Time Goes By

Time goes by…days go by and that is what is part of normal life. I love that and yet sometimes it is scary too….because each day lived in one day left to enough. There are so many things going on right now, so many thoughts and what-ifs to consider….the good thing is that I have a strong faith knowing that God has a plan for ALL things. For me, my journey is one full of pain…these past few days the suffering and pain has increased tremendously, making it oh so hard to stay positively focused. I find when my pain levels soar, I revert to being an introvert. Maybe it is just me but it is so hard to verbalize the pain…it is so hard to explain the pain..that I prefer to just not verbalize it to anyone. I stay quiet at home, usually lost in some TV show because that helps me not focus on the pain. I found a small nodule on my ring finger knuckle..I’m not 100% sure if this is the beginning of an RA nodule but it is very possible. However, in the grand scheme of things..when your pain level is 15/10 and nothing seems to change that…nodule’s aren’t the biggest thing to worry about. Still you know…I find strength to pull myself up and get with it. I manage to work (Praise the Lord for that strength!) and I manage to sit up in bed and work on my business as I can.

I can truly say, I never thought I would be a business owner, running a business that is entirely yours is a great thing. You get to make the rules, you get to determine the goals, you get to set the dreams. And no one can tell you that it might not work because as long as you work at it….the goals are possible. And I love the possibility. Growing something from nothing is a LOT of work..a lot of patience…and it takes a lot of determination. It isn’t going to happen if you are not willing to work it. It might not happen as fast as you want it to…it might not grow as fast as you want it to….and people might think you are crazy along the way. For some…all their friends and family support them 170% helping them move quickly…for others…friends/family might not help them 170%…don’t let it get you down…whatever category you find yourself in (I’m somewhere in the middle). Set a goal for yourself each month, work toward that goal, and if you get it then your jump for joy and celebrate…..if it does’t happen and you have given it your all…then still celebrate because you WORKED HARD! Just because the end goal completion date shifts…it doesn’t mean that your goals are not valid or important. Don’t ever let not making a goal stop you for working hard and pushing forward.

I things these things are some of the best things I have learned being a business owner, being a graduate students, and having a faith in the Lord. I don’t have all the answers (goodness who wants to have all the answers) but I love that I have the confidence to share my faith and my insight to those who are reading this blog. I look back over the past 12 years of my life (yes had to use a calculator to confirm it is has been 12 years since 2003)…and I realize my maturity, my growth, and my strength.

In 2003, I was a young 16 year old kid who moved here with nothing but two suitcases ready to find a dream that worked for her. Ready to make here life happen with these big dreams. The first few years here were so tough…so many bruises and bumps along the way. BUT I am happy I pushed through, I hope that is you are dealing with lots of bruises and bumps along the way that you keep pushing forward. And I say that especially if you have an invisible illness (like me, you might have more than one) and I know that the emotional journey as well as the physical journey is so tough. Stay strong, fight the fight, and keep moving. It is one day at a time! Don’t let go on your dreams…that is the bottom line!

XO J

Resting and Relaxing!

Too often I think we get too busy, we get too busy to be the friend we need to be. We get too busy to check on the friend down the street, or call someone we haven’t seen and grab coffee/lunch. There are many things we cannot guarantee in this world, but one thing that I am realizing that is so important…that is our friendships. When the world goes to crap (as we know it does often)…or when the pain is so tough and we cannot focus….we need our friends. I have found myself in a variety of times here recently where in tears I wonder…who can I call. I think back to last year…I didn’t really have names that jumped off the page of who I would call. That was because I was so busy with school and life that I wasn’t a friend to many people. I was a wife, a student, a worker and I wasn’t that much of a friend. NOW that I am Dr. T and done with school I have been determined to focus on building friendships. I am thankful one of the best ways to work on that has been my Mary Kay business. Truly I have made some amazing friendships in my unit, I have awesome clients who are becoming great friends, and I have two amazing team members that I am so thankful for. Friendships, the coffee dates, the lunch dates, the just coming over and talking, or for me playing with make up products/facials..those are the things that matter. There is so much we cannot control, especially with all our pain and fatigue…however I am determined that I will focus on the friends, the friendships, and the 3:00a.m. relationships!

Today I am resting and relaxing..I have been flaring pretty bad this week! So my thoughts tonight are short and sweet! Build your friendships! 🙂 #friendships

It is almost that time

Yup it is almost that time! That time, that moment, that day that has kept me going for the past 10 or so years. That moment I have imagined over and over in my head. A moment that has kept me encouraged and fighting toward the end goal. I always laughed and said that I would frame and hang my dissertation on the wall..and each time I said it it was like hah yah years from now.  The funny part is my copy should be here any day…..will I frame it and hang it on the wall?

