Posted in Website Review

Fibromyalgia Information: Nutritionist Resource

Nutritionist Resource is a UK based website that offers a vast amount of information and resources about nutrition. Despite its location, it is a valuable resource for everyone about all things nutrition without all the medical jargon.

I was contacted to share the site’s Fibromyalgia section with my readers.  Having written my own fibromyalgia lifestyle guide, I appreciate the vast amount of information available at Nutritionist Resource on fibromyalgia.  Of relevance is the sections on diet and how a nutritionist can help you.  Also, please take a look at the Share your story link, and take the time to share your experiences if you have worked with a nutritionist in the past or currently do. Check out the stories others have shared.

Other great topics on Nutritionist Resource include nutrition related to cancer, anemia, chronic fatigue, stress and women’s nutrition, to name a few.  Take a look at the recent news section for information on variety of nutrition topics, including food cravings, portion sizes, shopping lists, and so much more.   Last, don’t forget to check out the expert section of this site. It turned out to be one of my favorite sections, as I love hearing from people who either are living with health conditions and making healthy choices or those that work with others to help them create and manage a healthy lifestyle.

Overall, great resource for fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.   And if you don’t know what nutritionists do, there is a FAQs page to here you out.

Posted in Acceptance, Life in general, Motherhood, Tough Choices

That was 21 years ago, and 2 husbands ago…

As I sit here on this rainy, cold, fall Saturday morning, I am thinking about where my life is now. And I realize something very important.  I am not the scared girl I was 21 years ago. I always had a rebellious side. I always wanted to be someone that I was told I couldn’t be but when it came down to it all, I did what was expected.  Do I regret doing what my family wanted? For a long time, I thought I did but for all the wrong turns my life, I am still right where I need to be.  See, if not for those obstacles, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today – strong, successful, determined, capable, and flexible but as stubborn as ever.

I have spent a lot of my life struggling to do what is expected of me especially when that is not what I wanted for my life. In hindsight, I never expected the lessons that came with life.  August would have been 21 years since I married my first husband. I sometimes I feel like the men I married took away 21 years of my life I can’t get back because neither marriage was good for me – especially for my emotional health. But then I remember what I got out of those marriages. I got my kids, and then, I realize that all my regrets don’t really matter.

At the time I was thinking about leaving my second husband, I was struggling with my chronic illness diagnoses, my brother’s illness, and then his death. Shortly after, my mother had a stroke and I was taking care of her. Then one day, I woke up and I realized how severely depressed I was. Depression was far worse than anything I had ever endured. It was lonely and scary, but somehow, though the grace of God, I made my way out of the darkest hole I had ever found myself in.  With therapy and medication, I find a part of me that for so long missing. The strong me – the “me” that hated defeat, that didn’t need acceptance, and the one that felt enough for herself and for God, and didn’t need to be for anyone else.

Sometimes, I would love to go back to a time when it was just me, young and not stuck in my life but seriously, that was 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago. I will never be that girl again and while looking back is bittersweet, I wouldn’t trade that girl for the woman am I today (although I wish I had her health).  I recently spoke to a former teacher of mine who was not the least bit surprised how much I have overcome.  He said that he always knew that I had it in me to rise above and make the best of difficult situations.  He reminded me that in the end I am still me, just all grown up and upgraded.

The truth is, I just took the long road to get to where I am today. I have struggled to get here and I have questioned myself, God, and my faith many times.  I still struggle, have setbacks where I second guess myself, and I still struggle with my God and my faith.  The only difference is I don’t struggle for as long. I don’t second guess myself as often, and I don’t let people get into my head. And while sometimes, I wonder where God is I still lean towards Him especially during hard times.  The reason that I have changed is because I have learned to know who I am, what I stand for, and mostly that I am enough.  I will never be the girl I was 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago and I accept that.

And for all the times I have wondered where God was when I struggled and fell, he was right there by my side lifting me up. How else would I have gotten up?  I don’t know what God sees in me but He sees something, and He has made me believe that everything is possible, especially when I believe in Him and myself.

