Life Beyond Surviving was created to help those dealing with chronic illness or other chronic issues to deal with trials more productively by pointing them back to the joy that is often hidden inside the struggles. Part of seeing the light INside your tunnel is being able to see your difficulties as funny. Case in point:
This started off serious and quickly deteriorated into a giggle fit! So, I’ve had this outfit hanging up on the back of my closet to fit back into when I reached my goal weight. I’ve lost 36 lbs and found I could finally fit back into my jeans and size small purple flannel shirt.
I was trying to take a selfie—but things didn’t go according to plan. I have no real experience taking selfies so I stuck my iphone in my left hand so I could gesture with my right. I’m right handed and my left hand is afflicted with more of the Essential Tremors than my right. Gesturing with my left hand might have yielded some awkward results.
The following is what happened in chronological order.
By the end of this little activity, I was laughing so hard I was almost on the floor. I decided to post them as is and everyone on Facebook found it hilarious.
Clearly JoJo needs some selfie tips! Got any to share?
So we’ve talked this month about how to think less about what we can’t do and more about what we can. We’ve discussed ways to focus more of our energy on things we are already doing for others close to us. And we’ve gone through ways we can do little things to increase joy in those we come in contact with on a regular basis.
This week, I want to share a bit about what we can do for strangers. I hear you out there. You’re thinking, what can I do for strangers when I can’t even get out to go visiting or even grocery shopping? Well, it’s 2019 and there are lots of things we can do!
Remember a few weeks back when I gave you a list of ways and places you can find to do things for those you are closest to? Well, let’s look at that list again because most of it can help us bring joy and uplift those we don’t know:
Numbers one and two were job and kids. Well, those are probably where you come in contact with folks you know. Here is the rest of the list and how you can impact those you don’t.
3. Church? Is there a ministry you might join at your church? Possibly something your unique set of talents and interests or experiences are suited for?
4. Online ministry? Is there a ministry you’d like to start or get involved in that is online? Like me, you may have time though not be able to get out on a regular basis.
5. Online business? Is there a business you might start online? An online business can not only give you something positive to strive for but bring in some kind of income.
6. Art? Is there an inner artist inside you? You might start using those talents for others or use it as a business.
7. Writing? Do you have an inner author you’d like to let out? Is there a novel in you? A children’s book? A testimony you’d like to share?
8. Blogging? Would you like to blog about a topic near and dear to your heart?
And here are some others: 9. Social Media connections? Some folks are on social media to connect with friends and family who don’t live close by. Others are on to share about a cause. Some of them are those who want to promote a particular ministry. If you have a desire to support others, you can do that online and make connections with people on Facebook groups, Twitter, or just from your own Facebook profile page.
10. Asking to pray with someone going through a hard time? Have you ever run into people who you can just tell are having a hard time? Maybe at the grocery store or at your son’s baseball games? You can make a point to pray with them, help them, or just listen to them.
11. Reaching out to those in need via text, social media, email? I had a friend who moved away a while back. Not only couldn’t I travel to be with her, but she was busy and didn’t have time to talk on the phone. I made it a daily practice to send her a short inspirational text.
You may not be able to help someone financially, physically, or by being with them in person, but you can reach out through electronic means to be a light in their world.
If you have enjoyed or been blessed by this series, please consider sharing it on your social media or with friends in an email. You’ll be fulfilling one of the ways we’ve just discussed!
This month, I’ve been sharing my four-step process for getting past the thoughts all chronic illness sufferers think: here’s all I CAN’T do. First, I shared about how to find ways to think less about what we can’t do and more about what we CAN do. Last week, I shared how you can ask yourself about what you’re doing now that you can put more of your energy toward. This week, I’m going to share how you can find ways to do for your immediate family and friends.
Just as everyone has a unique set of talents given them by God, each also has a unique set of limitations given to them by chronic illness. Despite whatever limitations you may have, there are things you CAN do for your family and friends that you may not have thought about before. Now, some of these things you may not think are important, but I guarantee you they are to your family and friends! Here’s what you CAN do for family and friends:
1.Being an example: I’ve read that it isn’t what happens to us that matters, it’s how we react. I’ve written about this principle in many of my Art of Eloquence communication materials because it isn’t the fact that you mess up a speech. It’s how you handle that mistake that people react to. People forgive even a colossal mistake you make toward them if you handle it by apologizing and seeking to make it right. This principle is even more powerful when you deal with trials by trying to find the good inside them.
