LOL Gratitude Challenge

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That’s what my friend and I call things that we start with every intention of following through on…and then we just don’t.

LOL give up red wine.

LOL clean my house.

LOL New Years Resolutions.

You get the picture. So yeah…LOL gratitude challenge. I think we can all agree that I’m grateful…so we’ll just move along now.

For me, it’s a mixed reaction when I can’t follow through on things. Things like making a decision to give up Starbucks for Lent only to wind up at Caribou…are amusing. I seriously could be a lawyer with how I allow myself out on technicalities. I find it fairly hilarious and amusing.

But what I don’t find hilarious or amusing is that sometimes I simply can’t follow through on more important things. Can’t follow through isn’t necessarily the most fair statement; more like terrified to commit out of fear of not being able to follow through.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m doing very well right now. Everything is very well controlled by medication and has been for some time. I feel…healthy. It’s a strange feeling and I don’t trust it yet.

Sad, right? But when you’ve had that carpet seriously yanked from under your feet once or twice, it’s a hard thing to trust.

I’m honestly not sure what I’m afraid of committing to right now either.

Is marathon running in my future? Not unless I can take a golf cart.

Will I be selling all my belongings and moving to do humanitarian work in a third world country? Doubtful. I won’t even touch door handles in public restrooms.

Skydiving? I do not understand why anyone would want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

But I’m kinda itching to push myself again. To commit to doing something a little out there, a little un-me, a little ‘take this RA and shove it.’ But also safe, clean, and not completely unattainable. Something to help me trust feeling good again.

I’m not quite sure what that will be yet. I’m open to suggestions.

No more LOL Gratitude Challenges. :)

The little things: Gratitude Challenge #6

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I could probably write a month of posts detailing how grateful I am for this cat. Catember?

But for now, I’m grateful for the comfort her purrs provide. She runs to the door when I get home, motor going. She climbs on the couch or bed to cuddle, motor going. I wake up in the middle of the night, she’s right next to me purring.

If I’m sick or sad, she doesn’t leave my side nor does she stop purring.

I’m so grateful for my happy little beast!

Birthdays: Gratitude Challenge #5

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And true to form, I’m a day behind. Which shouldn’t be surprising and which will be explained in today’s update very shortly.

Birthdays. Oh how they have changed since Facebook reminds all the people you haven’t seen since middle school to write on your wall. You feel special, yes, but at least for me, the fact that I can send you a birthday wish without actually pulling up your page and seeing what’s really going on in your life just seems crazy impersonal.

So I’m very grateful that last weekend, my entire family was able to be together in DC for my dad’s birthday. Spending time with the birthday guy or gal is so much more special!

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Harvest: Gratitude Challenge #4

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Harvest: the gathering of crops from fields. Reaping what you sow.

Hmmmm, this one is a little bit more difficult. From a literal perspective, I ain’t no farmer. Seriously. I kill plants. Not just kill them. I am a serial killer of plants: I make them dead and then I laugh as they whither away. I bought basil, cilantro, and mint this year to grow and cook with; I just never watered them and thought it was amusing how quickly they turned brown.

Not the best harvester of crops in the literal sense.

BUT. Reaping what you sow. Getting benefit from things that you invest in.

That, I know a few things about.

So today I am grateful for getting (and hopefully giving) benefit from the things that I choose to invest my time in. Friendships, family, activities. I’m also grateful for the growing discernment regarding things that I should no longer invest my time in as there is simply no positive outcome for me.

I may not cultivate crops, but I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at cultivating relationships that support me through RA and other things, and that I try my hardest to support through situations as needed.

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Me and one of my most solid friends, still smiling the day that my alma mater crushed her alma mater in football!

Lessons learned: Gratitude Challenge #2

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When I saw that today’s prompt was ‘lessons learned,’ I wasn’t quite sure what to be grateful for because I have learned so many lessons. Usually the hard way.

Lessons like: tequila shots are a bad idea on an empty stomach, consistently watering plants with the Cokes you didn’t finish will kill them, or attempting DIY plumping repairs when you have no actual plumbing skills will only end up costing you twice as much money.

