Monday, March 31, 2014

Always Baby Steps!

It's not often that I publish a second blog post in the same day; 
 however, I want to emphasize the message I posted earlier, 
 in which I wrote about the frustration I felt over the repetitive cycle and lack of energy associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME and Fibromyalgia. 
 People with other diseases also suffer with similar cyclical or repetitive symptoms;  
moreover, many of us have overlapping symptoms from other medical conditions.

Was it Kermit the Frog that said, "It is not easy being green." ? 
 Well, it's not easy having a chronic illness either.
  Sometime, you may have an acquaintance, a family member,
 or even a stranger say something that feels crushing to you.
  Many people do not understand we are not malingering; 
that it is tough gathering energy to do almost anything.  

The last couple of blogs have come out of my own battle of the cycles; 
 and, it was not until this weekend that I felt I had made another breakthrough. 
 What I want you to understand is it is not a terrible weakness of character
 or a weakness of mind that causes you or your loved one to go 
through these periods of low motivation.
  I truly believe it is caused by illness and lack of energy.
If it were not for having made baby steps my maxim,
 I would find it just about impossible
 to get anything done in my life.

It's not easy, but somehow many of us keep learning to walk, even when we have fallen and had to crawl for a while.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.  
Yes, they do work, over and over and over again... 

I am going to go and work on my baby steps.
Have a good day, and a blessed week!


Always Baby Steps?!

Image Courtesy of [wandee007]/

I know how it feels to be overwhelmed by a book that tells me how I can live my live better as a person with a chronic illness.  Often writers have many documented theories and examples, but I could not grasp these for my use.  I could barely remember anything I read.  Baby Steps, baby steps -- that is what I could finally grasp.  I actually visualized myself as a baby learning, and tried to remember how I learned as a small child.  Baby Steps, try them. ~ "Self-motivation, Toolkit for Success"

I made the above statement in 2012 after years of reading self-help books by the experts, which is not a bad thing;  in fact, I sometimes learned things that were helpful to me.  I wonder if you have found  that most of what you read in your own searching was usually lain aside;  because in dealing with chronic medical conditions and their ups and downs, trying to follow some advice seemed self-defeating or just plain impossible.  That is what happened to me.  Instead, I started using the things that did work for me, rather than seeing self-help books as the absolute answer and myself as a failure.   I incorporated what I could use into my life and threw the rest out.

 My odyssey in the self-help book realm probably changed more to pick and choose from late September, 2007 to some time in 2010.  I was desperate to feel better and to do more.   There was that drive within that said there must be a way to better deal with the fatigue of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  I wanted to do more despite the bone-deep lethargy and pain imposed on me by illness.  I was at my worst then.  That is when I could barely bathe myself.  Even lifting my arms while sitting in a chair was difficult.  I was in constant pain.  My body seemed to have turned on me.  My brain could not focus for long;  however, I still searched books and the internet for answers in addition to the medical advice I had received from the physician that was treating me for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I was sure there must be a way to live better within the parameters I was experiencing.  

What I discovered as I was reading one book, that I now can only remember in a very dark fog, is there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to follow in the steps of this "transformed" author.  I don't even remember the name of the author or the name of the book.  However, I remember wryly chuckling as I read the book,  not because it was funny, but because it was sad this woman was telling me I could do all the things she did.  Understandably, my consumption of self-help books began to decline.

At the end of my rope in the I am going to fix me realm, I prayed.  What I saw in the answer to my earnest prayer was me growing from a baby into a toddler;  then as a child I gradually learned and experienced more, finally becoming an adult.  None of us start life as adults.  We have to crawl before we walk.  Our bodies have to develop muscle and stamina.  On the other hand, we lose the ability to function as healthy adults with CFS/ME and FMS:  but when we are not in a flare or relapse, we can often gain some ground with gradual introduction of activity.  My problem was how  to find a reliable, realistic way to pace myself during  the rehabilitation process.

The answer to my prayer was that God showed me a kinder, gentler approach to my problem.  As an adult, I wanted to do all the things I thought an adult was supposed to do.  However, that was not practical in my situation.  Therefore, I began to recall what I did and how I felt as a child;  and, I recalled how fun it was to play and learn at the same time.  I eased up on my expectations of what I should do, and began playing.  What I realized is play can be strengthening.  After all, a child plays house or pretends to be doing adult activities;  but in fact, he or she is learning and strengthening the muscles and mind.  He is growing up and developing habits. 

