Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dressing Comfortably with Style

Most women and men take at least a passing interest in their clothes, especially if they are working in a job that requires a certain kind of style.  But how many of you, especially when you are ill, take the time or energy to look stylish.  I'm not talking runway fashion, but clothes that match and enhance the way you look.  When you have little energy, dressing well is not always your number one concern.  However, I think caring about how you dress or at least pretending you do can enhance your mood.

Image Courtesy of [ photostock]
When I go in the bathroom and look in the mirror, I feel better about myself when my hair is well-groomed, my skin is moisturized, and I have on nice looking clothes.  I know you probably get too tired when you go shopping, so have you thought about measuring yourself and shopping online?  There are wonderful places to buy clothes for a variety of prices online.  They are not all expensive.  And if you are losing weight and you can find the energy, you could consider going to a consignment shop.  There are many places to shop in towns and online to buy affordable clothing.

Something I look for every time I shop is comfortable clothing.  Adrienne Dellwo asked her readers for input on what kinds of clothes work best for them, as well as what did not work.  She has many of her own tips as well.  Some of my favorites are:  wide waistbands, hip hugger panties that follow the natural curve of the leg, and bras without wire.  I like soft clothes and cotton clothes, things that do not irritate my skin or put too much pressure on my waist and torso.  If clothes start feeling scratchy or are too tight, I have to change.  My shoes also have to be comfortable with a good arch support.  If they are uncomfortable, they come off--that is just the way it is.  How many of you feel the same way about your clothes?

Image Courtesy of [Danilo Rizutti] /
Image Courtesy of
[Ambro] /

There are several pluses with having comfortable clothes.  They are usually easy to wash:  just throw them in the washing machine and dryer.  Another neat thing is comfortable clothes can be pretty and help us feel attractive.  I like that.  I am ready to go for the day when I am dressed, even better with makeup, which hasn't happened much lately.  Unless I am having a bad flareup and my day is spent in the recliner and bed, I like to dress.  Then, I would much prefer to have comfortable nightclothes or lounge wear that looks good on me and I can go to the door without being embarrassed.  Also, I still like to look good for my husband.  By the way men, your wife might not say it, but she likes to see you in something that looks good on you too.  Being well-groomed shows we care about ourselves and those we live with.
Image Courtesy of [imagery majestic] /
Adrienne Dellwo has written about several sensory issues we deal with.  I have read articles by others on sensory issues as well.  For future articles, I would like to cover some of these.  If you have a sensory issue that seems odd to you, it may not be odd at all in the world of people with Fibromyalgia.  Please consider sharing some of your sensory issues in the comment area at the end of this blogpost.

Special Notes:
On the left sidebar is my favorite bra.  This year I got to the point I could not bear wearing a wire in a bra, and I have been wearing them for years.  Also I hate having my bra straps falling down:  my shoulders are not wide enough to keep most bra straps from falling.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Unexpected Relief from Fibromyalgia Pain

Last night, my fibromyalgia pain was terrible.  I had a busy day, going to the doctor, short trips to a couple of stores, and working at home.  Medicine didn't help, and I needed relief. I told my husband I had not hurt this bad for a long time, that my body felt like it had the flu.  I had influenza in the early 1990's, so I know what it feels like--you hurt all over, continuously.  It is a terrible disease.

After having used an ice pack and a heating pad, I had an idea.  I had completely forgotten about a vibrating massage pad we have.  You know how it is.  You hide something in a closet for a while and forget about it, at least I did.  My sweet husband got that vibrating massage pad -- it has heat too -- and set it up in my recliner.  Ah, heaven.  I laid on that thing and relaxed.  I was too tired to read, to be on the computer, and I was barely watching the TV.  Pretty soon, I woke myself up with a light snore.  I had fallen asleep.

I cannot guarantee this would bring everyone relief.  All I know is it worked for me.  I was searching for the product we bought today, and I could not find it on the site we bought it from.  However, I did find some products that sounded compatible, so I have put them on my sidebars.  Also,  I read the reviews -- I always do, and these sounded close to what we have.  The important thing about these is the length.

Last night, it was my legs that were giving me the most misery.  My massage mat vibrates my legs too, and I can vary how much I vibrate and what part of my body I vibrate.  I do not know the exact physiology involved here, but I would think it increases circulation.  If I didn't already have one I would like one of those soft velvety looking  pads.  Reading the reviews gave me an idea.  I am going to try taking mine to bed and see if it will help me fall asleep.  I have a terrible time falling asleep.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

So Doc, I'm Goin' to Live?

These Fibro bodies, crazy silly things, we all wish they would work the way bodies are supposed to.  However, they don't, and I'm finding it is better to learn to live with it well, than to complain.  I am not saying that I never comment on my pain.  I just don't see any point in letting that be the focus of my life, except when it is so bad, I am reaching for the pain remedies and grabbing the heating pad.  So often, I smile and shrug my shoulders.  After all, what can a person do, when it is so hard to establish a schedule like everyone else's.  What can one do when one also has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, but smile and go on.  

Remember, if you have a chronic illness, it does not make you a weak person.  I am learning more every day about how strong people who have chronic illnesses are.  In fact, many of us probably lived with our illnesses for years before we thought it was anything more than a few aches and pains, pushing through, living life to the fullest.  I don't know about you, but I am so thankful for the years I had that I could live an athletic life, care for my family with ease, and be extremely active in my community.  I still hope to get to a point I can add some of those things back into my life, but I do not obsess about it; nor, do I grieve anymore.

