Challenges in the midst of blessings

What are your favorite childhood memories?  Are there reoccurring times you remember fondly?  Did you have a fort in your backyard?  Did you go to camp each summer?  Did you go skiing each winter?

Photo Credit: caribb via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: caribb via Compfight cc

Yesterday morning we were blanketed in 11 inches of white.  The entire day was spent living in a beautiful snow globe.  This morning we woke to another 12 inches on top.  It’s truly beautiful.  Even more so because I no longer have to leave the house on days like this now that I’m a stay-at-home mom/grandma/trophy wife.  (I like the trophy wife the best, except when my son reminds me that everyone gets a “thanks for playing” trophy these days.)

Where was I?  Ah, yes, snow!

These multiplying inches bring back great memories of playing outside when I was a kid.  Growing up in Michigan usually meant snow in late November/early December that remained through February.

We lived on a dead end road and the snow plow would push a glorious mound of white playground and leave it three feet past our driveway.  We spent hours as kids digging holes in that mountain, climbing to the peak, and sliding back down on our bellies.

Having fibromyalgia has changed winters in Michigan for me.  By this evening the temperature will be -40 with the wind chill factor.  (That is extremely cold, even for these parts, and we haven’t seen this much snow at one time in quite a few years.)  It hurts down deep in my bones.

Saturday my daughter and I shared the shoveling duties.  I was having a pretty good pain day and my husband was helping friends move and my son was battling the flu.  That left all the scooping to us girls.  My wrists and shoulders are still sore today but the job had to be done.

Despite the aches and pains, I really enjoyed getting outside in the snow.  I bundled up more than usual and shoveled a few scoops into a pile and then stood to watch my breath leave me like a cloud of smoke in the midst of falling flakes.  Trying to remember to P.A.C.E. myself!

The best part of being out there was the memories replaying in my mind.  As kids we played outside until we were called in to thaw.  We’d drink some hot cocoa while our gloves and boots dried over every heating vent in the house.  Once our noses had turned from bright red back to their normal color we’d venture out again!

I think sometimes in the midst of our illness and the pain it can bring we need to stop and remember life before.  Not to make us sad or angry at our current state; but to be thankful for what we once had.  Each phase of life has its blessings and its challenges, its comfort and its pain.

I always try to remember there are so many that are so much worse off than me.  Not to sound pious but I’m thankful I have fibro when it is compared to a number of other illness or diseases.  I’m thankful for the strength to shovel some days when there are so many that cannot leave their bed, home, wheelchair, etc.  I’m thankful for the warm house that was waiting for me when so many are out in the cold this winter.

So today as I’m hoping this flare caused by the shoveling is on its way out, I’m trying to remember that it was caused by something I’m able to do that so many others are not.  The challenges in the midst of blessings.

Stay Well! ~ Live Joyfully!

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POST CHRISTMAS MESS

Here we are.  Monday again.  Not just any Monday, the Monday after Christmas.  Our family had our last Christmas gathering over the weekend.  My sister and her husband will head back south tomorrow morning.

I look through the house I’ve been wanting – no, needing – to get organized and I find it a disheveled mess.  The holidays are so hectic we normally aren’t able to keep up.  Then throw fibro/chronic fatigue in there and you find yourself doing just enough to survive.

My fake pre-lit tree did get put up but remained undecorated.  Yes, we had a bare tree this year – call the North Pole on me.  That has to be a huge tradition violation.

But with a 17 month old in the house it wouldn’t have been decorated for long anyway – at least the lower half.

We concentrated on the birth of the Savior and time together as a family – watched some movies and ate too much.

Next year will be better!  I’m adapting fly lady’s holiday control journal to work for those of us with FM/CFS.  But for now I’m left with this year’s mess.

So we go back to keeping the P.A.C.E.Keep up theP.A.C.E.

I think the most important thing to remember is to get back to healthy eating and staying hydrated.  Try to keep up with the daily chores and when energy and pain levels allow spend a few minutes on the mess.  If you let the daily chores go so you can do the Christmas undecorating your daily routine will suffer and you’ll get all out of sorts.  It will add to the stress and thereby increase your pain.

So turn the Christmas music on if you need it and watch a few more classic movies.  Whatever you need to extend the holidays until you can get the undecorating finished!

Stay Well! ~ Live Joyfully

Setting The P.A.C.E. With Housework

I feel like that song;  Just Another Manic Monday – these are the days when you wish your bed was already made!

I just can’t take the chaos anymore!  My house is so messy and disorganized.  We moved into a house half the size of our last one when I quit my job, and we did get rid of quite a bit.  However, when we moved in I wasn’t able to get things unpacked and organized in a good working manner.

Being in a messy, cluttered home can actually make Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue worse.  The time it takes to locate things uses a lot of energy and that’s a very precious commodity.  On days when brain fog is at its worst, the mess just causes an incredible amount of confusion and frustration in the mind.  Honestly, it’s impossible to do anything we enjoy like crafting, sewing, etc., when we have to clear off two layers of junk piled on top of the kitchen table before we can start.

Getting organized and getting systems in place that work can mean a much happier life!

I love flylady.net; her system is excellent.   I’ve tried to adapt a few things of hers like her Holiday Control Journal – you might want to check it out – it’s a great way to help get the holidays in place without a last minute rush.  But I have to tell you I can’t keep up with her. There are a few other websites like iheartorganizing.blogspot.com that I love to follow that have great tips and strategies for cleaning and organizing.  I do recommend them and think they have so much to offer by way of tips and systems that work.  The biggest problem I found with all these sights is what they list to do in a day or over the course of one month; it isn’t something my body is going to allow me to do.  I have to attack this task in a much different manner.

Keep up theP.A.C.E.

My husband came up with this little acronym – P.A.C.E. ~ Prioritize Activities to Conserve Energy.  It’s become my new motto.  I think it can easily be applied to housekeeping too!  When we only have so much energy in our day we have to decide what things are most important.

I’ve had to lower my standards on how I’d like the house to be.  I’m trying to be ok with that, but it can still be hard.  I really like things perfectly organized and pretty!  Even with lowering my standards a bit I still don’t have the house working in a way that’s right for me.

I’ve decided to push our house toward a minimalist lifestyle.  I know a lot out there on minimalism makes it seem almost like a cult – but don’t worry, I didn’t drink any Kool-Aid.  I can just appreciate the fact that having less “stuff” to shift around, organize and clean leaves you more time for actual living in your house.  After you cut through all the clutter and pare down to the items you love, you actually set yourself up for a more fulfilling life.

It’s been a lot to consider and to be honest I had no clue where to start.  I finally ended up picking the smallest area of our home; the linen closet.  I thought if I started small it would give me some quick gratification and get some momentum going to take on larger areas.  I jumped in and was actually able to finish the job in one day.  I took my husband’s advice and worked for about 10 minutes then took about 10 minutes to rest.   I threw out a bunch of stuff we don’t need and don’t use.

At this point of the game I’m not focused on making things pretty; yet.  That will come!  But first I need to get things organized and working for our family.

cleaned linen closet

I think the linen closet was a huge success and everything is organized, containerized and labeled.

Tell me some tricks and tips you have for keeping your house in order!  Next Monday we can talk a bit about our kitchen and menu planning!