Moving on With MS

Today we are headed to the MS Center in Teaneck for my annual visit.  Truth is, I am really nervous.  The last year has brought some definite changes in my health.  I don’t always notice them but on a recent visit with my daughter in NC, she told me she is seeing the change and not for the good.

So for those who may be new to my blog, I will give you a brief history lesson.  I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) in February 2016.  I should say, I was told I had it BUT the doctors didn’t want to write it anywhere except on my chart.  See my symptoms didn’t fit the checklist they had for an MS patient.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) covering nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Let me back up just a little bit. For years, I have been complaining about not being able to remember things. As a recovering addict of 26 years, I always said “the drugs killed my brain cells” and life went on.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago when after my husband suffered a health crisis, he started saying ” you are different”. I talked about “not remembering things” to the doctor but no one seemed concerned. Then there were other health issues: IBS, glaucoma, chest wall syndrome (yes, it is real), unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive (yes, I am telling all), adjustment disorder with depression and periodontal disease. Believe it or not, I was okay with it ALL until the night I fell apart telling hubby how bad the memory issue had become. I truly thought I was on the same road as my grandmother – Alzheimer’s. At my  next primary appointment, we finally got him to listen to how bad things were with my memory.

After countless visits to the Neurologist, MRIs, a spinal tap, endless blood tests, and an EEG – there was no treatment options available.  Just wait.  So wait we did, and in 6 months, I was blessed with no changes in my lesions.  Then in June 2017, we noticed some more changes.  Difficulty with my joints, not sleeping, and mood swings.  The new MRIs showed more and enlarged lesions so it was time to take action.

For some it may sound crazy but I opted to wait until now to go to the MS Center for treatment options. Why?  I didn’t want to be sick for the Leadership Incentive Trip.  I wasn’t sure what the future held and I wanted to enjoy the trip with my daughter. In the meantime, I have been working with a chiropractor using holistic options to help with some symptoms.  An adjustment monthly helps with the tingling.  A gluten free and dairy free diet has helped me to feel better.  The CBD oil and the iodine drops help with brain fog. It is a journey and I definitely struggle with all of the things I can’t eat.

This is not about a “pity” party or being Negative Nellie. Just for today, it is about squashing the inner gremlins who want this life challenge to defeat me.  I am not ready to give up fighting but some days it is hard to keep up the fight.

So, today we head to the MS Center to see the MS doctor.  I’m fearful but I trust God has a plan for me.

I am blessed to be able to work from home.  My WHY is about giving back to others and not letting MS take over my life. I will continue to use my business and my blog to encourage others who are struggling with this disease or any chronic disease. I want to bring a smile to those who are struggling on the inside but on the outside look “normal”.

Life has definitely become a challenge for my friends and my family. They have learned to be more patient, not only with me but with each other.  They are learning even if “I can’t remember”, I still care.  We are learning to embrace each moment – pictures become more important than ever – they do help me to remember a little.

“My planner” is the key to keeping my life in order.  I am learning I can still have a successful business despite the memory issues – lots of notes, systems and a sense of humor.  My customers are amazing despite my inability to remember the names of products or prints.  I am amazed with 98% of my business being online, I am able to grow and pay my bills.  Customers even joke when I call them by the wrong name or confuse them with someone else.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog which is definitely more personal than I have written in a long time. All I ask is you continue to keep me (and my family) in prayer, and be understanding when I give you a blank look as if to say “I should know you but I don’t”.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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Want to Get to the Next Level?

Do you know how to get to the next level?  No, I am not talking about an online or video game.  I mean if you are striving to reach another level in your business or in life…. Can you guess what it is?

If you said “tell yourself the truth“, you are right!  The funny thing is, most people don’t take the first step.  Why?  Because it is hard.  But the truth is the only thing which will empower you to breakthrough to your highest potential.  Whether the truth is about a bad habit, or the truth about a relationship, or the truth about your circumstances, acknowledging it is freeing.

The next step after facing the truth takes Courage.

I want you to think about the last time you said the phrase

I hate to admit, but _________________________.

We have all said it at some point.  Perhaps you are okay in your career or business, but there is a nagging feeling it is time for a change.  Been there, done that!  Maybe a relationship looks great from the outside, but you know something isn’t quite right.  Or maybe someone has pointed out a problem with your child, and you are defensive because you did your best to teach them,  but if you’re honest, you’ve noticed the same problem.

The reality is this little a phrase allows you to notice the smallest grain of truth just might be surrounded by many positives. It is time to embrace the truth.  It is a chance to address what needs to be addressed.  It is the chance to be open enough to ask for help, find a creative solution, and let go of perfectionism in favor of true happiness.  Remember it is progress NOT perfection we are aiming for.

In order for us to move to the next level, we have to be willing to face the challenges before us instead of ignoring them.  We need to step out of our comfort zone so we can stretch and grow. In the process, we will develop courage and wisdom which will take you to a new a new level.