If you are newly diagnosed or just realizing something is very wrong with your body, you need to know it is normal to grieve for the loss of physical things you were once able to do easily.  If you have an invisible illness, which means you look like you are well -- in fact, you may look fantastic, other people have a harder time adjusting to the fact you really are sick.  And some people have a hard time with it, because they look in the mirror, see themselves and ask themselves why they can't just snap out of it.  I know I have had those times of questioning myself, especially before I realized my depression was a result of being fatigued all the time and not knowing why.  For me, knowing was a kind of relief -- it wasn't in my head.  The proof was in my blood tests.

I did say hello to the doctor today.  It was a good visit, and my ears are hurting because of allergies.  When I get that cleared, I should quit having pain in my ears.  Actually, I like my doctor.  He's a very caring person and he doesn't mind me asking questions, nor did he mind the list I brought in.  If I didn't bring a list, I would never remember all the things I wanted to ask him -- at least, that is the way it was for me today.  

Image Courtesy of [David Castillo] /
Speaking of Lists:  it is a good idea to make one before you visit your doctor.  There is nothing more aggravating than getting home and remembering the question you forgot to ask.  Also, this is part of being proactive about your health care.  Doctors are not mind readers, and they have many patients.  It's not that they don't care about you or they are too busy.  They have heavy patient loads to carry.  Can you imagine being responsible for the health of the people that are in that waiting room?  Have you ever seen all the charts filed in a doctor's office?  And then, they have all the regulations and insurance they have to know about.  Being a doctor in today's world must be a calling, because it certainly isn't easy.  And as much as they would like to heal every single person;  sometimes, all they can do is make us more comfortable.

P.S.   Two more days of FlyLady's 31 Beginning Babysteps have gone by.  I am on Day 22, which leaves eight more days for me.  I am so excited to be near completion of the babysteps.  

One of the things that have been emphasized in the FlyLady's 31 Beginning Babysteps is the Control Journal.  The control journal is not to control you:  it is your tool to being more organized.  I have had the purple control journal for several years, but I have not utilized it to it's fullest the last couple of years.  Therefore, I have decided it is time to reorganize.  I may even write my address book  in there and my Christmas list.  I will let you know how I like it as I develop my own organization.    I need to go and be Fly Busy for about 45 minutes.  Ya'll have a great day.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ten Days to Go

Days 19 & 20   

September 28, 2012, I started a 31 day journey to travel through FlyLady's Beginner Babysteps.  According  to my records, today, I should be on Day 29;  however, I knew it might take longer.  The point of this for me was to read through every single day of Cilley's steps, and use this for a guide to improve my habits in taking care of me and the house.  When I am in sync in these two areas, one supports the other.  If I take care of myself, I usually have more energy;  on the other hand, if I take care of the house, it is energizing.

Even though I have had to skip some days of doing housework or was not able to do every step, I can see the progress and feel encouraged that I can do this.  I won't do it perfectly, but I have become more aware of picking up behind myself as I go along.  I have found myself putting things away immediately, so I won't have to do it later.  It is easier to dust, because the tops of my furniture are clear and I don't have to use a spray cleaner every time.  I use my microfiber cloth, microfiber mitt, or an ostrich feather duster.

I admit to not shining my sink every night, but it stays shiny longer when this is a goal.  Getting dressed in the morning, or whenever I wake up, actually motivates me more than shining the sink;  however, it is lovely to have a shiny sink.  I am going to go shine it after I finish this post.  There is nothing groundbreaking going on here:  just days of trying to keep up with the new job I have given myself by being a blogger, and the sense that my life is on an even keel.  That is a good place to be.

Do you feel like your life is on an even keel?  Can you think of one thing you could do that would help you get there?  Or, does your mind feel like a jumbled mass of confusion, wondering when the fog will lift?
Many times we blame this on our illness, which does play around with the hormones and chemical reactions that go on inside our bodies.  If you are in peri-menopause or have just hit menopause, I think these conditions hit Fibromites with a double whammy.  However, I think there is a psychological factor involved too.  When one is ill, day in and day out, when one is exhausted most of the time, it seems to breed more exhaustion out of the frustration that has built.  It's going to take a process and time to see improvement.  I have been working on getting my good habits back for four years with several setbacks, such as flares, a broken ankle, hip replacement, a sprained knee, and a move.  Each time I have recovered, I had to slowly start adding small steps to my routine.  This time it has been a little easier.

Just for a couple of minutes, other than taking your medications and supplements, what small step can you take that will help you move from stasis to flow?  I encourage you to take a very tiny step.  It doesn't have to be cleaning house.  It could be as simple as going outside and walking around the house once or going fishing.  Could you go to the library or to a park?  Or maybe, it would be as simple as taking the dishes out of the sink and cleaning it.  Make it really shiny--but not perfect.  Then, dry it with a towel.

What I have found is one move leads to another move.  It is almost like setting dominoes into action, except you will be stepping up, not falling down.

P. S.  Day 20 mentioned taking care of laundry in the morning and at night.   This is a fresh load into the dryer from the washer: I took this picture tonight.  I love washing things in cold water.  How many of you remember having to wash whites, lights, and darks?  Now, I combine my whites and lights.  I know this is how my daughter with 7 children keeps up with her laundry.  My other daughter washes clothes at night too.  Just one word:  please don't go to sleep with the dryer going.  We had a friend whose house burned down from a dryer fire, while she ran an errand in her car.  That's why FlyLady encourages people to get the lint you don't see out of the dryer.    