For my rehabilitation "therapy,"  I began with fishing, which was a little easier for me then, because we had a pond only a few yards from our back door.  I had to get dressed;  then, I walked to my chair by the pond and cast my fishing line in to the water.  It was so much better than always being in the house. This was something non-threatening, which I did when I was a child, that invigorated my mind, my spirit, and my body.  Of course, that was only part of the story, but it was a beginning for me to  feel better about my life, as well as a beginning to gain back some control.  Moreover, it was satisfying.

Another thing I found helpful was my habit of the month calendar.  I would choose one habit a month to work on;  then, I put a check or a sticker  on the calender when I was done.  Pretty stickers made me feel good, especially as I saw more of them on my calendar.  Eventually, I would have three to four habits on my calendar that I was working on during a month, because I would repeat the habit from the prior months and add one new one.  Any more than three or four habits on my monthly calender were too many.

Many people begin working on their habits and reorganizing their homes by using FlyLady's techniques, and following her 31 beginner's steps.  I tried FlyLady and I admire the fact she has helped many people with her methods, but I found the daily routines were too taxing for my energy levels.  Also, I was having to choose habits, which were quite basic, such as getting dressed or taking a bath.  Please understand this was not like the former, healthy me.  I was in bad shape:  I could barely walk to the bathroom.  For many months, I felt like I had the flu everyday, twenty-four hours a day.  I read somewhere that CFS and Fibromyalgia patients' often feel like someone who is suffering with cancer.  Funny that most people have compassion for cancer patients, yet CFS and FMS patients are often misunderstood, because they look well to other people.  Thus, we use the term "invisible illnesses"  as another descriptor of various chronic illnesses, which almost seem to be a type of modern plague.  Many people are ill, but they keep going;  until, they simply cannot.  Invisible illnesses can be painful, serious, and terribly complicated.  They are not trivial:  they are life-changing.

My suggestion for each of you is to consider what the first things are that you need to improve to find a level of living that is better for your peace of mind.  It's a matter of being realistic about what you are able to do;  yet, you do not have to give up the dream that you can improve areas of your life.  And, it usually takes many small steps to get there, but they are worth it.  Moreover, each baby step you take should be considered a victory, even if you have to repeat the same steps over because of the FMS/CFS/ME Cycle.  

This flow chart shows the basic steps  that seem to occur over a
period of days, weeks, or months in the life of many FMS/CFS/ME patients.
                                                                                     ~  D. Bolton
Among the problems I hear mentioned by most Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients is limited energy and pain.  The problem with limited energy is it becomes harder to do anything if all one does is sit or lie down in the bed.  Pain can become worse if one does too much;  however, if a person sits all day, it seems the muscles become stiff and weaker.  It is a fine balance, which can sometimes change overnight;  and, it is frustrating that the cycle starts all over again, going from feeling  okay to hardly being able to lift a finger. 

We, who fight chronic illnesses of all types, often walk a fine line to maintain balance in our lives.  From my viewpoint as a person who has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as several overlapping illnesses, I find this cycle one of the most challenging parts of my life;   because, I lose whatever rhythm or routine I have established when I felt better.  It takes backbone to begin again, over and over, time after time.  However, every time I think I want to give up, I know that deep-down, I want to keep on trying to establish a routine I can stick to.  The wonderful thing is that I am finding there is usually something left from the work I did last time.  All is not lost.  Each time, once I get myself moving again, I find it is a bit like getting back on that bicycle or playing the piano.  Or fishing...  The skill is still there, and the muscle memory begins to take over.  Moreover, it doesn't have to be perfect.  If you cannot do an activity or finish an activity, you are a winner because you tried.  

So, take heart.  All is not lost if you are coming out of a relapse or flare.  And, if you are just starting the process of rehabilitating after being very sick for the first time, be kind and generous to yourself.  Celebrate the little things you are able to do.  It's not easy, but somehow many of us keep learning to walk, even when we have fallen and had to crawl for a while.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.  Yes, they do work, over and over and over again...

Gentle Hugs, 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Inspiration Gone?