So what is the grain of truth holding you back in an area where you want to thrive and grow?

For me, it is the lack of confidence combined with the brain fog which keeps me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  For me, the sentence would be:

I hate to admit it, but I still play the comparison game.

UGH!  An ugly truth but I am so ready to take the step to change it.  So, how did you complete the sentence?  Once, you have stated the truth, have the courage to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What next step could you take to address this challenge?
  2. How can you be the bravest version of yourself today in your creative work and life?

For me, it is to stop doing what everyone else is doing and do what works for me.

Maybe for you, it’s showing up to your laptop, sitting down, doing work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe for you, it’s saying no to distracting things which keep you from building the impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable life you’re yearning for.

Maybe for you, it’s finally getting started on a new project, podcast, book, or product but you’ve been too afraid to pursue.  For me it is putting myself out there with videos.

Maybe for you, it’s replying to an email, returning a phone call, or saying yes to a coffee date which may lead to an exciting new opportunity.

Maybe for you, it’s reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, giving yourself permission to not walk this journey alone anymore.

Fear!  It isn’t going to disappear overnight. Fear will always be part of the journey.  The challenge (one of the biggest for me) isn’t to become fearless.  The challenge is to live taking action towards our goals even when fear is along for the ride.  It is stomping on those inner gremlins letting them know who is boss.

I challenge you to join me, in asking yourself every morning how you can be the bravest version of yourself today?   And when the “day” seems to overwhelming and fear, and self-doubt, creep in ask yourself – how can you be the bravest version of yourself in this moment? What small courageous step can you take in the direction of the work and life you are longing for?

Share your “statement” with us.  I would love to celebrate and encourage you along the way!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Are You Feeling Lost or Overwhelmed?

We have all been there at some point in our lives.  The moment when you feel lost, overwhelmed, or totally out of sync in your work/business and in your life. The moment when you feel uninspired, burned out, and unsure of what to do next.  What is a girl to do?  Ask yourself these questions and answer them HONESTLY so you can get back on track.

1. What’s feeling good?

When we feel out of sorts, this can be a tough question.  I mean, how do you really know what feels good when you are feeling lost?  Take a few minutes and think about: What you really enjoy in your business? What things are you loving in your life? What do you want even more of moving forward?

These questions will help you to see what is going right for you and as a result, help you reconnect to what lights you up.  Do you know the things which light you up?  Once you get super specific about what feels good, then you MUST ask yourself – how can I get more of these things?

2. What isn’t feeling good?

Now, the positive energy is flowing.  It is time to look at what is not working.  We look at the positive first so the negative doesn’t open the door for the inner gremlins to beat us up even more.  So, what is leaving you feeling drained, unhappy, and frustrated in your business and your life? What do you want way less of moving forward?  What sucks your energy?

Once you get a handle on where those energy leaks are in your life and business, you will be able to get super clear on how you can minimize the not-so-feel good areas in your business and your life.  There are going to be some unenjoyable things in our business and life – I mean does anyone really enjoy doing laundry or cleaning the house – but they have to be done.  The key is to see how we can change things up so we can find a balance between the enjoy and the don’t enjoy.  While at the same time, start eliminating some of the things which are totally sucking the energy out of us.

3. What are my core desires in my business and my life?

This is a great time to dream a little.  Think about what you want in your business and in your life? Do you want to grow your business?  Do you want to work less?  Do you want to connect more in your relationships? Do you want more self development? Do you want more clarity and momentum?

Get super specific about your core desires. Allow yourself to want what you truly want.  Listen to what you really want. Don’t just follow the crowd or let the expectations of others drown out your core desires.  These core desires will be your anchor as you move forward.  With every step you take in your business and your life, you will ask yourself, “does this align with my core desires?”.  If the answer is NO – don’t do it.  If the answer is YES – you will move forward.

4. What are my core priorities in my business and in my life?

Fulfilling our desire is wonderful but the reality is we still have responsibilities we need to show up for thus holding ourselves accountable along the way.  Ask yourself – what are the core priorities in my business and in my life?  Are there deadlines I need to meet? Are there relationships you want to invest more time in?  Do you want to prioritize your health and wellbeing?  Do I need to improve my money management?

Whatever your priorities are, you need to get super specific about them. Your core priorities just like your core desires, will become your anchor when you start to drift.

5. What distractions do I need to let go of?

When we are feeling lost, or overwhelmed, it usually means our focus and our actions are out of alignment with our core priorities, and desires.  Since you are super specific on what your core priorities and desires are, now we can review your current routine, workload, and what the areas are you are focusing on.  Ask yourself – what do I need to let go of?  What is just a distraction and isn’t serving me in my business or in my life?  What do I need to give myself permission to say no to so I can make more space for the things which truly matter?