You can be an example in your job, to your kids, at church, in your ministry, in your business, through your artwork and writing or blogging, to your social media connections, and with those, you come in contact with.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told how I inspire others by my outlook on life despite having lived through so many medical, financial, and other trials.
2.Pointing out the joys I have made it one of my life’s missions to point out the fun, humor, and joy in the things I see or experience. Being uplifting isn’t only or always just showing the beauty of God’s world, but can be just giving the world that is full of tragedy and trials just a glimmer of beauty, or a little giggle.
It’s a gift God has given me to see the humor in things. So, I create memes and post them on social media with the lighter side of the trials I go through and the funny side of almost anything that I see.
If you don’t have the inclination for humor, why not post pictures of the beauty that is in this world? You can share them from anywhere you are and bring a little joy into this fallen world that is filled with darkness and tragedy.
I can’t tell you how much a little giggle can mean to someone who has had a tough day…or someone who has had a death in the family. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s true. I ran a very large Facebook fan page. All I did was post purple memes and pictures every day. That’s all.! I have received private messages from fans telling me how my little purple memes helped them through their husband’s death. Their husband’s DEATH! My little purple pictures in the midst of their grief meant that much to them. Facebook recently took away my admin status about a month ago. I haven’t been able to post since. However, that page has grown by over 200 fans and I continue to get messages from fans who miss my posts!
3.Sharing your artistic talents: writing, artwork If the Lord has given you a talent for writing or painting or drawing or calligraphy, this can bring so much joy to others! Post your work on social media. Start a group or fan page for it! Invite others over to see your craft work. Put it on YouTube.
I had a friend here in Indiana. I met her a short time before she moved away, but she had an incredible talent for music. She wrote piano instrumental music for the glory of God and it was gorgeous! She shared it once as worship before church service and she invited me over to hear her play several of her works. I was going through a tough time then, but for a few hours, I was inspired!
You have been blessed with some talent. Explore it. Share it. Both you and those you share it with will be blessed!
Next week, I’ll be back with the final post in this series.
I had intended to make this a four-part series, but after completing the last part of what my son calls Shock and Awe-tism, I wanted to include some links for more Autism information and some inspiration as well as some ideas and food for thought.
Sometimes a pet can help calm…
Here’s an article about a book advocating the benefits of not keeping your ASD child in their comfort zone. We did this a bit with our son and it seemed to work for him. He would scream and hold his ears when in situations that were loud. Loud to him was a restaurant or church service. Sometimes we had to be in a loud environment and we tried to calm him by giving him a handheld electronic game to help him focus and that seemed to tune out the outside noise.
Once when he was very young, we went to a Fourth of July Fireworks show. On the way home he said, “It changed my brain.”
Here’s what the article says about this book: “A new autism book, The Loving Push, encourages parents to gently and lovingly nudge children on the spectrum to perform activities outside their comfort zone.This book is written by Dr. Temple Grandin, a leading spokesperson on autism, as well as psychologist Debra Moore.“
Dear Mom of High Functioning Autism article rang true for me with my son. I found many support groups that I didn’t feel helped me or my son because I didn’t quite fit in. I felt bad even saying my son has Autism because I didn’t have to deal with many of the things they did. However, I did need help with my son and he certainly did as well. Thought it might help some of you out there.
Here is a video about an organization called SPARKS that is looking at a genetic reason for Autism.
Here are a couple of videos that show how AWESOME people with Autism can be and it is part of the reason my son calls my series Shock and Awe-tism:
Guess who didn’t know he had Autism til he was 70?!
Please do me a favor and share this post on your social media platforms and with anyone you know how might be struggling to understand their child. Or with anyone who has an Autistic child and is in need of some inspiration. God bless all the unique individuals out there!