I am writing this to tell you what I have been feeling.  My motivation has gone somewhere with my inspiration, and I cannot find them.  Maybe, they are hiding under the bed with the dust bunnies.  This has nothing to do with how you should feel or what you should do.   You should listen to your body and do what is best for your body.  By the way, even when I was healthier than now, I sometimes had to hunt for motivation to do things I was perfectly able to do;  therefore, it isn't the first time I have been here.  I just don't like it when I am, and I felt like writing about it might be a step in finding those two little gems that are hiding from me. 

All week,  I have been hunting for My Inspiration.  I'm hunting for my inspiration to do all those things I really don't want to do now.  They are all shoulds, and I know there will come a point that I need to see them as want to's, but I have not been able to do that.  I am so stuck.  And, I hate being stuck!

Avoiding God's word on the subject hasn't helped much either, because I know what the Bible tells me about being a homemaker and a woman.  In Proverbs 31, it basically tells me there are ways I can bless my husband that I am not doing.  For instance, I could care less this week about showering and dressing myself in purple. Basically, that means I have stringy hair and I don't want to get out of my nightgown.  Only, I know I should want to get out of my nightgown.  When my husband says, "Oh -- you got dressed.", like it is an Event, that should tell me something.

The other thing that has been going on is I actually thought about going on a diet this week, which is a huge mistake on top of everything else.  Why do I want to throw myself back into that emotional spinner again?  You would not believe what the actual contemplation of doing that added to my pile of too much thinking - not enough doing debris.  At least, I got that worked out.  When I do the hunger-fullness scale thing and listen to my body, I eat sensibly.  In fact, for over a year, I haven't even needed the hunger scale.  Eating moderately had become the norm for me.  Sometimes, I even have to remind myself to eat.

When I start thinking about dieting, I want to eat for no reason other than eating.  Something turns on in my brain that is almost uncontrollable;  moreover, I feel discombobulated.  It's horrible.  It's probably a backwash from years of yo-yo dieting.  The good thing is I am not going to start a moderate eating group, join a group, or buy any new diet books.  I did look at all those possibilities.  Actually, I don't think there is anything new:  dieting is an industry for making money.  And do not try to sell me your diet that worked or your pills -- Puhleasssse!  I do not want to hear it or think it.  It makes my heart hurt and turns my brain into distressed emotional mush.  I do not need it.

Now, I think I will read some of my own blog advice on getting motivated to clean.  Also, I am seriously thinking the April Habit of the Month should be getting dressed;  or, at least wear pajamas that look like clothes. (Yes, I am smiling, but serious too.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Tonight, I will be awake.  I know it.  I am going with the flow.

Generally, I work very hard to be extra quiet at night, which means it is difficult to clean.  Also, night seems to give me permission to goof off on the computer and watch television.  However, I am ready for an update in my house and my life.  I cannot get it out of my head;  therefore, maybe I should clean.

Did you think you cannot dream or update your life?  Oh, that is so untrue.  Just because you are sick does not mean you need to stop dreaming.  Dreamer come out.  It might not be the same as your original dream from when you were healthy, but maybe it is time to adapt the dream or find a new one.

My immediate dream is to move out of my slump.  However, it seems like I am only nibbling away at the edges lately.

Therefore, tonight, I am using my new pick up basket, which I suppose I could call my PUPA Basket.  PUPA is an acronym for pick up, put away.  What I failed to tell you is the reason I have a new basket is because I made myself get out of the house, into the car, and drove to town.  I enjoyed shopping at one of those cool outlet stores that carries good to better brands for fantastic prices.

It's pretty and colors I will never get tired of .

And it is deep.  Lot's of room for picking up stuff.
I looked at many kinds of baskets, but I picked this.  It can be a beach bag, a trip bag, and an enormous purse:  it stands alone and it has strong handles.  I looked at all kinds.

May you enjoy all your picking up at whatever time of the day you do it.  I may not do quite as much as I expected tonight, because shopping wore me out!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Depression?

Images Courtesy of [Simon Howden] /
I wanted to introduce my new blog look to you;  and I thought I would add this picture, because I had thought about using it. However, though truly beautiful, it wasn't quite right on the header.

May we have many more blogs that give you a boost or good information.  Sometimes, I feel like I am about to run dry, but that is also true of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I am sure you know how it is to feel like you have dried up and the real you, though still inside, is buried under all the fatigue.