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Atmosphere That Promotes Peace

Have you ever had a moment where you breathed a quiet, "Ahh"  to yourself, because you felt peaceful in your home?  I have had that experience happen two days in a row, because my house looks more like a home to me.  

Is it perfect?  NO!  And it probably won't ever be, but that feeling of being home happens more when one is not surrounded by clutter.  Furthermore, one of the wonderful things that is happening is that my routine is beginning to feel more natural to me.  Day 17 and 18 in FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps is working for me.  And if it wasn't for you, I don't know if I would have kept doing it.  I might have said this is not going to work for me, because of some little setbacks I had.  However, I have felt encouraged to keep going and not give in to moments of doubt.
My Dining Room/Work Table After
My Dining Room Table Before

This morning when I got out of bed, I actually made it right away -- before breakfast, before I took my medicine, and before I got dressed. The surprising thing was I thought it was easy.  More ahhs occurred when I worked at my dining room/work table  today. I have before and after pictures for you, like I promised.  It isn't magazine new, but it is usable now, and I intend for it to stay that way.  I have worked at my grandmother's old dining room table for two afternoons, and I have enjoyed being able to use it again.

Finally, it is important to tell you that removing clutter seems to have a very positive affect on one's psyche.  It feels liberating.  Even on the days I feel more fatigued, I don't feel as overwhelmed, because I am seeing what 15 minutes here of picking up clutter and 5 minutes of clearing my accumulated piles can do.  I knew in my heart I could get rid of the clutter, but now my mind has been convinced.  

If you are in a situation where clutter has overwhelmed your life, I highly recommend FlyLady's methods.  Because of moves and my illness, I have had to rework those habits several times.  You may find yourself having to work on habits over again, as I have done.  FlyLady knows that we have to keep working our habits, and she has a system that allows people to "jump [right] in" (Please read You Are Not Behind by Susan Lamonica.  It will bless your heart).  Every month there is a habit to work on for the whole month. These repeat every year.

The point is that whether you use FlyLady's system or find another system of keeping up with the clutter, when you do this on a regular basis, it makes life more pleasant.  In the testimonies I read in the emails I have received from FlyLady, I have read how people's lives are improved and how their homes have an atmosphere of peace.  That is what I want for myself and that is what I want for you.  

Peace be with you and many blessings,


P. S.  One thing I have learned from FlyLady is that I cannot organize my clutter.  Clutter is the stuff you don't need, you don't like, and you don't use.  Of course, one has to make their own decisions regarding what is clutter in their own lives. However, am finding I want to simplify.  I remember those early days of keeping house.  I did not have all the wasted paper that comes in the mail, nor as many items to put away.  My wardrobe was limited:  I didn't have years of accumulation (the things I might use again).  Having moved many times over the years, I might have less than some people.  But it is still more than I want to deal with.  Have you ever been on vacation, and enjoyed the simplicity of a small kitchen and a home where there was a place for everything?  My goal is to make this home my own vacation spot, the Bed and Breakfast, that I live in everyday. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Elusive, Desired -- Sleep!

This is rest.  We thought he had come inside to use the
bathroom, but my grandson had climbed into the bed --
wet bathing suit and all and fallen asleep.
is elusive
is manna to a sleep-starved brain
is desired
is needed
it finally comes in the form of a pill or herbs
that leave me fogged
in the afternoon
because I slept through
the light of morning.
        ~Deborah Bolton~

After I wobbled out of bed, using my cane for stability, I made my way to my recliner, and I thought that Flylady must be a springer, meaning she must be awake and ready to go in the morning.  Now, I don't know this to be true.  At 1:15 p.m.  I only knew there was no way I could make my bed right after I got up, because I would have fallen over -- back into the bed or onto the floor.

Disordered sleep is one of the symptoms of FM and CFIDS that I abhor.  How can a body that is desperate for rest, that has had 2 hours sleep in 38 hours resist going to sleep?  It seems like a cruel joke in the life of those of us who have this symptom of FM and CFS.  

Yet, I have experienced the difficulty of falling asleep more times than I can count.  I have experienced it when I 
  • ached all over and the exhaustion felt overpowering.
  • was excited that I was going to travel the next day.
  • was anticipating my doctor's appointment the next morning.
  • had worked too hard preparing the house for a party or visitors.
  • had been to a party or dinner with several people or many people.
  • had been shopping for several hours.
  • had sung in a concert or musical at my church
It's a conundrum I haven't solved, but I suspect it has something to do with the flight and fight syndrome.  Once I get that that adrenaline rush, whether it is called for or not, my body has a hard time relaxing enough to sleep. 

Therefore, I have learned to go with the flow, at least most of the time.  And my husband tries to understand how hard it is for me, even though he is almost asleep before his head hits the pillow.  It makes a normal daily schedule illusive, and it does not work well with the morning schedules of most institutions.  

This problem with sleep has become more pronounced as I age, and I am thankful I was able to function on less sleep when my children were young.  Now, I do not function well unless I get my full eight to ten hours of sleep.  Maybe, my body is trying to make up for what it lost -- ha!  I know it 
can't, because even when I am at am at my best, it is less than the norm.

