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The power of positive thinking

Being positive in life is extremely important. I have seen its effect in my own life…the strength and determination it has built in me, and the courage it has given me to never quit no matter how tough things get.

But what does it mean to be positive? Does it mean you smile all the time? Does it mean you sit around telling jokes belting out volumes of laughter? Does it mean you never have a bad day, never cry tears of pain, are never fearful of tomorrow, or do all you can to pretend MS isn’t a part of your life?

No…being positive has nothing to do with how much you fake a smile or about the warm fuzzy’s and feel-good moments. Those things will fade away over time and leave you wondering how you’re going to be able to cope with today’s reality of MS. The reality that hits you so hard you get knocked off your feet. MS does that to us all at some point.

If you aren’t careful, the tears will fall, stress will build, fears will loom and your mind will wander into a world of negativity. It’s a place you don’t want to be. Depression creeps in ever so slowly and you find yourself drowning in the pain and darkness.

What do you do? How do you find a positive place there in the dark? What does being positive even look like?

You have to purposely choose to step out from the shadows and move towards hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Hope that you can make a difference in someone’s life. Hope that a better you is in the making. You have to pursue it, going after it with every breath you have, keep going even if it hurts.

Positive people still cry, tremble in fear, worry, and have bad days….but in all of the mess that surrounds them, they find a rainbow, a butterfly, a sunbeam, hope. Even though you are in the toughest place you’ve ever been, there is a possibility of wonderment and beauty. There is a hope that things will get better.

I can not convince a negative focused person to be positive. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work. It seems negative people become angry at just the thought of trying to find something good in a time of misery. In their mind the two can never coexist, but it can happen.

If you will allow yourself to step out from the shadows, you will find the impossible can be made possible. The world could be crashing in all around you and yet your heart can find rest. That’s the power of positive thinking.

I want nothing more than for you to experience that kind of calm, happiness, and hope. It takes work. It takes purpose. It takes choices. And I know you can do it. Just one spark of hope can change your life forever.

Find something that fills you with passion, and go after it. That may mean learning a new language or writing a book. It may mean inviting friends over for dinner or cheering someone up who’s going through a difficult time. It may mean doing something to make a difference in a crazy, messed up world. It may mean letting go of the negative people in your life.

Whatever it takes…do it. Change your focus and you change your life. Choose hope. There is a great future ahead of you waiting to be discovered. Step into it.

wand

I wish I may, I wish I might

I’ve been staring at a blank page with pen in hand for over 30 minutes unsure of what to share this morning. Most days my thoughts tumble onto the page so easily, but this morning my brain seems to have decided to take a vacation. It didn’t even ask for permission. That’s simply not fair. I would have loved to have taken a trip with my brain to Hawaii, or Australia, or Timbuktu. I’ve always wanted to go to Timbuktu. Now, that’s a fun word to say…Tim-buk-tu! That fits right up there with tutu and hullabaloo.

I wish I could wave a magic wand in the air to make our crazy brain fog moments disappear. Or better yet, to make Multiple Sclerosis disappear altogether. Talk about a wonderful day…now, that would be the most amazing day ever. A day worth getting out of bed for and shooting off fireworks followed by a parade, and lots and lots of balloons.

Even though today isn’t that day, it’s still a day worth living. Why? What reason is there for getting out of bed when all you see are difficulties looming, dark clouds forming and flood waters rising?

For me, I flip back the covers and step out of bed each morning because I’m on a mission. I love sharing my life and heart with others, seeing them encouraged and uplifted through my own life experiences. I love making people smile in hopes that they forget, even if just for a moment, that life is hard. I love helping people push through difficult times and seeing their victory dance, even if it’s only a small one.

I get out of bed each morning because I’m on a mission to help a world of MSers find their way through the tough times in hopes that they choose laughter over tears and search for rainbows rather than lightning bolts. What’s your why? Why do you get out of bed each morning? What is it that keeps you going when times get tough?