Friday, the day I have been waiting for! Friday I get to enjoy walking the stage one more time as I celebrate the official completion of a degree well done. I look back over the past 12 years…so much has happened these past 12 years. Some of those things include

1. I moved a country

2. I traveled to India

3. I traveled to Central Europe

4. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree

5. I lost my Dad

6. I started graduate school

7. I got engaged

8. I started feeling sick, and no one knew why?

9. I got married

10. I moved cities

11. I started multiple new jobs

12. I was diagnozed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (over the past 5 years)

13. I graduated with my master’s degree

14. I started thinking about my future and where God will take me

15. I defened my dissertation on 02/18/2015 and I walk on May 8, 2015

MUCH MUCH MUCH has changed! I have started a business that I love, I have to consider my future and where God will take me. I suffere intense pain almost every day….and yet I am still here fighting for a better future for myself and my family! I ordered my Red Jacket tonight, which for those of you not in Mary Kay…it means that I am moving forward in my business. It means I’m growing my business. NOT because of me, but because I have amazing friends who support me, I have amazing customers who have become true gems to me, and I have found someting I love. I am truly excited to see what life will be like post-graduation. It is scary to think of all that will change, but yes I promise you changes are coming! MANY changes are coming. Some of those changes as you can read…have been tough! But EACH change grown me to the woman, the doctor, the servant-leader that I am today. And for those changes, trials, and challenges, I am ever so grateful!

To the many of you who have followed my journey for the past several years, I am thankful for YOU!. For the hundreds that follow my Facebook page, I am thankful for your words of wisdom. I have met some pretty incredible friends hrough these venue. I am so glad that you found me and I had the courage to take the FIRST step.

If you find yourself tonight, at a crossroads…unsure of the first step…all I can tell you is to take it! It is a risk, it is terrifying..but if I had not done that MANY years ago my life would not be where it is today. I am ever so grateful for the few who have walked this journey with me.

To my dad that will watch me graduate from above, I miss you! I always dreamed that Friday would be a day you would get to see. I did it! I did it and I hope you are proud of the daughter that you raised. You will never get to hold my dissertation, you will never see the dedication page I wrote to you. But I  am ever so thankful for the many life lessons that you taught me. On Friday, I will carry you in my heart!

To the future that God provide!

XO
J

It is the attitude

It is our attitude that helps us either maintain a positive outlook or fall apart because of the things in our lives. Life is in itself tough….things happen we don’t expect…things don’t have that we do expect. And when you add on top of life the many struggles with autoimmune illness (and many other things)…life gets more complicated. I have learned so much in my short journey (I say short because I have met so many battling for 20-30 years). One thing that I am learning now is that importance of positive thinking. The importance of NOT letting someone else or something else have power over me. We all have those people who say hurtful things, those situations (be it work, friends, home life) that just get under our skin. We ponder those things over and over and over. And we wake up the next day still thinking about those things….and what I have realized is we are giving people POWER over us…POWER they should NOT have over us. Because honestly we cannot change them…we can only change US! As the month comes to a close I will share that I have been challenging myself to not dwell on things I cannot change. To not let someone have power of me, and I have been focusing on letting go of things I cannot control. If I cannot change it, fix it, make it better…..then I can adjust my attitude…I can smile when things suck, I can pray for strength, and I can focus on what good will come out of negative situations. I have LOVED developing a deeper relationship with my faith, I have enjoyed some great habits that are being built (21 days friends!).

The past several days I have wanted to blog…but I love how I blog only when the word sort of seem right! 🙂 I am ready to see the changes and the future…but I am also ready for the many great things I will do today. I have LOVED having a gratitude journal (if you don’t do one…get one!). It helps me focus on the positive things. We need to do that more than what we do.

I am really enjoying what I am learning having my own business! There are so many things..I don’t think I could blog them all even if I wanted to do so. I think I am getting the most benefits..the growth I have seen in myself…WOW! And I’m excited to see who will be my teammates..who will form my unit….because in God’s time (not mine, I have to continue to remind myself of this) I will be blessed to be a part of a unit of women that have come together to dream and change lives. I’m grateful for the many things I have learned and the many things I will learn.

The RA pain and the Fibro pain won’t win! Even though some days it feels like they will. I’m hopeful that I can find a good med combo…it hasn’t happened yet…I’m almost 90% positive that I’m failing Enbrel (I think I mentioned that before)…I would appreciate any advice on how to go forward. As I know some patients have gone through multiple biologics…Enbrel is my first.

Stay strong everyone! Hold fast to your dreams and goals and remember…if we look for good we will find it! And realize that things will happen in the RIGHT time (granted that might not be our time) but things will happen. If you are determined…you will win the fight 😀

Flares 

Sometimes I wonder if flares start because your body just doesn’t like changes in routines! I did a few things today, not more than I would have at my regular job….but as of on cue I started flaring. The good news is my Enbrel is on board as is MTX. The downside is despite this combo it appears my SED rate is NOT dropping :-(. Since October when I started MTX and Enbrel I had expected my SED rate to drop….but it has only increased. I have a feeling come my next appt my rheumy and I might be discussing a new treatment routine. 