I know there are many young woman with fibromyalgia and/or CFS/ME.  Sometimes, I wonder how you make it through your busy days;  and then, I remember how hard I worked when my children were at home.  I worked and I played with the enthusiasm of a wife in love, and a mother that wanted the best for my children.  I knew the best was having a mother that spent time with them and made the love in her heart show through her actions.  I would not have had it any other way.  I am so thankful that even though the aches and pains were there, I was able to be active.

Sometimes, I feel like my body has grown old before its time;  yet, my mind feels like it is in my twenties, only wiser.  I would love to do the things I used to, but it doesn't take long for me to know I would be miserable if I continued.  This morning I dreamed I was invited to ride in a boat on a lake and I could have water skiied as well.  But, even in my dreams, I had to say no, because I knew I would be out of action for a long time afterwards.  Yet, in reality, I remember when I didn't ever get sore from water skiing, even if I hadn't done it for a long time.  However, about 25 years ago, I discovered the agony of skiing with aches and pains that lasted for days.

I suppose I better get myself amovin'.  I have been trying to feel fully alert without heavy eyes for about 2 1/2 hours.  At least the wobbles are gone.  While I was sitting here, I had a movie on called Funny Valentines  (link below).  The last line in the movie is one I have to share with you today:  There is nothing more precious than giving a person a piece or your heart.

From me to you, each time I share, I give you a piece of my heart.  Don't worry:  there is plenty there, for it is filled with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.  He gives me an unending supply of love, for which I am grateful.

I looked for the DVD or video of this movie, and I could not find one.  On IMBD, someone had asked about that, and the answer was that this movie was made for television, so there is no DVD.  Boohoo.  However, I found the book and I have fallen in love with a writer I didn't know about.  Her name is J. California Cooper  and she wrote Homemade Love, which is a collection of short stories.  And I found Funny Valentines.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Visitors Are Coming! The Energy Boost

My Imperfectly Made Beautiful Bed
Maybe we should roll Day 15 and Day 16 of Flylady's 31 Beginner BabySteps together.  What happened?  Did the lady of the house have sudden healing for her knee and chronic fatigue syndrome?  How I wish that had happened.  Actually, the knee felt much better today.  I put up the walker and graduated to my cane, so the rest, brace and ice pack paid off.  Also, I am sure complete rest helped my fatigue.

Today, I had an amazing energy boost!  It's called The Company's Coming --Gotta Have The House Clean.  This causes a chain reaction in the body better thought of as fiery fervor or excited exhilaration.  And, my husband says, "Tomorrow, you're going to be exhausted with your tongue hanging out. "  I have a very smart husband that knows me well.  7 grandchildren, their parents, a husband, a dog, a cat, and me -- that should wear anyone out.  Both my daughters are very special, strong women.  I am so proud of them.  With both families here, we would have a lot more people in the house -- that would be 3 children and another set of parents.  If they are all in the same room with us that would be 16 people and 2 animals.  However, this time it was my elder daughter and her husband and children ages 1 year to almost 13 years.  

We ate simply tonight:  pizza, green beans, and ice cream.  Yesterday, I told my husband it was going to have to be simple:  frozen party size lasagna or pizza.  Of course, the kids were thrilled with pizza.

About the house:  I did the Monday House Blessing today, on Saturday.  I cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed the living room, put in a load of laundry, and I dusted.  Today, I was Wonder Woman:  tomorrow, I will be Goofy-tired Grandma.  

How many of us fibro-peeps have always been able to manage things on an adrenalin boost?  It would be interesting to get your input on that one.  I know many of us have adrenal fatigue.  At least those of us who have CFS and  Fibromyalgia probably do.  I found Dr. Marcus' website and I like his diagrams.  From what I know of adrenal fatigue and cortisol, they are pretty accurate.  I know this was part of my problem when I found out I had CFS.  I also found a good article on adrenaline and cortisol in Living Healthy.

I love you guys, and I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am enjoying mine.  

Until next time,


Friday, October 19, 2012

What Next?

Have you ever heard the phrase -- things keep happening, one after another?  One starts asking, "What next?".  That seems to be the case in my life the last two or three weeks.  I could use a little respite, but I'm not complaining.  And yes, I am leading up to something that has happened in the last twenty-four hours.  Let me tell you the story.

My husband is a minister of music.  He is an ordained pastor at our church, and has other duties as well, such as teaching a Bible Study and Prayer, leading a small Bible study group, visiting the elderly members of our congregation that cannot come to church, and visiting people who are sick or in the hospital.  I am so proud of him;  and I am also sad I cannot support the ministries we were involved in together, like I used to.  I have tried to be more regular in my church attendance and sing in the choir, but I always end up having a relapse. 

The Sons of Jubal courtesy of [Music and Worship], GBC

Yesterday, my dear husband was gone all day...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No Sleep Schedule Here -- well, not a Normal One

I am trying to design a button that can be grabbed for anyone who wants to use it.  This is the picture.  Now, I have to do the html.  If it doesn't work, I will chalk it up to a learning experience.  Anyway, it has been relaxing drawing the picture.  I go someplace else in my brain when I am in creative mode, and it relieves stress.  It was the ideal thing for me to work on today, because I had a sleepless night.  If I could only have stayed up, that would have been great, but I folded about 10 a.m. and slept until 4 p.m.  That is one of the advantages of my children being grown up -- I could never have done that 20 years ago.  

