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Inspiration

What a Difference a Year Makes

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What a Difference a Year Makes

Today, April 17, is our son Bryon’s birthday.

This time last year, our lives looked a lot different than they do today. Steven (my husband) was in California with Bryon taking him to his final week of chemo. I was at my daughter Genette’s house in Virginia on April 13th when he finished his last treatment. I found myself there again this year, but with my husband. I flashed back to receiving Steven’s phone call that chemo was finished; I had a total meltdown when I heard that news! Finished!

The picture of Bryon that Steven sent me on that final treatment day was hard to see; he looked completely drugged out. But this year? This year Bryon is, well, Bryon again. His beard is back, his smile is back, and his joking attitude is back. There are residual effects from having the chemo, of course (he fights with neuropathy in his feet), but Bryon, my son, is returning.

This year, Bryon has a fiancé, Amber, and they will be getting married in November. Amber stayed by Bryon’s side and helped him fight his way through the challenges of cancer and chemo. I would say that I am excited about her joining our family, however I feel as though she is already a part of us.

Last year in February I went out to California to be with Bryon as he started his fight with chemotherapy. Carmen (our youngest daughter) went next to be with him for the second week-long round, Genette went out for his third round, and Steven went for the fourth. This year we will all be in California together, and it will be for a much happier occasion.

Yes, today is Bryon’s birthday and what a difference a year makes.

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Sjogren’s Syndrome Awareness Month

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Sjogren’s Syndrome Awareness Month

April is Sjogren's (SHOW-grins) Syndrome Awareness Month. Sjogren’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks the moisture glands in your body. It is systemic, and I know quite a bit about it because I have it. It is not something I post about very often; I don’t want people to think I am a disease. Nor do I want others to worry about me or think I cannot do my job because of it.

You may have heard of Venus Williams, Shannon Boxx, and Carrie Ann Inaba; they all have Sjogren’s and live with it every day of their lives, just like I do. There are adjustments that they each made in order to live a great life, just like I have had to do. My body rejects and attacks my moisture glands; I take medication, some supplements, and drink a whole lot of water!! I carry a water bottle with me where ever I go. I do not produce tears very much, so I wear some special glasses to help me with the dry eye. I need them especially when I am outside, close to a fan, or near air currents. I use a lot of oils and lotions on my skin because it is dry. I have changed my diet, make sure I wear sunscreen, keep eye drops on hand, and get the rest I need. I have never canceled a gig because of Sjogren’s; I have, however, left the dishes in my sink in favor of a nap.

On average, it takes 6-8 years to get diagnosed when you have this disease. In my own experience, I had to keep going to doctors and telling them that something was wrong. I repeated the story until I finally found one physician that would listen to me. Having Sjogren’s has taught me to make myself a priority, to persevere, and be my own best advocate. It has also shown me that if you need tools to help you, you need to make those tools beautiful so that you will want to use them. I have some amazing water bottles, great glasses, and lovely hats!! I work very hard to manage this disease, just as many others manage their own health situations like RA, diabetes, or food allergies. I have also discovered that my attitude affects my management of this disorder.

Sjogren’s is part of my life story. I know you have had your own challenges, too, and those challenges are part of your story. You may even be in the middle of knowing something is wrong — don’t ignore that. I believe we actually know ourselves well and that feeling of pain or discomfort is a call to action. Believe in yourself enough to keep pushing until you get the help you need.

We all have to live with something; let us focus on the LIVE part.

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Stationery

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Stationery

I have a weakness for beautiful journals, notebooks, planners, stickers, pens… pretty much anything you can find in the stationery aisle. If they served dark chocolate and tea there, I would spend a considerable amount of my day gazing at the lovely items you can find laying on the shelves and hanging on the displays. There are bright colors, perfect points on pencils, fresh ink in the pens, clean unmarked pages; yes, I do love stationery.

I’m not exactly sure why I love new stationery; I certainly don’t need it all. Perhaps it is a symbol of a fresh new start. There is potential in those writing utensils and beautiful books. A new story can be written down. A thought shared, lyrics to a song scribbled, a piece of art blooms on the page. Yes, I think that is it. I see optimism and hope in that aisle, all the way from the on sale 50 cent notebooks, to the colorful sticky notes, to the $50 planners. There is a fresh new beginning there. Oh, and a new beginning deserves beautiful tools.

Why not start something new today? Get a fresh new notebook and a pen that makes you happy — and start. Sure, there will be mistakes along the way, you’ll cross some things out, and eventually you’ll get to the end of the book. BUT don’t worry, there is always a new beginning back in the stationery aisle.

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Adventure Awaits

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Adventure Awaits

I am very fortunate to have a job that I really love: puppetry and storytelling. This hybrid job means I can do a variety of things such as workshops, stage shows, assembly programs, classroom lessons, keynote speaking, etc. I also perform in a variety of places like fairs, festival, conferences, schools, and churches. I work with people of all ages, from preschool to mature adults, and travel to other states and countries to perform. This means another part of my job is to constantly search for new opportunities and take care of paperwork (not my favorite task). Still, to do what you love you must accept the challenges and manage the “have to-do” parts of the job.

My husband, Steven, and I will be on a new adventure this year. The company he works for is closing its local office, so he has taken steps to begin a job search. This brought me to the age-old idea — do something you want to do. Since I am self-employed and can take my job anywhere, I told Steven to find a position he wants and go someplace where he wants to work. Maybe this means will be moving, or we might be staying where we are right now. We have no idea what will be happening, but we do know we are on an adventure. As we talked more, we decided that looking on the East Coast between Virginia and Charlotte would be a good option; it will keep us closer to the family.

For me, I will take this as an opportunity. I am SURE that new stories will emerge. For Steven, it is always exciting to start something new. So LIFE, here we come. It might look like things are falling apart, but they really might be falling into place.

I’ll keep you updated on our new adventure. Meanwhile, if you know of any great IT jobs out there in companies needing an amazing employee, let us know!

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A New Beginning

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A New Beginning

I was able to get away to the beach with some friends for a few days this week. We went there to take some steps away from everyday life and re-center ourselves for the New Year. It was quite helpful. We spent quite a bit of time talking and walking on the beach. The weather was perfect; I like the beach when it is cooler, not when it is hot. Who would have thought that we would have such lovely weather at the beginning of January!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was watching the sunset. How beautiful it was. As I watched it go down I had thought, “There has to be an end for there to be a new beginning.” Take some time, even if it is a 'staycation', and think about your new beginning. What needs to go down and set like the sun so that you can have a new start? Consider the beauty of that end and brightness of a new beginning. Hope you enjoy these pictures of the sun setting over the beach.

By the way, I promised to tell you which journal I selected for 2019. It is the black leather one with the tree on the front. (It, of course, went with me to the beach.)

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