Find your why and hold onto it. Let it give you the strength you need to face the day. Today may be a difficult day, but I am confident you are going to get through it. You are strong even though your body is weak…stronger than you realize. MS is not going to stop you today. It may be rearing it’s ugly head but you are going to make it.

bucket

There’s a hole in my bucket

The world is good at pointing out what’s wrong with our lives. If you’re anything like me, you have buckets full of mistakes that can be pulled out at any time to show how imperfect you really are. The only problem is, my bucket leaks.

It is impossible to go through life without making mistakes. You can’t do it and neither can I. One thing you can count on is that you will mess up. You will make wrong choices. You will disappoint people and even disappoint yourself. Failure is normal. I don’t know why we try to cover it up and hide away our flaws and mistakes. Being less than perfect is just a part of being human.

To the world, our MS body is a failure. The nerves in our brain and spine have chosen to fail us causing difficulties we would rather not have. The mistake our body makes in destroying myelin is not our mistake. Don’t, even for a moment, think you have done something to deserve MS or that you have caused it yourself, because you haven’t.

No matter what happens today, don’t listen to that lying voice. You are not your body’s weakness. That is just part of the packaging you have to work with. Mine just so happens to be pieced together with duct tape and super glue at the moment. It seems to be working at holding things together for now, but I know there will come a day when even the duct tape will fail me.

Count each day you get through as a victory. You have had victory after victory already. Today will be another one. You may be bruised and limping crossing the finish line as the sun goes down, but you are going to make it.

Instead of focusing today on the things you can’t do, look at what you can. Take a break from the pressure the world puts on you to be perfect and simply be you…and never give up.

pie

Take a break and have some pie

I woke up this morning to my teeth chattering. It’s grown cold and I’m not a fan. The cold tends to stiffen my muscles and causes me to have to work extra hard just to move. The heat isn’t my friend either. Oh, to live in a place where the weather is perfect—not too hot and not too cold—would be amazing. I don’t think that place exists, but it’s great to dream anyway.

There’s nothing worse than feeling out of control. The temperature tends to do that to me. It comes along and throws a wrench into my plans and messes things up. Everything I do tends to take more effort and a whole lot more energy. I get exhausted just imagining my day and all the things needing to get done…and I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.

Many times, if you’re anything like me, you push yourself hard anyway…sometimes too hard. All that energy you use making your muscles function and your body move leaves you worn out. You want desperately to be able to do the things needed for the day, but your body just won’t let you. You find yourself weaker in your efforts to make yourself strong. Then discouragement comes knocking at your door along with some of its friends…weariness, frustration, defeat and disappointment.

At those times, it’s important to take a break. My kind of break may be different from yours, but anything that puts life back into perspective helps. It may be taking time to pamper yourself by getting your nails done or going to a local miniature golfing spot to ride the bumper cars. It could be finding a secluded spot away from the world to shed a few tears and pray in private or even something as simple as having a slice of chocolate pie…anything that helps to calm your heart and put peace back into your day.

Taking a break doesn’t mean you quit on life or on your plans, it doesn’t mean life will change and all of a sudden you will have this amazing boost of energy and your nerves will work properly again, it just means you put things on hold for a bit in order to take care of yourself.

You deserve that. You deserve some “me” time. Don’t let MS cause you to give up and stop believing in who you are. You matter more than you realize.

A little bird told me

I woke up this morning to a bird singing outside my window. That’s great except he was singing so loud that I was awakened from the part of my night (rather early morning) when I was actually asleep. As I lay there in the bed not wanting to get up, yet unable to sleep, I’m almost positive I heard that bird talk. I could have been delusional from a lack of sleep—that’s always a possibility—but regardless, I heard it talk. Not bird talk either. It was “people” talk; lots and lots of people talk.

This bird, which I have officially named Tweets-a-lot, told me that you get discouraged some times. That you have days when you feel as if life has flipped your world upside down and inside out. That your plans, dreams, hope have all turned around, changing your future more than you thought could ever happen and have been causing you to feel overwhelmed.

