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I Am Not Lupus

February 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

In a little over a month it will be a year since I was diagnosed. To receive a diagnosis that changes everything is tough. You never know how you will take that kind of news until you are faced with it. It can be so easy to sink into depression, searching for the answers to questions that run a continual loop in your thoughts… why me? Why am I sick? What will the future hold? It’s also difficult to process because not everyone will understand what you are going through, because you might not look sick. But we can not stay in this place! When we stay there it can be a long and bumpy road ahead. I believe that my God is with me each and every day. He is there on good days and my horribly flared up days. I have no doubt that my going through this diagnosis and now living with Lupus is teaching me things I would not have learned otherwise.

Snow Day

There is so much more to me than just my Lupus.

But, we all have bad days and sometimes we just need a little reminder… some inspiration to keep us going. The truth is I don’t want this blog to be a constant story about the woes of my disease. Sure there will be posts about some rough flare ups, that’s just part of it. The point is I have Lupus but, I am not Lupus. There is so much more to me than that. I am a wife to the most amazing man who I am blessed to say was my high school sweetheart. I am a mom to an adorable little boy. I am a writer. I get so passionate about writing my thoughts, creating make believe in my novel I am writing, and sharing and expressing myself as a writer. I look at my disease as only giving me more perspective, not just my sole purpose of writing. Lupus is something that affects me every day. Even when I am feeling good I still have things that just come with having a disease to deal with that no one else has to worry about. It will always be a part of who I am. But it doesn’t have to be my identity. I don’t have to be strictly Lupus.

After several months of processing through my diagnosis I decided to take this blog in a different direction. I had been writing this blog for a while but felt it was time to for a change. For me Raising Inspiration is about my life, my journey and my disease. I want to spread a little awareness and some inspiration. My hope is that someone who is having a bad flare up will stumble across here and see that tomorrow is a new day. Perhaps a little laughter is what they find and it brightens their day, because sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. I don’t know why I got Lupus, I just did. And that’s okay. It’s part of who I am and now I have more to add to my story.

 

 

 

December, oh how I love you! It brings colder weather, Chase’s birthday, snow on occasion and the Christmas season! It really is my favorite time of the year! The joys of bundling up with a good book in hand while the fireplace sends off it’s warmth, decorating the Christmas tree, shopping for loved ones in wonderfully decorated stores that are playing those catchy Christmas tunes. And you can’t forget all the fun Christmas movies that are always a great addition to this time of year! There is only one thing that puts a damper on this glorious season… STRESS! We all get stressed from time to time. Those packed shopping malls can be the cherry on top of a stressful sundae. You all know what I am talking about… the crowded walk ways that no one can ever get through without feeling squished. Then there are all the other stresses that can come around this time… budgeting for presents. We all want to be able to afford to give everyone we love something nice for Christmas, but on a nice fee-sable budget The last thing anyone wants is to give a gift that screams budget.

While most of these things are never really that big of a deal, when the moment comes that we feel overwhelmed the stress has finally come and everything is a big deal! Here is a confession… when I am stressed chocolate and I are best friends-especially Reese’s peanut buttercups! I know, this is a terrible habit to form. It’s either the chocolate or crying. Well this month I am attempting to tackle this issue! Month two of my Searching for Simplicity began this week and I am doing the stress fast. Yes, I am well aware that I can not prevent from stressful situations coming my way, but that is not the point of this fast. This month is all about being intentional in how we respond to stress, making it a habit to run to God in prayer instead of our typical responses.

This fast is all about setting aside seven times in my day for prayer, praying over specific subjects during each prayer time. Currently my alarms are set for midnight, 6:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.! Yes that’s right, my alarm is set for midnight! It won’t be easy, but already in the first week I am amazed at what I have begun to learn about myself, but that I will share with you another time!

 

Photo Credit: Allie Caulfield
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I’m a little messy and I smell like menthol, but I’m okay with it!

With still having five days to go with my Searching for Simplicity clothing fast I have finally stopped spilling food on me! Instead I have started having another issue. Since there has been a shift in the weather my Lupus has flared up and sometimes I use a muscle cream to soothe my aches and pains. This is normally not a big deal when you have an entire wardrobe to change into, but only having seven articles of clothing is leaving my shirts smelling like menthol. Isn’t that just lovely?!? You can probably smell me coming around the corner. But, I decided that I just don’t care. If the cream helps, which sometimes it does, then I am just going to have to smell! So be it!

I trade one issue of stained clothing with smelly ones and it’s not even because they are dirty! Oh the irony, how I truly appreciate you! It definitely is giving me a humbling experience, no fast is supposed to be easy. There are always challenges and I could very easily let these little bumps in the road cause frustration, and even distraction from the entire purpose of the fast… BUT only if I allowed it. How easy it would be to let my spilled food or menthol smelling shirt cause me to worry about what others will think of me… They probably think that I don’t wash my clothes? Didn’t she just wear that? Why does she smell like menthol? Does she own anything else? Guess what… those lurking questions are WHY this fast is so important! It’s breaking me free of what others think of me! All that matters is what God thinks of me and what I think of myself. So what if I tend to be a messy eater and get food on my clothes… yup, I’m a little clumsy and I am okay with that. And so what if my shirt might occasionally smells like menthol, that’s just what I have to do and I am fine with it.

I never would have thought that this fast would have brought so much insight into myself. I am so glad that I started my seven months of fasting with this one. Check back next week for my Top 10 things I learned during my Searching for Simplicity clothing fast.

 

I am officially two weeks into my first month of fasting towards simplicity. Let me just say that the beauty of only having seven articles of clothing for a month really makes packing for vacation a breeze! Boy did I plan that well, or did I? Seriously though, I was done packing in less than 10 minutes. There was no standing in front of the closet debating which shirts I would possibly want to wear. I never thought about how much I over pack for trips. I usually plan an outfit a day and then some. Really, do I honestly need four extra shirts and three pairs of shoes to visit family? My argument would usually be what if it gets dirty, spill something on it, the weather changes or I just change my mind on what I want to bring. If you can’t tell, I tend to over think when I am packing… I believe this fast has taught me to come to terms with that. My options for our vacation were limited, I got my seven articles and that was that. Did it make my trip any less fun because I didn’t have a ridiculous amount of clothes in my suitcase to pick from, no! Actually, it made it worry free. I absolutely loved that we only had one suitcase and it made getting home and everything put away so much easier! Worry free I tell you! The biggest difficulty so far with the limited wardrobe is that I am a messy eater. In fact, night one of the fast we were eating a snack and of course I drop it on me. I knew this about myself all along but it has never been an issue until I’m on vacation with no washing machine and a limited number of clothing. I admit, every night I was hand washing my shirts in the bathroom sink and then laying them in front of our fireplace in our room to dry. I mean honestly I am not that much of a messy eater but apparently on vacation my messiness was at an all time high:

Day one– I spill my gravy from my french fries at lunch 

Day two morning– I spill cranberry juice at breakfast

Day two afternoon– I spill hot chocolate

It was a pretty funny picture to watch two of my three shirts hanging to dry while I am hoping to not spill my chips and salsa on my only clean shirt… at least it makes for a funny story now. I know this probably sounds ridiculous and you are probably wondering if I am even pay attention to what I am doing when I eat. I guess I need to be a little more careful, when you have an entire wardrobe of clothing being a messy eater doesn’t really seem to catch your eye, I plan to change this… so far since being home from vacation I have not spilled anything on my clothes! Woohoo, yay me!

Month one clothing fast- so far, not as bad as I thought. Still two weeks to go…