Now, my upside-down schedule has gotten even crazier; however, in the past, I have been able to work a day like this to my advantage.  Instead of being devastated by sleeping into the afternoon, I have been able to stay up that night and longer into the next day to make my schedule match a "normal" person's schedule. After all, the world pretty much runs on a morning to night schedule.  At least...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Handling the Truth about My Illness

Yesterday, I tried to write and all I could do was feel stuck in fog.  I even went to look up some information on what it feels like to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as if I didn't know.  I'll share a link with you at the end of this blog post, but first I want to write while my brain feels clear.

"Autumn Colors"[by dan] /
How do I let you know I am being positive, even when I write about the realities of this disease?  I know that it is not officially a disease, because the researchers have not pinpointed the cause of the syndrome:  but, those of us who have it know it feels like a disease. And just because someone doesn't know what causes it, does not mean it isn't a disease.   That sounds sad, but it isn't depressing to me like it used to be.  The depression many have with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome used to be unbearable.  For months on end, I think I did little but exist;  but, that has changed.  

However, that does not mean that I don't have to deal with the moodiness or feeling that I am coming down with something.  It does not mean I don't get tired of CFS and FM, or that for a while I might hope I will never feel this way again.  I know what is causing the mild depression; I try to do what I can every day; and  I know I did not ask to be this way.  Whether other people understand or not is something I cannot help.  Sometimes, I don't even understand.  I went to therapy before I knew I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and that helped me with worrying about what other people thought.  I knew I had Fibromyalgia, NASH, and prediabetes.  What I didn't know was I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome too, until about a year later.  I also have a strange skin condition called Erythema Annulare Centrifugum, which I have had since my late twenties.  I have had it for over 30 years and it varies in the places it appears, and in severity.  I had it all summer, and it was bearable.  Right now, I have one area that is quite deep -- and it burns, hurts, and itches.  But guess what!  I am not depressed like I used to be, because I know  that I deal with something I did not cause.  I know all this fits together somehow.  Furthermore, I know that God knows my heart, even when I doubt myself.  He knows me better than I do.  When I read Psalm 139, I am completely assured that God knows everything about me;  and my heart is calmed.  

Finally, I suppose some of you might wonder what this has to do with FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps.  It is a matter of facing reality.  This summer I began to feel better and I was able to do more, including light exercise.  Some days, I felt as if I was getting better and would probably be able to maintain at a certain level.  Unfortunately, I could not do that.  As I added things into my life, I was sapped of more energy, and I did not recover well.  Then, I began to feel guilty and angry (usually at myself), that I could not live a normal life.  The fact is I have a new normal, or perhaps a better way to say this is I have a different normal.  And I know this is true for many of my readers.

Therefore, I will be mentioning FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps in passing.  I am still going to work on my habits,  but at a pace I can maintain.  I cannot and will not please everyone.  It is impossible.  But I can pray, ask for guidance, and be happy in my circumstances.  If I try to do more than my body can handle to please other people, than I am not being honest.  I know there are times I put out more, because I am shooting for normal, whatever that is.  However, my body shuts down;  and it has done that to me for the last 20 years.  About three years ago, I  became so ill I felt like I had the flu all the time and I did not recover for even a few weeks.  I was desperate to find  a way to get well.  I knew it was not just FM and liver disease.  The point is:  I'm the one that has to live with it, as does my husband to a degree.  What anyone else thinks about me is irrelevant:  I cannot help it if people, who do not share my circumstances, do not understand.

Whatever chronic / invisible illness you have -- you are the one, who knows how it makes you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Nobody else can determine that for you;  however, there are counselors that can help.  And if you know God, He will help you too, whether that means complete healing or coming to terms with living on this earth with a disability.  

That is enough for today -- somehow, I don't feel like this is a finished subject.  I'm going to get a snack, put some laundry in the dryer, and rest.  Maybe, I will look at FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps for encouragement.   However, I want you to remember that doing the Babysteps is an experiment for me.  I am not going to feel guilty when I cannot do them, nor do I want you to feel guilty.  Resting is doing something.

The following link is an informative one on post-exertional malaise and how it feels:  Unraveling Post-exertional Malaise by Jennifer M. Spotila, J.D.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy and Lighter

Day 13 and Day 14 of FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps  have been accomplished, and I am seeing the fruit of my labors.  I also made a list, which included 15 minutes of picking up clutter and a 5 minute room rescue.  I still have to do laundry and other things around the house, so I am working on both.  Also, I have my blogs to write, so those are part of the list.  

I know some of you have wondered if I could recover from my flare-up...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Quick Hint for Motivation

If I was a bee, maybe I wouldn't need any motivation.
I would collect honey and bzz, bzz, bzz all around the yard.
If you have a Facebook account, a very smart flybaby has come up with a motivational game to get slow starters encouraged in doing things scheduled on their To-Do list.  In a few minutes, I'm going to check it out and see if anyone is "playing."  The name of the game is Fly Lady Bingo and the instructions are in the Notes.

There are several ways to play...