However, have you ever tried to figure out whether it was post-exertional fatigue that hit you or depression?  This happened to me during the last couple of weeks.  The desire to want to do things was there;  but so, was the guilt of thinking myself lazy.  I finally came to the conclusion I was depressed;  and yet, I wasn't in the way I was before I found out I had CFS and I was on a regimen for physical improvement.

Today, I finally got to the point where I did something I wanted to do -- change and wash the sheets and pillowcases on my bed.  It wore me out;  therefore, it brought me back to the depression versus fatigue question of why I find myself sitting in a chair most of the time.  People with depression are usually unmotivated and don't care about doing anything.   People who have CFS want to do things, but either do not have energy or run out quickly.

However, I know if I wait out the inactivity phase long enough, I will become motivated.  This leads me to believe it is the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that has been making me feel off-balance the last couple of weeks.  Also, it happened after a week and a weekend with a mixture of activity;  cleaning, stress, both bad and good;  as well as having a wonderful visit with my niece;  and, going out more than I had gone out in two months.  No wonder I was sitting.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Do you sometimes get in a slump, which is confusing?  You do not know whether  it is depression, laziness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Fibromyalgia.  How do you handle your slumps?  Do you drag yourself out of bed and try to do the things you would do if you felt good, or do you rest?  Is there any particular thing, such as music, company coming, or ?????? that helps you to do at least a little bit of the regular chores?  I would love to know, because we are all different;  and, maybe you might suggest something that would help someone else.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Too Much Input?

Image Courtesy of [marin] /

Yesterday, I wrote a different kind of clutter in Saying Bye to Clutter.  I called it mind clutter.  The idea of mind clutter being a part of this technological world is not strange at all.  We are connected to the world-wide web, the television, and loads of reading material.  We have jobs, families, and house work to do.  We are constantly barraged by a cacophony of advertisement, telling us what we need to have or not have.  The buzz seems incessant, this unceasing world of shoulds and desires.  It is overwhelming, and we do not even know it.

Today, I turned off the television, but not forever;  however, I almost wonder if I should.  Immediately, I felt calmer without the noise coming into the room.  Can you identify with this?

Adrienne Dellwo has written an excellent article on Sensory Overload in Fibromyalgia.  Much of what is said for FMS seems to be true in CFS too.  In fact, it can make one wonder if it is the same illness;  however, I know I had the symptoms of FMS long before I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  When you look at sensory overload, it is comparable to other conditions that also are affected by too much input, such as Autism or ADD.  Focus is lost when you have too much information coming in.  

Causes of sensory overload could be:

  • bright lights
  • flashing lights
  • noise
  • crowds
  • chaos at home or what feels like chaos too you
  • busy stores with the noises, the shelves filled to the brim, the bright lights
  • multi-tasking, such as watching television and using your computer at the same time
  • working in a busy office with constant demands on your time and attention 
  • riding in a car and feeling the constant jiggle and hum of being on the road
  • situations that are out of the ordinary, such as having visitors or repairmen coming to your home
  • hearing the multiple sounds at a sports event

Image Courtesy of [Stuart Miles]

I am sure there are more you could name, but this is just a sample of what might set off an anxiety attack or even brain fog.  Moreover, too much sensory overload is physically draining. It is important for you to know when it is time to turn it off, lower the volume, or leave the area.  Give yourself a chance to recover.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what you do not do at times, because you use the noise to shut out the loneliness of being ill.  I can say this, because I have experienced it.  I have been using some of my energy on things that are not far from the things I want to achieve.  In fact, I used to spend more time meditating and also accomplishing more in the house and my life.  This tells me it is time for reassessment.  

Do you find yourself constantly filling your brain with the diversions available today, but not using your body?  Wow! I just got dizzy, because I am having a minor panic attack here.  I think I just hit the nail on the head for me.  I realize there are times that one is absolutely unable to do anything other than sit, eat, sleep, take a bath, and minor daily tasks.  However, are there also times you don't make the effort for one reason or another? 
Maybe, you are undisciplined?  
  • or stuck in a rut? 
  • or mesmerized by the constant sight and sound on the television or computer?
  • or burying your loneliness and frustration by covering them up?
Perhaps, your life is well-balanced and able to do everything in moderation. However, not everyone is able to say that.  It is so easy to slip and not even realize what is happening.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:31).

I memorized this verse years ago, but sometimes I forget to apply it to my life.  But it is so applicable.  Moderation and balance in our lives is necessary -- even more so in having medical conditions that have so many annoying symptoms.