I spent a lot of my life trying to be accepted by others. I have taken blame for things I didn’t do by simply not responding or defending myself.  I have forgiven even when I have been hurt so badly. I have learned that I have to forgive if I expect to be forgiven.  I have given people help that turned around and stabbed me in the back, or that forgot my constant kindness no matter how many times they hurt me.  In those moments, I question my choices and then I remember that the reason that I bounce back from setbacks is because of the person I am, and that is what God sees.  He sees me hurting, struggling, stumbling but trying even when I have nothing left to give.  But He also sees something in me that I don’t see. I don’t know what that is, but who am I to question the Almighty?

I am not the girl I was 21 years ago, or the woman I was 5 years ago.  Both were weak, self-sacrificing in the name of acceptance and thought that people cared about their tears. But I was sadly mistaken. The girl I once was grew up and while she is still willing to help others, she is cautious and no longer lets anyone in. She kept secrets for others, even though they didn’t keep hers.  The people she thought she could trust with her secrets reminded her that no one can be trusted, and that her secrets should be kept to herself.  She now bares little no resemblance to the girl from 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago.  She is gone and you know what, the woman she became, she is done looking behind her, and she is focusing on looking forward.  The past is the past for a reason, right?

Posted in Life is too short

A Little Update

I have not blogged here in a while. A few of you have emailed and asked if everything is okay.  I have been quite busy.  Things are going great and sometimes, I think when things are well, we have a tendency not to the sure the good stuff.

I did have a bad flare recently and I am still dealing with a recent sinus infection.  That is because my immune system really sucks.  This last one was a fibromyalgia muscle flare.  It was pure torture but like always, I bounce back stronger than ever.  But otherwise, everything is going well.

Career-wise, everything has been going well.  I have had well over 100 articles published and 4 treatment guides.  I am still working on my book but it is kind of half way there.  It would nice to land a publisher next year.  My job is going well and I really love it. I have a couple great bosses who respect my need for independence and it has worked out pretty well for all of us.

The boys are doing well.  My little one turned 7 today and is in 2nd grade now.  My teenager is a sophomore now and he is doing well in school.  He will getting his driver’s license soon.   The rough patches from last year are behind us.  Now, I can say he is a typical teenager.  My girls are doing well too and I talk to them often and I am grateful that they are back in my life. Hopefully, they will live close soon.

I am finally out of the hurdles that I dealt with towards the end of last year. For a while, it felt like I was drowning because of the choices I made, then I was barely staying above water, but I can finally say I am past that all.  I did what I always do – get up, dust myself off, and get down to business.  It was my mess and my choices, and I took responsibility to clean it up.

I have come to a point in my life where I am content with who I am and I am moving forward.  I still have some things I’d like to change but they are out of my control.  I have chosen to keep the toxicity out of my life and it has been good for me.  I choose to be kind even when I shouldn’t.  Mostly, it is because I am tired of conflict and also, because the stress is not good for me.

I look back at my life and my struggles, and they always circled around what I thought was expected of me.  I no longer care about what anyone thinks about me or my choices.  At the end of the day, I answer to the Highest Power, and I am choosing to make the best of this life He has given me. Every day, the Almighty shows me what a fighter and survivor I am.  I trust the Almighty because without Him, I wouldn’t be able to raise these two boys alone.  One day, they will be men and it won’t be because of everyone who thinks they are well meaning, it will be because God was by my side through it all.

Sometimes, I wonder why this world won’t leave me alone, and then I look at my kids, and nothing matters but them.  We all have anger but I wouldn’t be a good health advocate if I didn’t try to see past my own hurt and anger.  My late brother was always so happy.  He was always full of life, always smiling, laughing and singing. There wasn’t anything special about his life.  It was just the perspective he took.  I try to remember that when life gets me down.