What's Important for Me To Do Today

For someone who spends much of her time at home, today was one of those days I had to go out.  After a relaxed breakfast, showering, and taking extra care dressing to the shoes, I was ready.  I did part of the directions for FlyLady's Day 12 Beginner BabySteps , but I had to make a decision which was most important -- going to the supermarket or doing all the baby steps.  I voted for the supermarket, which also has a walk-in hair salon...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ordinary Arts

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” ― Thomas More

Have you ever felt like you were at home in someone else's house?  I have, and I think it was due not only to the personalities of the people who lived in that house, but also to their ability to make the house feel like a home.  Don't let this be a daunting idea to you.  It is one that can be achieved in simple abodes and in the most sophisticated homes.  Moreover, the key to doing this does not mean we all have to have top designer capabilities:  we just need...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Guilt Flare-up

Feeling the Pressure
D. Bolton

Have you ever read a book, watched TV, surfed the internet, or just sat feeling horrible;  instead, of reading your Bible, praying or listening to Christian music?  Have you ever wondered if God would show you a verse to make you stop feeling guilty for being sick?  Well, I have and I know better;  but sometimes, I think I will never stop having relapses and then I worry about those people who don't understand, even though, I know the scriptures that tell me not to worry.  

You and I cannot do a thing about what other people think.  We really don't know what they think if they do not tell us.  And to make a guess about what they are thinking is pure supposition.  Here are some of the things I am physically experiencing now:  trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, and awful dreams.  And of course, I am having pain and balance problems.  Right now, my tinnitus seems more pronounced, and I am exhausted.  My body felt like it had nervous system buzz going though it all day.  Right now, I am finding it a difficult to type, but as a last resort, I took some medicine to help me relax.  Feeling my nerves throughout my body is so uncomfortable:   I  would categorize it as painful.  And of course, I am feeling the fibromyalgia pain, as well as experiencing debilitating fatigue.  

Therefore, I have lost another day towards completing my 31 day challenge.  But that is not going to ruin the work towards reaching my goal.  When I am able I will continue FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps.  

That is what pacing yourself is about.  You have to be gentle with yourself, and listen to your body.  Sometimes, your body will shout to you to rest all day.  Other times, you will be able to pace activities throughout the day.  Rest is not failure.  Rest is necessary.  Be gentle and let yourself heal as best you can.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When I Can't Get It Done

Can't complete your To-do list?  Don't feel bad about it:  we all have days like that.  Priorities get changed when emergencies happen, you get sick, or you are not home.  There are some things we can prepare for and others, such as illness that worsens or emergencies, that make the good routines we have developed impossible.  That is the beauty of having regular routines -- if we have something unusual happen, it doesn't totally ruin what we are achieving at home or at whatever place you have been diligently working to develop regular good habits.

Today, that is what happened to me;  but tomorrow, I will be able to pick up where I left off and work on the habits I am changing.  Meanwhile, I have not returned to a total mess and I found that I was still able to complete some things on my list of To-do's.  The nice thing is some things are already becoming automatic.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flying Not Fluttering

Today is Day 10 of FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps ;  and, I am beginning to feel the urge to count down, because I have never gotten this far with The List.  Yes, that is how I had begun to view the babystep list , because I have never finished it.  So I have fluttered here and fluttered there, but never felt like I was completely flying.  And I know my flying will be a little different than flybabies that are not ill, but that is fine with me.  As long, as I am taking care of myself by resting when I need to, I will still be successful.  In fact, I have felt successful in working on my habits every time I have seen improvement.  Congratulating myself at steps accomplished is the key.  That is why I suggest keeping a calendar or chart of what you are working on and marking it off as done.  And men, I still like flowered stickers or colored markers.  I like pretty.

Don't feel bad if you have to back up day to read directions over again on the FLying Lessons , especially the decluttering lessons from yesterday.  I have been doing this for several years, and I find that reading the lessons over again helps me if I have been limping along.  Moreover, I could not completely focus on the lessons yesterday, and I need to brush up.  It is the repetition of reading and doing that helps develop the good habits, so that is where I am going now -- back to read the Flying Lesson:  How to Declutter .  And then, I am going to continue doing what it says on the Day 10 list.

Have a good week!  Let me know how you are faring with your new changes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Love Aha Moments

Today, I had my aha moment!  It happened before I read Day 9 of FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps and before I dressed to my shoes.  I walked by an empty bank box, which I am saving;  and I realized the largest hot spot, which I have been avoiding for several days, does not have to be a point of contention in my life.  Several weeks ago, I should have realized -- after unpacking boxes of accumulated stuff and throwing away bags of formerly important items -- that I could dispose of the mess which has been aggravating me for months. Every time, I get that area partially cleared, I get sidetracked to something else that needs immediate attention.
Now, I'm smiling.
Therefore,  my new plan  is to put it in 
boxes and label them;  
then, I shall go
through one box at a time.

This may sound dangerous to anyone that knows about the other boxes of stuff I have thrown away, but it really isn't.  The old boxes were full of stuff we thought we had to keep for sentimental, documentary, or frugal reasons.   Because I did not want to box up clutter again,  I thought I had to go through things one piece at a time, but I was wrong.  Therefore, I am going to fill the boxes and label them; then, I can go through them one at a time.  I need to do this for me.  It doesn't mean I have to keep what is in the boxes.

The reason I didn't do this before is that I didn't want to fill more boxes.  I am not worried I will let these boxes sit, because I'm determined to get rid of the clutter for good.  Besides, this cluttered room has given everyone permission to pile it up more, right on the dining room table, because it is the first thing seen when walking into the house.  And that is the problem!  The clutter has acted like a magnet to more clutter.  I should know;  after all, I am a chief offender.   Did I mention the dining room is central to almost every part of the house?  So all I have to do is get distracted, and whatever I put down goes in that area. If the clutter is gone, maybe everyone will think about it, including me.