I have also realized that while I hate vitamin shots I am horrible at remembering the sublingual VitaminB! I need to take it twice a day to help battle the CFS…my other alternative is Aderal, which I hope to not need. 

Part of my routine has been to develop routines for myself. A better bed time schedule, a schedule for when I’m up doing things and ways to elimate some of the unnecessary stress. These changes also include my more positive thinking, a gratitude journal and a 6 item must get done list. It will take time to learn to manage the fantastic five but I am confident I can do so.

I am doing well in my MK business and looking forward to entering leadership. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed being mentored and mentoring others. I’m learning so much about myself and I think what makes me the happiest is that I am able to reach out (such as CRPS awareness this month) and touch lives. While in my doctorate program I had started searching for a way to reach out and bless others….Im excited through my business I am learning ways to do that. It is certainly a growing process but one Im willing to learn to do. 

Tonight my goal is centered around lessening my flare! Hopefully the weather will improve tomorrow and I will wake up feeling better! 

#pushingthroughtheflare #fightingforanotherday

Raising Awarenesss

Part of what I enjoy of having a personal business is that I can raise awareness for a variety of things. One group of people that have really touched my heart are those struggling with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). This disease, like those that I struggle with, is tough! I was doing research and found some articles describing their lives (http://www.rsdhope.org/what-is-crps.html and http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/detail_reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm). Daily painful suffering is not only physically taxing but it is also emotionally taxing. As I have seen in my own life, living with pain daily….is more than just a physical struggle.

As the Houston CRPS group is preparing for their FIRST awareness event (yes SOOO many people have never heard of this disease) I felt it would be awesome to support them in some way. So an idea formed and with the help of some amazing MK people and friends here is the idea that blossomed. I hope you share this post with as many people as you can! I hope we not only RAISE AWARENESS but also bless those many men, women, and children struggling with diseases. Satin Hands doesn’t sound like much, but it is sometimes those little things that truly touch someones life!

From my Mary Kay webpage (don’t forget to “like” it  :)) –

“In preparation for their FIRST Awareness Event I am “adopting” some amazing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) fighters in our amazing city and presenting each of them with a special gift to make them feel beautiful, pampered and loved. I would love for you to partner with me and my Mary Kay business to help! For $35, you could sponsor one of these truly incredible fighters and provide them with a set of Satin Hands! As a thank you for your $35 donation, you will also earn $10 MK bucks to spend on a treat for yourself! Get started by sending me an email at JoannaTucker@MaryKay.com or message me through this facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheBeautifulPlace). Let’s bring joy to someone else today! smile emoticon ‪#‎sharingjoy‬ ‪#‎spreadinglove‬‪#‎bringingawarenesstoCRPS‬ ‪#‎crps‬ ‪#‎Crpsawareness‬
‪#‎houston‬/crps/rsd/fms”

Warmer weather soon!!

I am counting down the days!! In just under two weeks I will be sailing down to Mexico! I cannot wait. This cruise will be my third, and my first to go with a group of amazing ladies. I cannot wait to see the sand and clear blue water. I cannot wait to just relax and not have the craziness of work. I am also thrilled because I told myself last year when I booked the cruise that I would be on this cruise DONE with school! 🙂 And I am sooo proud that I am done with school! 🙂

This week the weather has been colder for us than usual. It truly has made me think of all those who battle the many invisible painful illnesses while living in those cold cold temperatures. I know how bad I felt this week with the 20-30 degrees…I cannot imagine months of this weather. If you live in those temperatures and you battle an invisible illness, you are a warrior!

Another great thing that made today awesome…I ordered my regalia! Each time before that I ordered my regalia I remember thinking…two more degrees to go..one more degree to go… Now it feels weird that unless I go back for another track in something else…there will be no more degrees to go! Time flies…hard to believe I’ve been in school 12 straight years! Well that is after high school if you count the 12 years of K-12 that is 24 straight years of being a student! So I have only 4 years of my life where I was not a student! CRAZY!

Now my focus has turned 100% to job searching and working my business. I love that I am still in love with my MK business. The opportunities to network with some pretty amazing strong women of leadership has been so good for me. The opportunity to meet so many wonderful women is also great! And honestly, I truly have enjoyed the many many things I have learned. And now my focus is also shifting to what I will do 8-5 after graduation!

Tomorrow I am hoping to have an awesome relaxing day, visiting with friends and just enjoying a hopefully warmer Saturday. I was able to FINALLY take my Enbrel and MTX! First time this month! My burn has finally healed (4 weeks later!) so I have been behind on my medicine. But tonight was the first night and low and behold…I started a fever!! UGH! Our bodies..if it is not one thing it is another! 😦 Insanity!