And the only thing missing in my life will come soon enough.  I know what I want and need, and I know what is best for my kids and me.  I have had my entire adult life to figure it out.  And for once, I am choosing not to let anyone dictate my choices.

Thank you for those who have checked in.  You are in my thoughts and prayers as well.  You all are!

Posted in Life in general

Who are any of us any way?

In grand scheme of life, who are any of us? We can only be the people that God intended us to be.  Even if that person is constantly trying to do right only to feel that that right is in vain.  People could stoop to the level of others or they can just walk away and sometimes, it is best to walk way. Because no matter what you have done right doesn’t compare to what is expected of you or what others perceive you as doing wrong.

I have always tried to compensate for not feeling adequate.  I have always tried to help others to the point of self-sacrifice only to my own detriment. I only can give what I can and then, when I have nothing left to give, I don’t know what people expect from me. I have risen to the challenge when others needed help and when no one else stepped up but somehow, those same people haven’t been there for me.  I have been wronged just like the next person. Unfortunately, how we view things or perceive them is our own downfall.  To be human is to expect so much more of others but it costs us.

I have gone through every possible scenario and in end, I realize that I don’t have to keep self-sacrificing if the result is always the same. No one else in my life has given as much as I have. They know this and I know this. I can only move forward and rely on God for the direction he takes me.

Who is anyone to judge someone else when they have not walked a mile in their shoes? I tried to understand another’s perspective and somehow, I fell short. In the end, all I can do is head in the direction that the Almighty intended me to.

I have learned that relationships are a two way street and that just because I am willing to forgive doesn’t mean others are as willing.  Just because I am trying not to burn bridges doesn’t mean anyone cares. I try so hard to just mind my business but ultimately, people every one of us has a choice.  We can accept people as they are or we can judge them harshly without realizing there is an even bigger judge out there.

On several occasions in my life, I have helped others and I have never asked for anything in return.  But at some point, I feel like I am deserving of the same support and good will.  I am not saying that I don’t make mistakes.  Who doesn’t? But I feel like every time I have made a mistake, I have been alienated for it but I don’t do the same. I quickly move forward from what has happened. And even I am honest and pure hearted, the same people don’t recognize that.  And what I have come to realize is that if you are different from others, standing by them when they desperately need support, is the only time they will recognize your worth.  The rest of the time you are not good enough.

There was a lady I worked with years ago.  Her name is Cheri, wonderful, sweet and kind lady who was terribly hurt by her family.  I didn’t understand why she allowed herself to be distant from them.  But what I understand now is that when the people who are closest to you continually let you down, you just give up expecting a different result.  I don’t expect a different result any more.  I expect more of the same.

I don’t expect anyone to be there for me, simply because I’d be there for them or because out of some kind of obligation.  I don’t any more. I just find peace knowing that no matter what I do acceptance will never happen and I am tired of trying.  Actually, I am okay with it.  The only person I can change is me. And if that doesn’t work for others, there is not a lot I can do.  I can only lean on the ones who accept me as I truly am, who don’t want to change me, or who don’t think they are better than me.   I just don’t care anymore and that is who I am, who I have become, and who I will continue to be. I can’t apologize for that and I can’t apologize for things I didn’t do in the name of acceptance.

Who are any of us any way? Let us not judge others when we have not walked in their shoes.  And as for me, in the words of Shakespeare:  “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

Posted in Acceptance, Experince, Life in general

Stop Being Selfless and Self-Sacrificing

Months ago, I was told I needed to be selfish and less selfless and self-sacrificing.  I took that advice to heart (although I was criticized by the same person for finally taking that perspective).  It took me a while but one day, I realized that it felt good to be selfish and put myself first once in a while.  I stopped caring about who my actions or feelings upset because I was not causing hurt to anyone.  I became happier because I wasn’t sacrificing myself in the process.  At first, putting myself first felt weird and it carried some guilt with it but with time, I realized that if I didn’t do it, people would continue to step all over me.