Experiment number umpteenth thousand is about to go in action:  Box up everything on the dining room table, except the duster.  I will keep you updated.  I am smiling as I think about the very clean dining room I will have in an hour, and how good I'm going to feel.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Family Day

None of my steps forward have been easy for me, and sometimes, I find that I still occasionally have problems with agoraphobia, especially if I am very fatigued.  Actually, it reminds me of the chicken and the egg question – which came first? 

I wonder how many fibromyalgia patients have found they have changed from loving getting out of the house and being around people, to wanting to stay home.  Because I have had bouts of anxiety this week, I almost stayed home from going to the state park today, which I know was good for me, my husband, and the dog.  The kind of anxiety I speak of is not the same as worrying about something.  It hits even when I am not worried about anything.  Maybe, the flare-up I have had is doing something to my hormones.  Our bodies are so complicated with the various chemical processes that are involved in keeping us running properly. 

Therefore, I ignored the I wanna stay curled up in my chair attitude, and I said, “OK.  I’m ready go to the park.”  FlyLady would approve:  Saturday is family day in FlyLadydom.
Speaking of FlyLady, I did do most of Day 8.  But I still have to shine the sink after supper and put out my clothes for tomorrow.  And I’d better put the Bible I carry to church and my purse together too:  I have this bad habit of hunting for things, when I need to get out the door.  The thing I am really procrastinating on is giving myself a pedicure.  I love the way a fresh pedicure, with pretty nail polish looks , but I resist doing it like the plague.
The Hoarders?  No.
This is what this room looked like when
I started.
It' s not finished, but the boxes aren't there anymore,
 and I can find things I thought were lost.  I don't advise
moving if you have CFS and FM, but life doesn't
always consider our illnesses.
If I am sounding negative, tell me.  I really am trying to be honest.  I think writing a blog and making it sound like I have things perfectly together would negate the purpose of this blog.  

Oh dear!  It is 7 PM my time, and all I want to do is close my eyes.  Maybe, I should walk in the park more often.  You all have sweet dreams tonight.  Don’t give up on our FlyLady /Habit Project, and don’t get frustrated with yourself if you don’t do things perfectly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Light, Noise, and Nerves

Sometimes, as women or men with Chronic Illnesses, we have to bend to the way the wind blows.  For some reason, my blood sugar is going up – I know it is not diet, so that leaves illness or stress.  I suppose my diabetes could be getting worse, but I doubt it.  And the other thing is that I have felt extremely jittery almost all day, with it increasing early this evening.  It feels as if every nerve in my body is standing on end.

[David Castillo Dominici] /
One of the things that is really getting to me is noise.  Some days, I can listen to different stations as my husband surfs stations during commercials; but today, I am cringing inside with the different noises in the house.  It is as if my body is wired and the nerves are being attacked.  Why that changes from day to day is a mystery to me.

However, today, I was reading an article by Adrienne Dellwo, and she had written, We don't know the causes of light and noise sensitivity, but they're often called "generalized hypervigilance." That means our bodies are constantly on high alert. It's also a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.”  I don’t know if a nightmare, right before you wake up could aggravate hypervigilance, but I had a humdinger that was about the dearest people in my life right before I woke up today.  I remember waking up grieved and sad.  That might be enough to start a bad day that would stimulate hypervigilence.

However, I have not let that keep me from going on to Day 7 of  FlyLady’s 31 Daysof Beginner Babysteps.  And it is worth it, because tomorrow, I can say I have done a week’s worth of steps. I congratulate myself for following through.  I don’t have a clean house yet, but I am going to.  I am sure of that. 

One more thing:  I have found FlyLady Bingo is a game that encourages me to make headway.  I played it today, and got some things done that were on my to-do list.  Action is sometimes a way to make it through a day that starts off badly.  That at least gives me the satisfaction of knowing I am in charge, not my illness.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Lady's Preogative

Have you heard that saying, "It is a woman's prerogative to change her mind."?  I am exercising that authority, at least for now.  Today, I entered Big Tent world again.  Yes, I know I said I wouldn't;  however, I saw FlyLady's day 6 list for flybabies,  and I read these words:

Going to the FlyLady BigTent group and reading messages. 

 I began to feel as if I might be missing something:  I just had to see.

The very first message spoke directly to me.  And don't you dare laugh, unless you have had it happen.  The message was in group news from Pam Young, Young at Heart:  All Is Well. I don't think you can read it, unless you actually join the FlyLady's Big Tent group.  Again, I reading something about what we say to ourselves.   

Yesterday, I mentioned negative thoughts and positive thoughts.  I said we should turn those negative thoughts into positive thoughts;  and I have actually done this with success. So what happens to me?  Today, I started having negative thoughts.  My Christian peeps will probably say I am being attacked by some of the Enemy's cohorts.  That is a possibility.  Well, I don't plan to shut-up any time soon.  I know who my Lord is, and that is Jesus Christ, no if's or and's about it.  That is just the way it is.  Or maybe this is just God's way of answering prayer, because I prayed as I wrote last night, that God would show me just how to talk about Him in this blog.  If you want to know more, you can  email me at or simply read "Take Comfort"--Short Devotionals.  And of course, you can always comment here.  

Day 6 is not going well for me.  But I think it is going to go better after I finish this blog.  Moreover, I get to do something new today -- well not really new to me, but I am disciplining myself to get through this 31 days.  Hot Spots is the new FlyLady phrase to learn today.  Check out Day 6 and scroll down:  it's there.  I cannot wait to hit my hot spots.  Oh boy!  I have lots of them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oh My! Day 5...