1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything (ESV).

Image Courtesy of [anankkml] 

Whether you believe all the Bible is true, as I do, you must see the wisdom in these statements.  Moderation is the opposite of too much input.  It is the opposite of excess.  Moderation in all things helps to promote balance in our lives.  May you and I find this, even though we may slip at times.  Be ready to say, "Stop!  I need to look at my situation." 
That's what I am doing right now.  This is part of finding balance.

Thinking of you, 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Resiliency Study for Teens and Young Adults Who Have Chronic Illness -- Please pass this on.

A researcher at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, who is a "Co-Investigator on the Bringing Science Home Grant in which [they] are developing the Youth Health Resiliency Scale," has contacted me. "Bringing Science Home is a health research organization led by former Miss America, Dr. Nicole Johnson ("

"The scale has been designed to help professionals and caregivers better understand the current knowledge and resiliency factors for youth and young adults with a chronic illness."

Displaying YHRS Flyer.jpg

Resiliency Study for Teens and Young Adults Who Have Chronic Illness -- Please pass this on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hospitality Starts in the Heart, Not the State of Your Home -- part 2

Image Courtesy of [debspoons]/
When did hospitality become a struggle for me?  I have asked this question more then once.  Did it start when I began withdrawing from being with people because I was depressed?  Or, was it because of the lack of energy I was experiencing, which made entertaining and cleaning my house more and more difficult?

I think the first place I would answer this is looking back on why I was depressed.  At first, I was sure it was because of unresolved grief and other issues.  However, when I consider the past, I realize I can see a gradual breakdown in my health, which had nothing to do with grief.  Stress may have been a factor, but I am now convinced I had some hormone issues before I found a doctor that looked deeper at what was happening to my body.  And yet, that did not keep me from hospitality in the early stages of immune issues in my body.

The reason I mention these things is I think considering why one changes from having friends and family over on a fairly regular basis to almost never having someone over needs to be addressed.  If you were a person who often spent time with other people or having people into your home,  your personality probably did not change over night.  In fact, the desire is probably still there -- just not the energy to prepare.  Can you identify with this?

In my blog, we have looked at how to get the clutter out of our houses, so we can make cleaning simpler.  However, we have not really discussed  that we are possibly still dealing with not inviting people over, because we are embarrassed our houses are not perfect.  

Or, maybe it is too overwhelming for you to consider having someone over, because you think you have to decorate or prepare fantastic food.   Or, perhaps you are afraid of the energy you know will leave you as you become overwhelmed with sight, sound, and interacting with other people.  Whatever it is that prevents you from connecting with other human beings in person, you need to look at this.  Then, start thinking of ways you can manage when being around other people.  Also, don't be afraid of the energy you will lose.
When one deals with FM, CFS, and other chronic illnesses, it is a fact of life.  If you don't lose energy one way, you are going to lose it another -- whether you invite someone to your home or not.  

The Bible talks about hospitality many times.  We are told not to neglect showing it to strangers, because we may be entertaining angels.  Also, if we follow the model of Jesus, our Savior, he often spent time in the homes of others.  He enjoyed being with people.  Moreover, this would not have been possible without hosts and hostesses with open hearts and homes.

There is a story of Jesus being in the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha was very busy serving.  Finally, she became aggravated with her sister and asked Jesus to tell Mary to help.  Mary was sitting with the Savior listening to him teach.  Jesus actually told Martha that Mary had chosen the best;  so, it sounds to me like he was less concerned with what he was going to eat,  and he was more concerned that Martha heard what he had to say.  Wouldn't you have loved to be in that room listening to what he had to say?  (Luke 10:38-42)

If you would like to see more Bible verses about hospitality, click here:
What does the Bible say about hospitality? 

On a personal note, I am so happy I said yes to my niece visiting this past weekend.  Yes, I was very tired on Monday, but my heart was full to the brim with satisfaction and happiness.  She didn't care my house was not perfect.  It was even messy in a couple of places:  it certainly did not look like a magazine layout.  But, who cares?  Probably most people don't care:  they just want to spend time with family and friends.

