wednesday – exercise – you can do it”

Tuesday – African stew (sort of) rollups

This may be the worst foodie photo ever. But the recipe (it’s not really a recipe, it’s more like a compilation) is too good for you not to know about.

I assure you this is tastier than it looks.
I assure you this is tastier than it looks.

There are some mornings that I just don’t have time to make any kind of a cooked breakfast. On those mornings (now that I’m adding meat for more protein) I make these protein roll-ups.

Couldn’t be easier, you take 3 slices of turkey, in the middle of the turkey spread a smear of almond (or cashew) butter. (You can sort of see it peeking out there.) I have read enough about mold and peanuts that I’m going to be staying away from peanut butter. On top of the nut butter spread a generous amount of salsa.

Roll up and eat those babies. Without exaggerating, if you eat 3 of these in the morning, you’ll be satisfied until lunch (of course I also drink a few cups of coffee with this.)

I came up with this combination because one of my favorite recipes (and I’ll have to dig it up) is called African Stew. It combines root vegetables and chickens in a tomato-peanut butter stew. (Of course if I make this again, I’ll change to another nut butter.) It is a fantastic, filling and stunningly delicious meal (if you want to die and go to heaven, add crusty bread to sop it all up with.)

If that combination is so yummy, then why wouldn’t salsa on a nut butter rolled up in turkey be equally as yummy?

The answer is that it is. Go ahead and give it a try. Let me know what you think.

 

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Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

Monday – spiralizer anyone?

We all know that we need to incorporate more vegetables into our diets.

I discovered something this weekend that is going to change my and my family’s lives.

A spiralizer.

Okay, I can hear you from here. What the heck is a spiralizer?

It’s a non-electric kitchen gadget that makes “spaghetti” out of vegetables. The one I got is called Vegetti Pro and despite the little red square on the box touting “As seen on TV” I decided to give it a try. It was on sale at a local outlet kitchen story for about $19 (marked down from about $24) – I figured how could I not try it, right? Continue reading “Monday – spiralizer anyone?”

Friday – week wrap-up

It’s Friday and the girls will be at the state swim meet – it goes for 3 days but because of their age group, they only have to be there today and tomorrow. That, of course means that I also have to be at the swim meet. It’s a lot of sitting and waiting until your event is called.

You’d do well to being a book (or two.)

Last night I put a call on Facebook asking for recommendations on comfortable folding chairs. I’m so tired of sitting in those cheap “butt hammock” chairs that dig into the back of my legs, eventually causing my legs to go numb. The arm handles always rip and basically, although lightweight and easy to store, they’ve been a waste of money. Continue reading “Friday – week wrap-up”