Have these questions help you to find some focus but more than anything, have you given yourself permission to move forward in a way which feels most true to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Gossip is Deadly

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broadleaf Gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.

I asked a neighbor about my flowerbed’s demise and she determined, “You’ve got slugs.”

Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”

“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.

I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The next morning I viewed the “monsters” remains. The beasts were about ¼ inch long—about the size of my little toe nail.

How could something so small cause so much damage in such a short amount of time? I mused. Then my mind thought of something else that is very small that can cause enormous damage in a short amount of time…gossip. King Solomon wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Just as one tiny slug can destroy an entire flowerbed, so can one tiny morsel of gossip destroy a person’s reputation, mar one’s character, and devour a friendship.

In the South we have this knack for making gossips sound…almost nice. All you have to do is add “bless her heart” to the end of the sentence. It goes like this: “Susie gained fifty pounds with that last pregnancy, bless her heart.” “Marcy’s husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart.” “I heard Clair yelling at the postman yesterday, bless her heart.” But all the “bless her hearts” don’t mask what it really is…gossip.

Solomon wrote, “Whoever repeats the matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV). Charles Allen, the author of God’ Psychiatry observed: “Those of great minds discuss ideas, people of mediocre minds discuss events, and those of small minds discuss other people.” Maybe if we are spending our time talking about people, we need to fill our minds with better material such as good books and other reading material (and I don’t mean People Magazine or the National Enquirer).

What exactly is gossip? Webster defines gossip as ”easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It is repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.

We have often heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Perhaps that is why gossip is so appealing. It suggests a certain amount of power because, “I have the inside scoop.” But gossip is not power. On the contrary it shows a lack of power…lack of self-control.

Today, let’s make our lives a NO GOSSIP ZONE.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Who Will You Be Today?

Today we are going to stomp on those inner gremlins, getting us ready to sparkle for the weekend….

I don’t know about you but I struggle being confident. I know I write about and when people meet me they sometimes find it hard to believe but trust me, it is true.  I struggle with trying to be the woman God wants me to be.  I know I am not alone because I hear it from others all of the time.  Maybe you know someone who is feeling the same way?

Think about school shopping with your kids.  Were these some of the questions they pondered?

  • Jordache jeans, schrunchies and white L.A. Gear?
  • Lacoste, cardigans and penny loafers?
  • Black eyeliner, mega earrings and a mini-skirt?

Alright the brand or style may be a little different but you get it, right?  Many girls worry about looking like everyone else.  I was grateful my daughter, was just a tad different.  Unlike me, she wanted things the others weren’t buying for school.  She had her own style and didn’t worry about if she fit in because of her clothes.

These are the girls who stomp on their inner gremlins in their youth and move on to confident women.  Then there are those who hold on to those fears and people pleasing attitudes so when they grow up, they are struggling to stomp on the gremlins as adults.

I wasn’t sure of the girl I was or the girl I wanted to be. I stood on shaky ground relying on the fickle and flippant opinions of others. I bobbed and weaved to fit each situation I found myself in. I often found myself acting all sorts of ways, so I could be the person I thought my friends and family wanted.

As an adult, I fit other roles – single mom, career woman, wife, business owner.  In each one, I did the same bob and weave.  When I retired, the bob and weave stopped and I was stuck.  Stuck trying to find me and who I would be.  With the help of some amazing women, I found me and on most days STOMP the inner gremlins.

They helped me to see I don’t have to spin like the Tilt-O-Whirl at the amusement park; trying to be everything to everybody. Their encouragement, support and guidance has led me to a stronger walk in my faith and as a result not a copy of someone else.  I still skip the line in the comparison ride and jump on but each day I become more and more confident growing into the women I was meant to be.

Did you know, a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful?  Age 9 … before this crazy, comparison ride calls for them to get on.

As children grow from child to adult, God (or your Higher Power) can help them to build a solid foundation on Him, instead of on the ever changing opinions of others. They don’t have to feel like they’re constantly pushed in a million different directions. He can make them brave and give them the courage to be their true selves and build a confidence which stands firm for the days to come.

I found a book for girls between the ages of 8 – 12 years old.  It is something I wish I had found many years ago or at least when I was in my early years of HS.  The book is called “Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You”, by Lynn Cowell.  It is written especially for girls between the ages 8 – 12.  Lynn helps to prepare girls to:

  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts.
  • Shape their self-worth and overcome temptation based on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.

I am grateful to be part of a company who developed Gives for this purpose:

We believe confident girls and women can lead more purposeful, thriving lives and are the key to strong families and communities. Gives is a partnership between our consultants, customers, hostesses and employees working together to support nonprofits aligned to our mission.

Every time you round-up your order, you help fulfill the mission of Thirty One Gives.  Your change helps to make a difference.  How will you help to make a difference in the lives of tween girls so they become confident, strong women?  Or maybe you are the woman who needs help stomping on the inner gremlins, reach out and know you are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!