I have made it to Day 5, which has been quite slow for me.  I admit to having spent more time sitting, than I like;  but, at least I am still moving forward.  For those of you, who have no idea what Day 5 is:  I am referring to Day 5 of FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps.  My goal is to make it through all 31 days.  I have been a flybaby for several years, and I can already see differences in my habits;  however, I have never done all 31 days to the end, which is actually only a beginning.  

For those of you who are saying, "I could never do FlyLady's routines.", I  understand where you are coming from.  However, she has some solid advice to offer that has worked for thousands of people,  and I would not even mention her if I had not found my life improved by something she teaches.  The thing that befuddles us spoonies is the energy deficit with which we struggle daily.  That is why I suggest working on one habit a month, especially for people who have been extraordinarily sedentary.  Furthermore, as someone who has fibromyalgia, I found that was all I could concentrate on in the beginning.  As I began to feel stronger, I added another habit to work on, and as I have mentioned in prior blogs, I would check off the habits on my calendar if I did them that day.  There have been times I have had to repeat the process, because I had a lengthy flare-up;  and that is fine, because every time I repeat it, I know this method works.  In fact, I am to a point now, I think I can actually get through all 31 of the steps.  And I know I do not have to do it perfectly to see improvement.  After all, these are baby steps.

In Day 5 of FlyLady's 31 Beginner Babysteps, she reminds her readers to turn their negative thoughts  into positive thoughts.  It is amazing to me how I can say something to myself I would consider rude and judgmental   yet, I would not speak that way to other people.  I have found turning negative self-talk into positive self-talk has a better long range effect on my emotions and actions.  Doing this helps my attitude immensely.  

Finally, I know that everyday I am able to work on improving something basic to my well-being and my family's well-being is worth doing.  I may not do it perfectly, but that is all right.  The point is I am working towards a goal, which I can see has already improved my life.  I am no longer the young woman that can clean the house in one day.  I have to work with what I have.  And I feel blessed and thankful, because I am well on my way to learning to manage my life in a way that will fit who I am now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Blues - A Sneaky Little Feeling

Sometimes, I begin to get this sneaky little feeling that I am beginning to get depressed.  I can function, but there is this little niggling feeling in my chest and my head that something is off center.  Since, I don't have anything about which to be depressed, where does this uncomfortable fluttering come from?  I really don't know.  I can only guess.

Could it be the change in the weather?  Or is it the undone things around the house?  Is there some sort of hormonal change going on in my body?  Have you pinpointed things in your life that give you just a hint of the blues, kind of an off-kilter feeling?  Do you end up getting depressed?  Or does it pass?

When I was in my late twenties and thirties, I would go running if I started to feel blue.  Or I would eat some chocolate, or both.  I think today I am going to continue on with my new flybaby routine, that I am working on developing:  it's already imperfect, but I'm not going to stop.  I have put my sticky notes up, and soon I am going to flutter in my kitchen.  After, I get supper started, I am going to get rid of some paper clutter, for at least fifteen minutes.  I might eat some chocolate too.

What I am really looking forward to is working on my control journal page, but Flylady says to take babysteps gradually, and I have always jumped ahead on that one, with poor results.  If I get this habit down in babysteps maybe it will stick better.  We'll see.

Finally, I want you to know I am thinking about you.  I hope you were feeling well enough to work on your habit today.  If you weren't, just jump in and do it tomorrow.   You will still be working towards your goal, which is the plan.  You don't have to do it perfectly.  I have found this approach works much better, than putting pressure on myself to improve overnight.  And don't forget to congratulate yourself for each step you do to work towards your new good habit.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Process: Freeing Myself

One of the bad things about not having to get up and go to work is the temptation to goof off.  Ooh!  Did I actually admit to that?  Yep!  Today, I did get dressed in regular clothes after much contemplation on the subject.  I even had a list of things I did, but I have sat at the computer too long.  I just finished playing a rousing game of bursting bubbles, which I am sure must be good for the brain -- so many angles to shoot, as well as choosing colors.
As far as Day 3 goes in The Challenge, I already told you I wasn't going to be reading the suggested link, so all I had to do was repeat shining the sink and dressing to the shoes.  And since I have been making myself a To-Do list, I have some things checked off on that.   Also every month, Flylady has a monthly habit to work on for a few minutes every day, at least it will be a few minutes for me while I go through more paper clutter.  This is something I have been working on, off and on since last June or July.  You may ask, "How much can you have?".   A lot, when you have been married as long as I have.  I finally asked my husband if I could throw away some of the stuff he has boxed for years.  He was happy with that, and he is eager to get rid of the clutter too.  Word of Caution:  if you are freeing yourself of paper clutter, read FlyLady's List on what to do with it.  You don't want to throw away important papers.  Also, remember to work for only the amount of minutes you can work.  That may be anywhere from 1 minute to 15 minutes, depending on your health on any given day.   I found that starting gradually increased my strength.  Also, I am not losing as much this flare-up, because I have made an effort to do something physical each day.

How will cleaning up the clutter affect my illness?  I will feel freed, and I will be able to put my energies elsewhere.  I hope you are able to do the same.  And if you have no clutter, congratulations.  I wish I could say that.

The principle here is basically the same as my earlier recommendation:  build on the strength you have.  Start with baby steps.