Now, my stress levels are down and well, people are unhappy.  But the fact is that they were unhappy before.  I thought that my catering to others, I was making them happy but all I got was hurt.  I catered to the point of my own unhappiness.

I thought by self-sacrificing meant being a good person and someone who helped others.  I sought acceptance of others, rather than self-acceptance, and that was hurting me more than anything.  I was tolerant of others and their faults, was afraid to be harsh because I hated that for myself and I stuck with others even when they weren’t there for me.  Moreover, I always suffered alone and shouldered my own burdens alone.  I never asked for help and I hated being fussed over.  I endured. I was patient.  I tolerated.  I was considerate, ethical, and honest. I was generous and was willing to give the shirt of my back and never waited to be asked. All for what reason? For acceptance? I self-sacrificed for acceptance?  Does that make any sense? Why did I do that? I don’t know anymore.

All of our lives, we have been told to give.  We are told to share since childhood. Our religions tell us to give others and we are told God loves us the more we give.  Every charity makes us feel so bad we feel we have to give.  Some of us have taken one message out of this – give until hurts and then some. Of course, giving isn’t wrong but if you are always giving and never receiving, then you are giving others permission to expect permanent things from you.  If you are always the one who continually forgives and always bending over backwards for others, you are sacrificing your own happiness in the process. After all, you are entitled to receive and put yourself first sometimes.

I am not saying to stop giving or helping or apologizing. I am saying stop being taken advantage of.  Stop being so selfless and self-sacrificing.  Step letting others step all over you until you have nothing left to give.  I am talking from experience – a whole lot of it!

We train people to take advantage of us and it has taken me most of my adult life and a whole lot of therapy to understand that.  If you are over-giving and people are not grateful, appreciative happy and caring towards you and expect more, then you have done all you can do and then some.  I have learned to the secret to knowing when you should and shouldn’t give is by listening to your heart, your body, your mind and your soul. If you are giving to manipulate, then that is not healthy and if you are giving for acceptance or second chances, that is just as bad. Your heart, mind, body and soul will speak for you when something doesn’t feel right so listen carefully.

When you feel overwhelmed about giving or you feel you have done all you can do, take a step back and observe the imbalance.  If you don’t like what you are seeing or feeling, get your courage on and change the situation.  You are responsible for your own life. Every adult is responsible for their own life and it is not your job to be selfless and self-sacrificing to fix or accommodate other adults.  For me, that understanding is a major breakthrough that actually feels really good.

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Posted in Life in general

Being Left Alone Isn’t Too Much to Ask  

There comes a point in all of our lives when we just need to be left alone, to think, to love and breathe without the opinions of others dictating our paths. And being alone isn’t a bad thing. It gives us peace of mind from all the distractions and obstacles that hold us back. Mostly, the people that hold us back. We try to convince ourselves that we are trying to be the people we want to be but at some point, we realize that we are really living for is expected of us. And that realization, while known subconsciously, takes a different perspective when we actually acknowledge that we are bound by the expectations of others.

Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted 11 experiments on how well people tolerate a few minutes of alone time.  The research found that while most of us want quiet tine, we have a hard time tolerating too much time without people vying for our attention.  I am at a point in my life where I have to disagree with that. I feel like it depends on the nature of the relationships in your life. I cannot live a life that involves people vying at my attention when I don’t have it to give. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule but it is really more about me getting older.

Grown children, siblings, elderly parents, so-called friends, employers – how much can a person be sandwiched trying to please everyone?  Benjamin Franklin said that death and taxes were the only two things certain in this life.  I disagree – he forgot the crap in between. He didn’t realize that a modernized society would complicate our lives. He didn’t know single moms would be a dominant feature in the 21st century.  He didn’t realize that over 50% of the workforce would be women who were not only breadwinners but also bread makers.

Mr. Franklin, like many, couldn’t have imagined a world that involved single mothers trying so hard to live to every expectation of society.  I couldn’t when I was a little girl.  I thought one day I’d find my Prince Charming and we would live happily ever after in our beautiful home with our white picket fence and our well-behaved and smart children.  I didn’t get any of that right.  I got three children (almost grown) living overseas with their father always vying for my attention, not realizing what kind of life I have here.  I have two children here who need me to be both mom and dad. I work two jobs and I live with two chronic illnesses. My life has other priorities. I have to be more than anyone else in my life has to be and I have to do it alone.

Prince Charming isn’t anywhere in sight.  He sure isn’t here painting walls, repairing things, and planning a move.  He is not even anywhere in my imagination.  He is not here helping me to feel better when it feels like I am alone because the people who are supposed to be here keep letting me down.  He is not here when it feels like it is my kids and me against the world.  And, in some respects, I am glad he is not here. Because so far, he has only been Mr. Wrong. What is the point of Price Charming if I have to change for him? Or that he would have to change for me? Because that has been my only experience thus far.

Change or being someone that I am not has been my theme for too long in hopes of pleasing others. And it has gotten me nowhere. I have decided if people cannot accept me as I am, they can keep their distance. I know I am a handful. I know I am strong, independent and I am opinionated.  And I am human and I make mistakes just the like the next person.

But I don’t need to be reminded of my flaws and I have been reminded way too much. I have a big heart and I know it but sometimes, that big heart gets is stepped all over. I have had people’s backs and when push came to shove, they turned their backs on me.  They treated me badly even simply because I wouldn’t allow them to get me down. I have been let down, put down and judged harshly for too much of my life but I finally decided I am too old for this crap. And if people can’t see that I just want to be left alone rather than living up to impossible expectations, it is their loss. I don’t think being left alone is too much to ask.

Posted in Life in general

Thought for Day 31 of 2015: Continue to Be the Best Version of You  

We officially have arrived at the last day of January 2015.  We are already a month into 2015 and so many of us have already thrown our New Year’s resolutions out the window. But just because the things we planned to do on January 1 didn’t go smoothly, it doesn’t mean we give up. We should always continue to better ourselves whether it is the New Year or not.

One of things I decided was important for me was to make a major life decision in 2015. I was looking a job closer to home that I would be happy at. I am not saying that I did not like the job I was at currently but my situation changed and I no longer wanted to be at that job.  So, I started looking until I found something that was the right fit. I start my new job on February 2 and while I am nervous, I am also very excited.

I stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago.  It is not that I can’t keep them– although I have had my share of failed ones – it is that I don’t feel that the New Year is the only time we should better ourselves. I continue to make decisions day in and day out to make myself a better person. Sometimes, I succeed and other times, I fail miserably.  But there are also some wonderful lessons gained from all my experiences especially the ones where I fail.

It would have been nice to continue these thoughts through the entire year but I didn’t think I’d be able to follow through. I made my goal smaller and I managed to get through all 31 days of January with some really great ideas for 2015.

The last of these posts is me asking every one of you to continue to be the best version of you that you can be.  And  when you finally reach that version, find a better version so that you can continue to better yourself.

Continuing to be the best version of me is my motto for 2015. I am in no way am I perfect or just we where I need to be. If anything, I am where I need be right now.  And I will continue to work on where I will go next.

Posted in Thought for 2015

Thought for Day 30 of 2015: Stop Giving a Crap

Here we are at day 30 of the New Year. There so many things to keep in mind, mottos to live by and resolutions to keep.  All these things are great but it is a good time to also take stock of the things that we let get to us. These are things that are wasting our time and energy and causing us stress. So, in the words of Elsa from Frozen, “Let it go.”

There is so much you can stop giving a crap about in 2015.

Stop making plans with people who you really don’t want to see.  Stop giving in to haters and stop worrying about finding the one. Why not enjoy the person you are even if you are single.

Stop worrying about missing out and being embarrassed about wearing sweats in public.  Wear shoes that feel comfortable rather than hobbling in ones that aren’t in order to keep up with the latest fashions.

Stop giving a crap about those extra five or ten pounds.  Stop feeling guilty about getting to bed early or staying in bed late.

Stop putting yourself out there to well-meaning people who expect you to be a certain way.  Stop worrying about people who don’t give a crap about you and mostly, stop trying to make everyone else happy.

Instead of giving a crap in 2015, focus on making yourself happy.

Posted in Thought for 2015

Thought for Day 29 of 2015: Write Down Your Life Plan

Writing down your life plan might seem like a silly thing but if you actually write your plans down, you will have a guide for all the things you’d like to do.  Your life plan is a detailed description of decisions, intentions, dreams and hopes for the future. It is a great way to initiate improvement in your life.  Education goals, career aspirations, marital life, having children and end of life decisions are things that you can address in your life plan.

The more detailed your life plan is, the more clarity you will get in prioritizing your life. Make sure you understand your needs – emotional, mental and spiritual. When considering your hopes and dreams, consider your strengths, talents, weaknesses and the things you can improve about yourself.

And don’t forget – you can adjust your life plan as your life progresses.  But thinking ahead can give you a plan of action to keep you grounded and on your way towards the future.

Posted in Thought for 2015

Thought for Day 28 of 2015: Learn to Relax

It seems like relaxing that is something that we should all be able to do but we are all constantly stressed. We also live in a day and age where working too much is the norm and certain health issues don’t appear to have an easy fix.

Relaxation is something we can actually learn and practice. It is just as simple as being happy. And like being happy, learning to relax is important to your health and well-being.

Do yourself a favor in 2015 and learn all the ways you can to beat stress, relax and slow down.

Posted in Thought for 2015

Thought for Day 27 of 2015: Be a Good Person

Since the beginning of time, philosophy has debated what good is and so many of us find being good more complicated than kindness. It is true that all of our journeys are different, but doing and being good has to do with discovering who you are and the role that you play in the world. And in order to truly be good, you have figure out what good means to you. It could mean doing good for others, or simply being a kind and honest person.

Good doesn’t have to be what your parents told you and it isn’t something you do for recognition or reward.  It should be what you believe makes you a good person on your own terms. Being a good person can mean giving people the benefit of doubt. Obviously, don’t compromise your safety or happiness in the process. But assume that everyone is good and act accordingly.

Continue improving your understanding of what being a good person is. Learn from your mistakes, from others and from history.  Observe situations and think before you act.  Seek out good people you can learn from so that your journey isn’t lonely and becomes a better experience. Be an inspiration to others and make yourself available to those who need a guide. Believe in the power your actions will have in influencing others. When people see you doing good things, they will be reminded to take positive action on their own.

Choose to find joy in goodness. If you spend too much time focusing on the bad, you miss the good things that are happening. Notice the small kindnesses that you find yourself and others doing and constantly remind yourself that there is good in this world.  Because when you surround yourself with good deeds and good people, you can see all the things you can be grateful for. So, be a good person and do good out there in the world. And most importantly, be the best version of you that you can possibly be because that version has more good inside than you ever thought possible.

Posted in Thought for 2015

Thought for Day 26 of 2015: Practice Self-Compassion

Self-acceptance seems to be a hard thing but it is actually very simple.  Love yourself in the way you love others. Give compassion to yourself the way you do to the world.  Give willingly to yourself in the way that you would for loved ones.

You would never tell an upset friend to just suck it up. So, why give yourself a hard time? Instead, try to find ways to care and comfort yourself when things are tough. Focus on not criticizing or judging yourself for shortcomings.

Be self-compassionate to yourself by understanding you are not required to be perfect. And don’t confuse self-compassion with self-pity or self-indulgence. Being self-compassionate simply means you are willing to be kind to yourself, to acknowledge you are a human being, and to be mindfulness of the way life works.

In 2015, try to remember that having compassion for oneself is no different than having compassion for others.  Self-compassion will allow you to create a space within yourself that is free of judgment. Choose to see your hurt and your failures with kindness and caring. After all, you are only human.