Who cares about the oven?
My house is reasonably clean.
(Image Courtesy of [Ambro]/

Incidentally, I will tell you a secret.  When I was healthy I would wear myself out cleaning and cooking too.  That's probably why Thanksgiving dinner always tasted better the second day.  Kind of hard to enjoy eating when all you want to do is rest.  I am also remembering when I did not have a self-cleaning oven.  I would spray it with that awful smelling, caustic spray;  and, I would lay newspapers all over the floor.  The gloves went on, and I cleaned it out.  Why died I always do this before our parents came for a long visit?  Like they really cared if I cleaned my oven.  Does any of this sound familiar? 

Remember to go for reasonably clean, not perfect.  And, let other people help you with the work.  They will appreciate the opportunity and feel more at home.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hospitality Starts in the Heart, Not the State of Your Home -- part 1

Hi guys!   This is not the suggested "professional" or even literary introduction with which one starts off an article, but I am one of you who struggles with chronic fatigue and occasionally gets one of those uncomfortable comments.  You know the comments:  "you think about your illness too much.  You are preoccupied.  Well, if you had a recording of what you said...blah, blah, blah, blah."   The point is that we are usually trying to explain why we cannot do something, or why we will have to rest because of post-exertional malaise.

Earlier in the week, I was exhausted because I was not sleeping.  I am talking about 5 hours of sleep in 2 days;  and, I can't remember what I got before that.  Those nights or mornings were not fun  However, I did what I could early in the week without making myself fall into a relapse:  I wrote, did small jobs around the house, and I shined my sink in the kitchen every day.  I even did some cooking that made enough for more than one meal.

However, I still knew I didn't have it all together.  As I lost sleep, I became increasingly fatigued and anxious, which tends to be a self-defeating cycle.  Therefore, I also did plenty of sitting in my recliner or lying down.  I had to rest, even though I couldn't sleep.  

Then, I got the phone call from my dear niece, who was coming to visit for the weekend.  This is the one thing that usually pulls out the perfectionist in me, and it tells me that I had better start pushing hard, doing things I do not get to every week, like I used to in the good old days -- things like mopping all the hard floors and vacuuming at least once a week.

Still,  my house looked cluttered and messy.  I still had one mantel that had a Christmas arrangement on it;  and, there were two big boxes sitting in the guest bedroom.  My living room was a disaster area around my chair, as well as in the corners.   What was I to do?

I'll tell you what I decided not to do:  I was not going to clean until I was ill.  I wanted to enjoy my niece's visit.  A better looking home was good enough, as well as having a clean guest bedroom, a clean bathroom; a picked up and dusted living room; and a clean kitchen.    

After all, my niece was coming to visit me -- not my house.
 ( She said to tell you those were her words when we spoke on the telephone.)

The amazing thing is I slept Friday night, and I did not drag out of bed Saturday morning  with more cleaning plans in mind.  That's because I told my husband what I was not going to do this time.  I told him I was only doing what I could do -- no vacuuming, no perfectly straight and dusted house.  I would get to the germiest things -- like bathrooms.  Also, I would dust what I could, as well as picking up as much as I was able without using all my spoons.  Lucky me, my husband did vacuum  (his idea).

These are the rooms in the house I have not straightened or dusted:
  • dining room 
  • the breakfast area
Actually, the breakfast area is usable, just not it's best.  It has some things out of place, but I'm not anxious.  Also, I decided we are eating out for supper.  I don't have energy to visit and cook.  Some people would say, "Oh yes, that's what I would do."  However, this is out of character for me.  I have always thought it was my duty to make a home cooked meal.   I am so very astonished.  And Sunday lunch will be sandwiches or pizza -- definitely different for me.

Hospitality by Holley Gerth
Image from Holley Gerth
I have to share the article with you that turned off my anxious button.  But first, I want you to know that in my mind, I knew most of the above;  however, the adrenaline in my body did not know it was supposed to be at rest.  That old fight and flight syndrome just automatically kicked in.  I don't know if the FFS was the cause of my sleep deficit or if the sleep deficit helped turn on the FFS.  Let me add, I did finally take some medication to help me relax.  But, I also read a blog post by Holley Gerth that made my day on Friday.  She said, "Hospitality is just opening your home the same way you open your heart."  Here is the post:  Hospitality Starts with Your Heart.

