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.

***

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.

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Thursday – inspiration and let’s talk about pain

I have had the unique misfortune of spending a lot of my life in pain. When I was in high school, I was hit by a car and as a result I’ve had dozens of orthopedic operations just like Humpty Dumpty to put me back together again.

Put Lyme disease on top of that and you’ve got an especially fragile and potentially overwhelming situation. Continue reading “Thursday – inspiration and let’s talk about pain”

Thursday – inspiration and hope

Hope. Emily Dickenson called it “the thing with feathers.” When you are dealing with and trying to regain your health from a chronic illness, it’s just that. Some days it’s here, some days it seems to slip through your hands and fly away.

It is so easy to lose hope in the middle of things. A day of pain. A cancelled event. A restless night where you mind takes you places you shouldn’t go.

But then it can just as easy to find it again. A phone call from a friend, a pat on the back, a flower by the side of the road, a puppy licking your hand. Hope comes in so many different forms.

You just have to know where to look for it. Continue reading “Thursday – inspiration and hope”

Thursday – inspiration and not my monkeys

I wear a bracelet that bears the Polish saying “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

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It reminds me to not get sucked into someone else’s drama. And boy, that’s something that’s easier said than done.

I tend to be justice-driven. When something is not fair, I get angry. When someone bullies someone else, I get very angry. When a person lies, lies lies, I get very, very angry.

And that anger makes me gnash my teeth and tense my muscles, which results in nothing more than wasted energy. Because you see,

  • Life is not fair.
  • People bully.
  • Some people don’t know how to do anything else, but lie.

By accepting that it’s not my circus, and these are not my monkeys, I’m allowed to move on. This doesn’t mean that I become spineless – I will always defend the underdog and inustice – it just means that I don’t have to continue fighting something that is not going to change.

And some things and some people are never going to change.

Releasing is a way to divert that wasted energy and free it for my body to use elsewhere. My body gets to use its resources better and my clenched muscles get to stand down. Win-win.

Instead of wasting your energy on something that won’t change, how about taking that energy and going for a walk in the afternoon sun instead?

Your body will certainly thank you.

***

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.

Thursday – inspiration and tools

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Out of sight, out of mind.

This holds especially true if you have a chronic illness that may have affected your brain. At the worst of my Lyme infection (and it has gotten better, thank God) I had to carry a notebook in order to write down *everything* that I needed to do.

I would think of a task – say do the laundry, but as soon as I would think of something else, I’d forget about it. At the end of the day, the laundry wouldn’t be done and I’d wonder “what happened to that thought? Where did it go?”

My memory also played tricks on me when I was writing. I’d be typing along, happy as a clam, and then I wouldn’t be able to remember the exact word I needed. I could see it in my mind, I could describe it, but I couldn’t recall it. I’d leave a “XXX” in my work so that hopefully I could go back and fill it in later. Continue reading “Thursday – inspiration and tools”