All good pieces of advice, by the way, but lessons learned more out of oops moments rather than lessons I am truly grateful for.

And then it hit me in the face sinuses what very recent lesson I’ve learned that I am truly oh-so-grateful for.

Last Tuesday morning, I woke up with a cold. Sore throat, coughing, drainage, sinus and chest congestion oh my! Traditionally, as soon as I have all of those symptoms present, I am at the doctor’s office begging for antibiotics as it always without fail turns into a sinus infection and bronchitis. A common cold normally knocks me out for two weeks and I worry worry worry myself to pieces about it.

So last week, I realized that I simply didn’t have time to be sick, didn’t have time to go to the doctor, and had too much going on to worry myself into a frenzy about getting sicker.

I did something amazing and very much out of character: I chilled the heck out.

I have no proof that I stressed myself into sinus infections in the past but…I took cold medicine, I drank hot tea with honey and a little bit of vinegar ALL DAY, I used my nasty disgusting neti pot twice a day, I blew my nose probably 100 times a day, and drank a glass of red wine every night…for my nerves.

And guess what? It’s been a week and the cold is gone all on it’s own!

I’m grateful that I learned to just chill out and be ok with the fact that I had a cold, and that maybe if I was diligent in treating it on my own, I could avoid it becoming worse and avoid another round of doctor’s appointments and antibiotics. If nothing else, I’ve learned that having a cold doesn’t have to be so stressful.

Surprises: Gratitude Challenge #1

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Being diagnosed with a chronic illness that wreaks havoc on your weight is a ‘weighty’ thing. At age 26, it sucked. At age 34, still sucks. I’m happy to say that this past year, I have gotten a handle on my diet, added in exercise, lost 35 pounds, and feel and look like a whole new person.

I don’t take this weight loss or the addition of physical activity lightly. Physical activity can be very difficult for even the mildly affected RA patient. But I’ve pushed myself while respecting my body’s boundaries and the benefits have been huge. My range of motion has increased, inflammation has subsided, and most importantly I am building muscle up around joints that tend to be affected that will offer protection.

That’s not the surprise.

Sadly, even at my thinnest back in 2009, I thought I was a cow. RA really changed the way I looked at myself. I didn’t see a pretty 30 year old. I saw swollen joints. I saw a limp. I saw bags under my eyes.

When I gained weight (a significant amount), I saw all those things AND an orca whale.

Being able to be active again has made me feel like the me before my diagnosis. Even though I’m 10 pounds heavier than I was in 2009, I don’t look in the mirror and see an RA patient. I see a 34 year old who has worked hard for calf muscles, arm muscles, a leaner body and oh yeah…she’s done all that while dealing with RA. That’s quite an accomplishment. Feeling like I have at least some control over my body and my health is just so empowering.

All that to say…I feel more like the person I was pre RA than I ever thought I’d feel.

I feel confident. I haven’t felt that in a long time.

Now…on to the surprise!

It is no big secret that I am super obsessed, in love, meant to marry James Franco.

I’ve seen every movie he’s made. I’ve even read his books. I follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Heck, I even follow his mom on Twitter. Does that make me sound a bit cray cray stalker? I promise I’m not!

Point being, we are meant to be. LOL.

Anywho…James asked for Halloween pictures on Instagram. I was heading out to my Zumba Halloween party in costume so I obliged.

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I know what you are thinking.

That girl looks so…classy.

For the record, I have the whole outfit. Because every single 34 year old woman needs a Hooters getup ‘just in case.’

Y’all…30 seconds after I posted it, HE FREAKING LIKED IT. Big deal yes? Even bigger- he didn’t like a bunch of other pics. JUST MINE!

He also liked a picture of my cat. I am smitten.

We are so getting married.

So I’m grateful for my surprise that my huge huge huge crush thinks this gal who has worked hard in spite of RA is one hot Hooters gal.

For the record, I do not work at Hooters. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.