There are some Facebook “awareness” posts that have bothered me for quite some time. First there was the one that had women posting a color: “Red” or “Pink.” Then, when friends would ask what that meant, they’d get a private message that said something like, “Aha! You should never have commented on my post! Now you have to post the color of your bra. Don’t tell anyone what it means. This is for Breast Cancer Awareness. Don’t spoil the fun!” Another more recent one was for Autism Awareness. This one just said, “There was a squirrel in my car!”
I never did understand how this promoted awareness if nobody knows what it means unless they comment. First, there probably isn’t a person on Facebook that has never heard of breast cancer or Autism. What they aren’t aware of, and what these posts never share, are any details of what to look for.
Since my son is on the spectrum and I would have been exceedingly grateful for any details when he was a boy, the next four posts will be devoted to what I call Real Autism Awareness and what my son says is Shock and Awe-tism because many of the things you’ll learn this month will be quite new to most of you. Autism is misunderstood by most and if I had been made aware of these things, my son wouldn’t have spent so many years frustrated and blaming himself.
Before I get started, I’d like to share a couple disclaimers: 1. I am by no means an expert in Autism. I’m just a mom who has some better insights into her own son and wants to help other moms with their children if at all possible.
2. Despite some of the comments I’ve gotten, my intention is not to “spoil the fun” and I do understand that most people posted these things thinking they wanted to help. I would just like to bring some real help…real awareness to those who need it because there is so little out there.
With all that being established, I’d like to give you the first and most important thing you’ll learn about Autism: There are as many ways to be Autistic as there are Autistic people! Autism isn’t just what Hollywood shows you in movies and TV shows. Autism is a spectrum of issues. Some Autistic people have some. Some have others. Some have a few. Some have many. Some have one that is a huge issue. Others may have that as a minor issue. Some Autistic kids will display certain things that make you think they are different and some, like my son, don’t and you’d never know it to look at them. But they struggle anyway and I’d like to help!
So stay tuned to my blog for three more important Real Autism Awareness posts. I hope you’ll share them all over social media and with your friends who may have a child who is unique…like mine! Now, THAT’s Real Autism Awareness!
Life has a way of twisting and changing, especially as you grow older and especially when you have chronic illness. These changes lead me to make the decision to return to posting here.
Change#1: I have been classified as Medically Frail. The way some people collect stamps, I collect diagnoses. My latest ones are Essential Tremors (ET) and Esophageal Dysmotility. So, I shake, rattle, and have a hard time controlling my throat muscles when I need to swallow…at times.
Change#2: There’s been a computer substitution. The two things that affect me the most right now are Fibro and ET. But it turns out having your fingers shake makes it a bit difficult to use an iPad and that’s how I was able to get online ever since my computer decided to retire. We had to get our son a new laptop to be able to continue to do well in the Film Department at Purdue so I have inherited his old laptop. So, this and future blog posts are brought to you by RAMbus Maximus. RAMbus Minimus, my iPad, is taking a much needed vacation.
Change#3: The Facebook Shuffle. For almost ten years, I’ve been growing a fan page over on Facebook I named after my blog, For the Love of Purple. When I transitioned to my new laptop, Facebook decided I needed to prove I was me in order to continue to have a voice to over 9100 Facebook fans. Unfortunately, Facebook wouldn’t send me the codes they want me to input and I tried so many times, it has locked me out until such time as Facebook decides I am worthy. I’m afraid my research indicates that it will probably never find me worthy and come June 3rd or thereafter, I will no longer be allowed to post as Admin.
Change#4: I feel God leading me in this direction. After each of these changes, I have felt more strongly about sharing information, support, inspiration, and humor to uplift those who struggle with chronic illness and conditions. In fact, something that was being posted on Facebook prompted me to want to include Autism in that mix as my son has struggled with his Autism and I find very few people really understand it. To that end, I’ll be starting off this month with a short four part series on what Autism is and what it isn’t. I pray that this short series will help other moms who, like me, had no idea the struggles their child faces might be Autism.
I have a heart to help others who feel alone, struggle with conditions they don’t fully understand, or just feel like they need a place to be uplifted. I’d appreciate your help. If you find my posts helpful, would do me the honor of sharing the blog posts with others who need some inspiration, comfort, and love? Thank you!!