Newness

There is something about it being the beginning of the semester and I am not in school! It is like wow, where have the years gone. I didn’t realize that school was such a part of what I did and how I thought. It has been a period of transition that is for sure as I adjust to what is it like post-school life. However, there are two things I do know….school is never over…you (at least I think) that I am continual learning. I am learning new things, and no maybe I don’t have homework to do anymore…at least for right now, I am still learning. And what I am also starting to understand is that we have to make goals. Without goals, you are kind of like a ping pong ball just flying through the air. You have to aim for something, does that mean you will get it every time…does it mean it will happen the day and second you plan for it to happen…not at all. That is part of it being a goal, someone told me it doesn’t matter if the date shifts..what matters is that you have a goal.

So I have my list, my goal! And I will say probably the biggest thing I have learned to value since being done with school…I can be present with my friends. I can spend time getting to know more about their lives, I can talk, text, call, Facebook message, and not think…ok that is one more hour that I have to stay awake reading this book or writing this paper. I am free to be present with people and I love that. I am loving that I am getting to talk to friends and make better friends and deeper relationships.

I guess the biggest life lesson is that things shift! Even this blog, I was thinking about that today. When I first started this blog (yup you can go back and read the very first blog post) I was scared, angry, and unsure of what the future would be. I knew I would have to learn to live with the Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Lupus, the Fibromyalgia, and all the many other health issues that have come including Chronic Fatigue, Sjogrens, Asthma, Type 2 Diabetes, and much more. So my blog was selfishly my therapy. It allowed me to connect and find people that were like me. But what I don’t think I realized was that this blog helped me grow, I connected with some amazing people who have become great friends. And those people have watched me grow and mature through the past two degrees, and nearly 6 years. This blog has grown beyond anything I could have imagined, I never though when I fist put my thoughts down what would happen. And I love that! I love that people can watch life happen, because that was the purpose. Nope I’m not a doctoral student anymore (yay!) but I am still learning, growing, changing, and advocating for a better future, for goals, for you to live you passions and dreams, and for you most importantly to not give up simply because you are battling an invisible illness.

Hang in there, and thank you for letting me share my life with you!

XO
J

It’s your time

It is your time, your time to pick joy through the pain or the time to pick yourself off the ground and keep going even when every part of your body wants to stay sitting down. The ironic thing with the RA and Lupus (that so many don’t understand) is that no matter the rest my body never feels rested. The pain is high and steady. The never ending severe pain and fatigue puts me in the place often where it is my time to choose, do I stay in bed and call in or do I get up and push through. Do I stay in the house and shut myself away because I’m so fatigued or do I push myself out the door and talk to someone? Do I look for a good even when it doesn’t seem like there is a good?

I don’t know why this week I thought a lot about my late daddy. Maybe because it has been nearly 7 years since he died….maybe because there are still so many days that I wish he was still there. Who knows maybe it was because I’m a MK Foundation Ambassador and I am so thankful to be able to bring awareness to cancers that affect women. Or maybe it was because I just thought about my home a lot this week, my home as in home home. The little village at the top of a hill, nestled 5,000 ft up, on the El Salvadoranian/Honduran border. I miss the times when I was a kid…it seemed so easy then. But pain was still there! Pain still plagued me then. 

I for sure though never thought I would be where I am today. I stopped today and realized when I was a 12 year old kid I remember walking through the dark streets of my village and vowing then to change the world. I told myself I wanted more! I never thought that almost 20 years later I would not be living in my country but I would be living in Houston, Texas. I wouldn’t have barely finished college but I would have finished a doctorate! Wow! I have electricity, running water, a car, and it doesn’t rain 6 months of the year! It is amazing how my determination in my time has led to the future I have now. 

I know our worlds are different but I encourage you, take the time, push ahead. And know God has you! He has you in his mighty hands! 

Joy comes from

Joy, joy comes from an unbroken spirit! We fight so hard every day, sometimes just opening our eyes takes everything that we have. Sometimes the doctor appointments leave us more broken with less answers and less hope. Or at times our loved ones and friends leave us feeling at a loss, or with the feeling that this world doesn’t understand our world of chronic pain.

Sure we can describe our world! We can share how just one day is for us – the intense pain, the weakness in our hands, the complete loss of energy to just do the basics like get out of bed and brush our teeth, or even trying to get sleep. But truly our world is so hard to get because the bottom line is, we might look fine.

I’ve heard so many times in my life since my dx in my early 20’s……you look great today so you must be better! What the world fails to see is the true picture of me. The real me, the hurting me. I can count on one hand the people I’ve opened the door too, who get to see the real broken me. The person who cries at night because she can’t even open her toothpaste tub. The person who needs help getting dressed or showered. Yes that person exists, that person is me. The person who stared for two days at her pickle jar, because she was home alone and couldn’t open it. The person who wanted ketchup for her Mac and Cheese but whose hands couldn’t open the bottle. The person who has had to learn to be creative to open the Peanut Butter jar but who couldn’t get the jelly because she couldn’t get the lid off. Yes that’s me again! 

But despite those things, despite the crappy hands, the never ending pain, I want to be joyful! Why? Because life is too short to let these thinfs (and much more) break the spirit of joy. There is good somewhere in the day, there is joy to bless one person every day (at least). That is a choice, many days a tough choice but I am glad every day I make the choice to smile, put on my face, get dressed, and push forward for my joy moment! It is just that a moment, a moment we might work all day to find, but when we do…it makes our day.

Awareness was on my heart this morning, find your joy moment today. Don’t give up, joy can be found today. “Seek and you SHALL find.”