2ND QUARTER UPDATE- MY GIANT MUST FALL

Okay so I know this is a little late, but here is my 2nd Quarter Update.  Since the end of May I have been in kind of a slump.  It started with a nice vacation to the beach, a wonderful week off from work.  When life returned to normal I couldn’t get motivated to do anything.  It rained for about the next two weeks and my joints were hurting bad.  I didn’t want to write, go to Yoga and I abandoned my 100 day project.  I didn’t have energy for any activities which I feel I should be doing almost daily.  After a few weeks I decided I needed to snap out of the slump.  I picked up a book I had purchased back in December and started to read.  It is called “Goliath Must Fall, Winning the Battle Against Your Giants” by Louie Gigilo.

The book discusses how we need to focus on Jesus in order to win the battle over the giants of fear, rejection, addition, anger and comfort.  Comfort.  Well that battle sounds familiar.  Is that what I have been experiencing recently?  It is much easier to just sit and watch TV every night after work that it is to be productive by writing in my blog, reading the Bible or exercising.  It is understandable that during the times I have flair ups of my illnesses that I would stop certain activities to conserve energy.  The problem is not being able to go back to these activities when the flair up passes.  That is where I am right now.  But, if I stay in this place of comfort I am not following the purpose God wants me to fulfill.  By not taking care of my body, I am not allowing myself to function properly.  If my body is not functioning properly, I am not motivated to write in my blog which helps others.  I also am not studying God’s word to share with others or praying for others needs.  In order to help others I need to care for myself first; therefore, I need to step out of comfort and be aligned with God.

An idea I came up with was to make a vision board.  The board will display all the goals I have for caring for myself which in turn allows me to help others.  By having a visual tool, I will be reminded constantly of the key concepts I wish to accomplish.  Hopefully the motivation to actually do the activities will follow.  What tools do you use to motivate yourself?

Here are some photos of my vision board:

Board

board2     board3

 

board4

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SUNDAY SUPPER – ROASTED VEGGIE, SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN BURRITOS

One chore that is difficult for those with chronic illnesses is cooking.  Some days one is too fatigued to prepare a nutritious meal from scratch.  Take advantage of good days and make some meals that can be put in the freezer.

Freezer cooking is a great way to save time on days when energy levels are low.  Make a batch of these, then pull them out when you need a quick meal!  Serve it with homemade guacamole and tortilla chips, delicious!

Makes: I made approximately 15 burritos using 1/2 cup of filling each
Storage: 1—10″x 10″ sheet of aluminum foil to wrap each burrito, place in 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag.

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 4 large red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups salsa (your favorite!)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 24-30 whole wheat tortillas (we like the Truly Homemade ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread onto two large baking sheets and roast in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until veggies are all soft and browned. Allow veggies to cool enough to handle. Transfer roasted veggies into a large bowl, add in beans, salsa, cilantro and lime juice and toss until well combined. To assemble burritos, place one tortilla on a square of aluminum foil, top with 1/2 cup-1 cup of filling, sprinkle on cheese and roll burrito closed. Wrap in foil. Place wrapped burritos in labeled gallon freezer bags.

To reheat: unwrap foil from frozen burrito. Wrap loosely in a paper towel. Microwave on high for 90 seconds to 2 minutes or until the burrito filling is hot.

https://wholefully.com/freezer-cooking-101/

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!

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

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?

 

1st QUARTER UPDATE 2018

Image result for blogiversary

Well, here we are finishing the first quarter of 2018.  Things are so good so far.

Sorry I have slacked off on blog posting this year.  Speaking of the blog, today is my four year Blogiversary and last month was my 100th blog post.  I can’t believe I have maintained this task for so long!  Usually I will start a hobby and after a month or so I pass on to something else.  I think though the blog is more than a hobby, it is therapy to me.  Initially I thought this blog was going to be about the more medical aspect of my illnesses but it has become more about the emotional part of dealing with chronic illness.  It has helped me explore my true feelings about my life and helped me embrace my challenges.

Some people may wonder why I want to share the somewhat intimate details of my health issues with everyone on the Internet.  I think it is important to share one’s experiences with others because being open with ones’ struggles can help others going through similar situations.  It creates a support system to engage the people with the issues to take action regarding their condition.  In addition, I think sharing with others educates the public on how issues affect inflicted individuals.  This is not to gain pity but to gain understanding of the difficulties others face and encourages people to help each another.  God created man and women to create a community.   Though community we can support each other to overcome any adversity.

In a recent blog post, Maintaining Sanity after Psychosis, I shared about my Depression with Psychosis.  I was afraid I was about to break down again.  Since then, I have focused on staying engaged in activities so I started taking Yoga classes.  By keeping myself involved in activities I have gotten past my feelings of a breakdown.  The last couple of weeks I was sick and then I was out of town so I missed a few Yoga classes.  I actually felt sad about not going.   This week I am back to my schedule and I can’t wait for the session tomorrow!

I have discovered that writing these quarterly updates keeps me more focused on my goals.  It allows me to see my progress.  For quite a while my goal has been to incorporate regular exercise in my daily activities.  I am looking forward to next quarter as I move towards attaining that goal.