I am thankful I'm getting to the point that I can let go those things that need to rest.  This is likely a result of having used several techniques I've talked about over the last year.
  1. Using a timer to do jobs or portions of jobs, setting it for 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Resting in between jobs.
  3. Putting things away when I get them out.
  4. Carrying items to the room they belong in as I leave a room has become a habit.
  5. Looking at a room, starting in one corner and progressively cleaning as I move around the perimeter of the room helped, because I was centering on specific rooms.
  6. Working in increments of 3's on a regular basis has made house work less overwhelming.
  7. Realizing my limitations, and going for a reasonably clean house -- not a perfect house.
These are just a few of the things that have made significant  changes in the upkeep of my home, as well as increasing my confidence that I can again have a reasonably clean home on a regular basis.  I can get the work done, despite my disabilities.

And, I think you can too!

God bless you,

Deborah Bolton

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When You Get It Out, Put It Away

When you get an item out, it deserves to be put away:  and, I'm not talking only to you, but to me.  This is probably one of my worst habits.  Why?  

I don't know.  It just is.

However, I do know that life would be simpler 
if I would remember to do this one thing.  
When you get it out, put it away.

Have you ever thought of what a self-defeating cycle it is to clean up the clutter, and let the pile grow over again in a few weeks or a couple of months? It's not that you don't know how to clean:  you make it harder by not putting things away immediately.  What could have been an easy task becomes harder by letting the pile grow.

Talk to that child inside of you:  the one that never completely assimilated the message that one's toys, books, and blocks need to be put back on the shelf or in the toy basket.  Please, don't be insulted:  I know you are an adult, who is in pain and is fatigued.  However, I have learned it sometimes helps if I act as mother towards my inner child.  The mother I am talking about is a kind, patient, and fun mama, who can even make a game of picking up. Use that timer.  You will probably beat it.

     Image Courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] /  

As you pick up, time yourself for 5 to 15 minutes, 

according to your physical ability.  If you are putting an object away 

that you brought into a room,  it will probably take less time than that.

You can do this.  

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4: 13  NKJV

                                                         Praying you will be strengthened,


P.S.  I'm still tweaking the blogs.  It might take another week or so.  I have played perfectionist to the hilt on this, and I am crying, "Halt!".  I have housework to do.

Monday, March 3, 2014

When Overwhelmed, Start Small

Image Courtesy of [debspoons]/
I think it it is perfect that debspoons obviously
 understands the frustration often felt by spoonies.  

I am in the embarrassing place of being absolutely unsure of where to start this week.  This is so hard to admit when I am the author of a blog that is full of ways to get going.  My "goer" is not on easy access right now.  I am so tired of being fatigued, and things that were easier for me before I got sick are heavy burdens at this time.  

Sometimes, I wonder if I should tell you these kinds of truths, because I am here to encourage you;  however, I promised to be honest.  So, the truth is I have been having a hard time taking the baby steps and keeping them up.  I am a human with a chronic illness, just like the majority of people that read this blog.  Getting things done at my house can become overwhelming for me too.  

It's not that I have done nothing, because I have.  I look around me at the mess that has accumulated again  ( thought I had it nailed), and it makes me feel like I am starting over, even though I know it's not true.  What is true is that living in clutter brings down the spirits of the people in the disorderly house.  It is worse for people that are confined to their houses for long periods of time. Moreover, it is no fun coming home to a messy house. 

Right now, I am groping for a place to start.  I'm even surfing the internet for ideas.

The good news is I did shine my kitchen sink today.  And, that felt really good.  I want to replace the splash guard behind the sink too, but I feel guilty doing that when I have many other things that need doing.

The statement below comes from "Pro Organizer Tips:  What Not to Do When Decluttering Your Home."

Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew. "Do not set aside an ENTIRE day to organize your WHOLE house. Very few people have the energy and/or focus to spend 8 hours organizing. You'll likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses. It's much better to spend a few hours -- 2 or 3 -- on one project or space. This way you'll feel motivated to do more, not burned out by the process." 

See:  not even all healthy people can do the whole house.  The following list is for me, just as much for you.
  1. You need to evaluate what room you need clean first.  
  2. Think PUPA (Pick up, put away). 
  3. Then, use a timer for 5 to 15 minutes and do one area in your room -- like a table or the area around a chair, or clearing off a sofa. 
  4. Next, rest, or go on if you want, but rest if you feel your energy lagging. 
  5. Work on one area of the room, then move to the next.  
You may not be able to get everything done in one day, but you can make your mark.  You have done it before.  You can do it again.   Get out of that chair and make an effort to do at least one area in your chosen room.  You can do it.