You fight, you struggle, you cry, all in an attempt to wiggle free from a disease that is holding you captive, but you find no relief. People come along giving you an ole “pep talk” to help you out of this emotional roller coaster, and although you appreciate them taking the time to share, their words of encouragement seem to discourage you even more. You feel like a failure. Life has changed too much and you weren’t prepared for the change.

You spend hours and days looking back at what once was but the freedom is in the what will be. You have a future ahead of you, a world to be explored, people to meet and experiences to be had. You can’t do those things chained to the past and always looking back. You have to let go of what once was in order to live in the now and become a part of what will be.

So take it from me and the little bird outside my window…you’re hurting, not defeated. You’re broken, not destroyed. You have worth and tremendous value. You are perfect just as you are. Now is not the time to give up. Swim through the tears and refuse to drown.

Living a life of thanks with Multiple Sclerosis

Being thankful when you’re hurting seems like an impossible thing to do. How in the world can anyone live a life of gratitude in the middle of a life of pain? You may be looking at everything happening in your life right now and thinking I’m crazy to even suggest such a thing. Being thankful with Multiple Sclerosis on top of everything else going on in life? Yeah, right!

When you look around all you see is pain and hard times. You can’t see anything worthy of thanks. Tears happen way more than smiles. I get it. I understand how overwhelming and difficult it is to live a life of constant change and uncertainty.

Do this for me…take a moment, pause and look back at your life. Look at everything you have come through over the years. You have faced circumstances that seemed impossible to others as well as yourself, but you made it through those times. You have seen heartaches and heartbreaks. You have walked through hell itself more than once. Most of those times you don’t want to relive, but as you look back you find things to give thank for. After all, you endured and didn’t give up. The strength and wisdom you gained during those times are lessons worthy of thanks and gratitude.

Giving thanks when you’re hurting is something most people don’t want to do, just like most don’t want to go to the dentist for a root canal or start a new diet, but the rewards are worth it. You can’t give up hope and allow the weight of your current circumstances keep you from seeing that life is filled with more than just momentary pain. It’s filled with beauty too.

Pain has a way of changing our lives for the good if we let it. You don’t have to give thanks for Multiple Sclerosis, but you can be grateful for the things it has taught you and continues to teach you. When you approach life with that kind of thinking, you find that being thankful is not only possible but doable.

Find three things you are thankful for today. You can have a hundred thing to want to complain about but choose to focus on those three good things. Tomorrow do the same thing…then the next day and the next day do it again. I challenge you to a week of gratitude. Can you make it through an entire week focusing on things each day worthy of thanks?

I’ll start…three things I’m thankful for today
1. a good cup of coffee to wake me up after a night of no sleep.
2. the beautiful people in my life that go out of their way to help me do the things I can no longer do.
3. that my move to Alabama went well and I’m starting to get my house organized and feeling like home.

face today

Face today with courage

I woke up this morning with this one thought on my mind…you can’t give up, you have to keep hoping.

Many of you are facing some very difficult times right now. You don’t know what to do or who to talk to. It may be Multiple Sclerosis related or something else in your life that has brought such pain that you aren’t sure how you’ll make it through. Don’t allow your day to become so focused on the pain that you lose sight of all the good you have around you. People really do care about you, even when you think they don’t. You are loved…dearly loved!

If I could, I would sit down with you and we could cry over a giant chocolate muffin or slice of cheese cake. Sometimes that’s all you need…a moment to release the floodgate of tears in order to relieve the pressure that has been building up.

Keep hoping…face today with courage and a smile. I’m proud of you and the strength you carry. Show the world, and MS, just what you are made of.

 

you are brave

Find your brave

Dear Weary One,

I know your heart is heavy. Right now you are on the verge of tears…tears that have been collecting deep in the spaces of your heart and flooding over into your mind. You have met reality face to face and you don’t like it one bit. Multiple Sclerosis is your reality. It’s real and you feel it deep. You are finding yourself overwhelmed and Continue reading “Find your brave” »