Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lesson Learned

I am not a Supermom.  I have been trying to bring home the bacon, spend quality time with my family, include some down time for myself, and participate in some fun activities but I feel like I haven't been a success at any one of them.  I feel worn down.  I feel like my heart aches each day to have more time with my family, yet when I do I  am always thinking of what I need to do next.

I have always been good at listening to my heart rather than my brain.  My brain is telling me, "Work these crazy hours a little longer so you can get some debt paid off and pay for a few of the 'extras' you have needed around the house for several years."  My heart is telling me "it just isn't worth it."  While I intended the extra money from my new jobs to go certain places, I am actually spending more money than ever before on gas, clothes, food, etc.  It isn't paying off.  I feel like my heart is not in a happy place and my previous decisions are weighing heavily on me.

In January I was hit with a professional idea that I wanted to pursue and felt extremely excited about.  It was an idea that could have easily been mixed in with my teaching position at the community college.  However, opportunities within Plan B of my idea quickly took over rather than Plan A and I have over committed myself to Plan B, which was never my passion.  I have met some wonderful people and feel I am making a small difference, but at the expense of losing precious time with my family and having time to myself which is a must for my own sanity.

Over the next three weeks to two months many of the commitments I have made will come to an end and I will be scaling back my schedule a lot.  I can't wait!  Each day that I drive from place to place I visualize myself at home with my family and it is all that is keeping me going right now.  Scaling back on my schedule will mean less money, but it will also mean more time at home listening to my children and husband, going places with them, making nutritious meals for them, and having time for myself.  I don't consider the last four months a failure, but more of an opportunity to rediscover who I am right now and accept that person.  I am glad I still have professional aspirations, but right now my focus is still on being a momma and a wife and the schedule I was working before January allowed me to be both.

I think following one's heart is always a good choice, but especially when dealing with an autoimmune disease.  As many of you know, stress can affect how our bodies feel.  Fortunately, my joints have done well with the stress.  Unfortunately, my weight has not.  Since January, I have gained ten pounds that doesn't seem to want to disappear.  I know it is my body's way of telling me I am not being true to my heart.  It is time to listen.  I gave this full time working gig a try and it just isn't the right time.  I only have my kids at home a short time longer and I can't afford to miss out on the connections that are made when I am home with them.  My professional goals will be there when the time is right. Thank you heart for always guiding me.      

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sneaking in Happiness

I bought these flowers for myself on Tuesday.  I was feeling down and needed a visual reminder that life is beautiful.  Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of my dad dying and it hit me harder than I imagined it would.  In addition, my mom had knee replacement surgery and my husband hasn't been feeling well which worries me.  Plus, I have over-scheduled myself by A LOT.  I know this schedule will eventually be reduced, but for now I don't feel like myself.  I feel like I am living in a cloud that is waiting to be free to live a more simple life once again.

While the flowers were intended to be a reminder of the simple beauty in life, they have actually proved to be a reminder of so much more.  As I have watched the petals slowly open up these last few days, they have been a reminder to slow down and enjoy the present moment.  I have found that by simply walking past this vase of flowers, I am reminded to take a deep breath and let it out.  The flowers have somehow reminded me to smile and focus on what is really important to me in my life - my family.

On Tuesday evening when I returned home late from a day of teaching and tutoring, I danced in the kitchen with Sophia.  Last night I laid in bed talking to her until my eyes could no longer stay open.  Spending time with her reminds me to laugh and talking with her reminds me of lessons I sometimes forget.  My almost 14 year old daughter is very wise in her understanding of relationships and reminded me last night that we always need to look beyond what we initially see in a person because a lot more is going on in the background.  Yesterday afternoon I had a great conversation with Alexander which took my mind to another place besides commitments.  Each night when I get home from work he asks me how work went that evening.  I love that he cares and is interested.  I also love sharing little tidbits of my life away from home with him.  And my sweet husband, who I don't see near enough of, spent some time at work the other day instant messaging with me when he knew I was sad.  He was able to sum up how I am feeling exactly.  I love that he knows me so well and I am glad that I put my phone away before bed and laid in his arms several nights ago rather than once again checking my emails.

My life right now is chaotic and overall I feel worn down and stressed which is not a feeling that wears well on me.  Sneaking in a little happiness though, makes a huge difference.  It lets me focus on what is still most important to me and gives me the energy to complete the responsibilities I have committed to.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Show Us Your Hands! Inflammatory Arthritis Community Collage Grows To 1000 Photos

(April 7, 2012) – Show Us Your Hands! is pleased to announce that its inflammatory arthritis community collage has grown to more than one thousand photos. This interactive collage includes the hands of individuals who live with many different types of inflammatory arthritis, and can be viewed online at To commemorate this milestone, Show Us Your Hands! plans to release a new 1000 Hands Poster this coming May as part of Arthritis Awareness Month.

The one-thousandth photo was submitted by Kathy Winkelmann of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Kathy was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in December 2011. “I’m just learning how to come to terms with it and not let it take over my life,” she says. Kathy will receive a complimentary copy of the upcoming 1000 Hands Poster, in recognition of the fact her hand was officially the one-thousandth photo that was submitted to the community collage.

The interactive collage debuted in December 2011. People of all ages from around the world are represented in this community project, and new photos continue to be added to on a regular basis. This community collage project serves not only as symbol of the wonderfully supportive inflammatory arthritis community that continues to grow and connect online, but also acts as a reminder that people who live with these diseases should be proud of, and not ashamed of, their inflammatory arthritis hands.

“When I first came up with the idea for this collage, I thought it would include, at most, one or two hundred photos. I’m so excited to see that the collage has expanded to more than a thousand photos in such a short period of time,” says Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, creator and one of the founding directors of Show Us Your Hands! “I can’t wait to see how much more our proud community of hands will continue to grow into the future!”

Autoimmune diseases occur when a body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In the case of autoimmune arthritis a person’s joints are frequently attacked, resulting in chronic pain and debilitating inflammation. The most common inflammatory arthritis diseases are Ankylosing Spondylitis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Psoriatic Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjogren's Syndrome, Still's Disease, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Show Us Your Hands! is an international awareness movement which serves to unite and inspire the inflammatory arthritis community. For more information, please visit Show Us Your Hands! can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Birthday Wish

April marks not only the "4th season" of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy writing and inspiring the inflammatory arthritis community, but it also marks RA Guy's 39th birthday.  This year RA Guy has a wish that will not only benefit himself, but also many of us dealing with inflammatory diseases.  His wish is for Show Us Your Hands! to become an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization by the end of 2012.  In order to make that happen, he is asking for a little help from the community.  To read more about his wish, visit Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy's blog.  While there, read through some of his posts and let yourself be inspired.  Also, don't forget to wish the old man "happy birthday".