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


  1. Oh Deborah, I so get you and and thanks so much for being a voice for all of us out there. I can so relate my name is Deborah and I love God, and twenty years ago I was doing it all and bam fibro and chronic fatique got me. I have stated doing some of your suggestion and they help a lot. How do you handle the emotional draining people in your life like at church.Thanks Deb

    1. Wow! I cannot believe you asked that question. I have some stories to tell. is time for me deal with this problem on my blog in detail. I have only touched on it, but not only could it help Fibromites and those who have CFS , perhaps, find some peace. It is a hard question for all of us that have been shakers and movers in our lifetime, then become struck down by chronic illness of any kind. Deb, please contact me at I would like to speak to you and get to know a little more about you. something tells me, we may have some things in common.

  2. The best thing in life is to see things that one can do, not the things that one couldn't.
    Enjoy your day:)


It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah