MY TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS!!! (for living with Chronic Illness)

Life is a little different since I have developed multiple chronic illnesses.  Some daily tasks can be tiring and difficult to maneuver. Here are some of my favorite products I use to help me function better and provide some comfort while living with chronic sickness:

1.  Bamboo bed sheets:  These sheets are soooo soft!  They are great when my skin is sensitive to the touch due to Fibromyalgia.

Home Environment Queen Sheet Set, Grey Charcoal, Rayon from Bamboo

2.  Contour pillow:  Again this helps on days when my skin is sensitive.  When sleeping on my side, the pillow rests between my knees so they do not touch.  Fibromyalgia causes Allodynia, pain following a normally non-painful sensation.  I experience this when the Fibromyalgia flares up.  When my knees brush against each other, I feel intense pain.  This pillow eliminates the touching,  It also helps alleviate pressure on the back to help with my spine issues.

Contour Memory Foam Leg Pillow Cover Ecru

3.  Wedge pillow:  This serves two purposes.  The first is I can put it behind my head to elevate my torso while I am reading or writing in bed.  Second, I can turn it around and put it under my knees to elevate my legs when they are swollen from Psoriatic Arthritis.

Brookstone 4-In-1 Bed Wedge Pillow In Grey

4.  “Lush” Avocado Co-wash Shampoo Bar:   Yes, shampoo in a bar form.  This is great because sometimes I have issues squeezing plastic bottles due to Arthritis in my hands.  On some days it is tiring to wash my hair due to fatigue from my illnesses.  Since this particular bar is a shampoo/conditioner combo, I only have to wash once!

Avocado Co-Wash

5.  Dry Shampoo:  Speaking of fatigue, there are times when I do not want to wash my hair at all!  Dry Shampoo to the rescue!  It freshens the hair without having to exert too much energy.  It is the most amazing invention!

sHAMPOO

6.  Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soak and Lavender Foam Bath: These two products work amazing together!  The Epsom Salt Soak helps relax soar muscles and reduces swelling.  The Lavender Foam Bath provides a bubbly, soothing aromatherapy experience while softening the skin.  Take me away!

Dr. Teals Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution - Natural Beauty & SkinDr Teal's Soothe & Sleep Lavender Foaming Bath - 34 fl oz

7.  Essential Oil Diffuser:  Speaking of aromatherapy, an Essensial Oil/Aromatherapy diffuser is a wonderful tool!  I love using it about a half an hour before I go to sleep.  It helps me relax and meditate so I can clear my mind before falling asleep.  It is a great stress-reducer!  It also works as a night-light.

PureMist Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser - SpaRoom, Silver

8.  Bamboo bathrobe:  Again, bamboo is soooo soft!  This bathrobe feels fabulous on days when my skin is sensitive and wearing clothes bothers me!  It is so soft and keeps me warm.  I have even worn it to bed a couple of times.

 

9.  Switch Stick:  I don’t have this particular product but I own something similar to it.  It’s a cane with a seat!  This works great for when my husband and I go hiking.  When I get tired, I just open it up and take a seat!

Switch Sticks Walking Stick With Seat, 2-in-1 Folding Walking Stick Seat, Bubbles

10. Journal:  My other favorite things comfort my body but what about comforting the mind?  Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to unload one’s troubles and reflect on one’s thoughts.  It always helps me clear my mind of worries and conflicts and brings me closer to my feelings and spiritual side.

Markings by CR Gibson Twin Wire

Well those are a few of my favorite things!   Hope you enjoy using them too!

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MY “AWAKENING DAY” ANNIVERSARY

Last year in my 2nd Quarterly Update I talked about a book I read, “Writing Down Your Soul” written by Janet Conner.  The book was about how to write from your subconscious mind.  It outlined how to engage in a ritual to reach one’s deeper thoughts creating a more spiritual connection.  I call the ritual my Awakening Ceremony.  I began this process one year ago on June 1, 2017.

I start my ceremony by using aromatherapy to calm me.  Then I read a bible devotional and say an opening prayer.  Finally I begin to write about things that happened in day that I struggled with or things that went well.  I delve further into my goals and contemplate ways of improving my life.  Today I re-read the pages I had written last year.  It was quite an “awakening” moment as I discovered how deep my thoughts were and how much that assisted me in expanding my ideas to reach my goals.  Some of the goals I am still working on this year but I see progress.

It has been several months since I have practiced the full Awakening Ceremony but I do parts of it on most days.  Re-reading my journal from last year has shown me that it is a very productive tool and I need to resume a more steady schedule of writing from my soul.  LET THE AWAKENING CEREMONY BEGIN!

SUNDAY SUPPER – PANZANELLA WITH WHITE BEANS

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 ½ cups cubed crusty whole grain bread (1/2-inch cubes)
3 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1 medium English cucumber, diced into ½ inch pieces
One 15-ounce can of low-sodium small white beans or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 scallions, green and white parts, sliced thinly on the bias
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 large basil leaves

Directions

Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until toasted and crisp, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, beans, scallion, and thyme. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and the vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Right before serving, add the toasted bread and tear the basil leaves into small pieces into the bowl, then toss to incorporate.

For Vegetarian meal:  Add a hard-boiled egg for extra protein

For Meat lovers:  Add strips of chicken or steak

 

http://www.elliekrieger.com/recipe/panzanella-white-beans-2/

SUNDAY SUPPER – MEXICAN RED LENTIL STEW with PINEAPPLE SALSA

Mexican Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry red lentils 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • 3-4 stalks celery 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 10-15 dashes hot sauce 
  • 1 medium lime 
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro 

Instructions

  1. Add the dry lentils to a medium pot. Cover with water, swish to rinse, then drain off as much water as possible. Repeat this process until the water remains mostly clear. After draining off the last rinse, add four cups of water, place a lid on top, and bring the lentils to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let sit with a lid on for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, begin the rest of the stew. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sauté both in a large pot with olive oil over medium-low heat until soft and transparent.
  3. While the onions and garlic cook, rinse and dice the celery. Add the diced celery to the pot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the celery begins to soften.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and hot sauce to the pot. Stir to combine.
  5. The lentils should be finished cooking at this point. Drain off as much of the cooking water as possible, then add the lentils to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Stir to combine, then allow the soup to simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. The lentils will soften and break down further as they simmer, helping to thicken the stew.
  6. Pull the cilantro leaves from the stems, give them a rough chop, then stir them into the stew. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the broth and stir to combine. Taste the stew and adjust the salt or hot sauce if desired.

https://www.budgetbytes.com/2009/12/mexican-lentil-stew/

Fire roasted tomatoes, flavorful spices, and fresh lime and cilantro to finish. This Mexican Red Lentil Stew is anything but ordinary!  BudgetBytes.com

 

PINEAPPLE SALSA

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 c. Chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
    Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions

  1. Slice off a third of the pineapple lengthwise, leaving the stem intact. Slice the fruit around the perimeter, angling your knife towards the middle, then make a few cuts across. Scoop chunks out with a spoon and chop into small pieces.
  2. Transfer pineapple to a large bowl and mix in peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice. Season with salt, then transfer back into the pineapple bowl.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipes/a53020/pineapple-salsa-in-pineapple-recipe/

Pineapple Salsa Vertical

100 DAY PROJECT UPDATE

100 DAY

Earlier this month I began a 100 day Bible Study Challenge.  Each day for approximately 10 minutes a day, for 100 days, I will work on a Bible Study.  I have been pretty successful so far only missing a couple of days.  On the days I missed, I made up for it the next day.

I have discovered that taking this extra time to really understand The Word has given me new insights.  One verse I studied recently jumped out at me.  It is 1 Thessalonians 5:23:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here we are shown that all three parts of man:  mind, body, and spiritual, are all connected.  If one concentrates on the physical and neglects the other components there will be an imbalance.  It is like a three- legged chair.  If one leg is longer than the other, the chair will not sit straight.  One needs to address all three aspects of self to maintain balance.

This is exactly how I am trying to manage my chronic illnesses.  I can’t just focus on the physical and mental aspects.  I need to incorporate the spiritual as well to maintain stability.  Actually the spiritual aspect is most important.  Romans 5: 1-4 tells,

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

It is the hope in my soul that allows me to endure the sufferings from my illnesses.  Having my soul at peace allows me to handle the physical and mental issues caused by sickness.  Without hope, what is there?

TAKE 10 PLAN

For those who live with chronic illness it is sometimes difficult to accomplish daily activities such as cooking, cleaning etc.  With Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, my body cannot take too many events in the same day.  One technique that can be used is Pacing.  For me this means limiting the number of deeds done in a day.   For instance, if I know I am going on an outing with my husband I will cook the day before so I don’t have to cook after the outing.

This has lead me to the idea of the Take 10 Plan.  If one breaks down activities into 10 minute increments it makes one more productive.  Instead of cleaning the whole house in one day I concentrate on a room per day.  I will take 10 minutes to clean the bathroom sinks then go back later and take 10 minutes or so to clean the shower, etc.  By splitting up the tasks it helps prevent my body from getting worn out while still getting chores done.  I apply this to washing clothes as well.  I put in a smaller load of laundry so it takes less time to fold the load.  This means I have to wash more loads but it lessens the movement I need to do at one time.  This allows me to rest in between creating more rest time but still allowing productivity.  I think this technique is an excellent way to get things done without sacrificing health.

What can you do in 10 minutes?

 

THE 100 DAY PROJECT – BIBLE STUDY

100 DAY

I recently learned about the 100 Day Project which is officially April 3 – July 12.  This is a community project shared on Instagram annually.  The idea is the participant chooses an activity or habit one would like to work on 10 minutes a day for 100 days.  Initially the challenge was to complete a work of art each day then post pictures of the products on Instagram as proof of completion.

There are a few areas I would like to work on myself.  I like the creative aspect and would love to do the challenge creating greeting cards.  I would break it down to completing one card every five days.  This would generate 20 cards by the end of the challenge.  The second area I would like to concentrate on is exercise.  I have been trying for quite some time to get on a regular exercise schedule.  My idea would be to do 10 minutes of exercise three times per day.  Maybe if I dared to do it for 100 days I would actually make it a habit!  Lastly, I would like to have a daily bible reading practice.  I will confess, I do not read the bible every day.  Each January my church starts a yearly bible reading schedule.  I have tried to do it but usually I only make it to the end of January then I get so behind I can’t catch up!

I think it would be difficult to take on all three challenges at the same time.  I have heard when one is trying to make changes it should be done one at a time.  Therefore today, April 8th, I will begin 100 days of bible study which will conclude July 17th.  I will use a program I found on-line as my guide. I will need to account for my studies so I purchased a journal to record the verses I am reading each day and maybe give myself a “happy face” sticker for each day I complete.

smiley