As many of you know, I’m a pretty odd duck. Weird stuff has happened to me just about all my life. Sometimes that’s made for difficult times. Sometimes it’s been a blessing in disguise.
Going through my Facebook memories today, I found this little story that could have ended badly but turned out to be just another unusual event in my life. Thankful to God for His blessings to me.
On this date five years ago, I was just sitting and minding my own odd business when suddenly, out of the right side corner of my eye, I saw a bunch of flashing bright white geometric shapes (mostly triangles) that formed a crescent moon. It was just below and slightly right of wherever I was looking. It was reflective and sparkly and lasted about 15 or 20 minutes making it hard for me to see beyond it. My husband was convinced I was going blind so (REALLY long story short) I was rushed to urgent care.
Drs and nurses had no idea but feared it was a retina tear or detatched retina. They suggested I see an opthomologist the next morning and explain exactly what I experienced.
It was really hard to explain what I saw. Coincidentally, I had gotten a piece of junk mail with a weird reflective sticker inside that looked exactly like what I saw so I took it with me.
After a thorough examination to rule out anything more serious, it turned out it was a painless occular migraine. Now, if you have to have a migraine, this is the kind of migraine you want! Painless is always the way to go, if at all possible! 😂
Thankful this week for God’s many blessings in my life including all of those I’m able to enjoy this year having lost 33 pounds!
In the last two weeks, I’ve shared two tips for developing a habit of thankfulness. The first week I shared how to look for the joy all around you and last week I talked about bringing (or reintroducing) activities into your life that you find joyous. This week, I want to tell you about some new joys you can bring into your life.
If you can no longer do the things that brought you joy in your youth or you can’t think of any new things to do that will bring you joy. Can you make time online to do things that bring you joy? Most of us chronic folks have a hard time “doing” due to fatigue or pain, but there is one place most of us can go to find new joys and that is the internet. Whatever you think about the evils of the internet, you have to admit it has its merits.
You can do just about anything online these days including banking, gift buying, and even working. But the one thing most of us crave is interaction. The worldwide web hosts a great deal of sites in which even we, who are housebound, can go to find friendship, support, information, and distraction.
Social media is a great way for the chronically ill to socialize as well as find support, understanding, and fun! Facebook is my go-to social media site. Not only do I have over 1000 friends to share my life and experiences with, but I have several wonderful groups that support various issues I deal with. These are my people. These are the ones who understand me, who don’t ask silly questions or give me unsolicited advice. It’s also the place I can interact with my IRL (In Real Life) friends and family who live too far for me to visit with in person.
If you find yourself an empty nester or living away from family or you just can’t get out much, social media and other internet social sites are a great way to connect to others who you’ll find yourself being thankful for when you count your blessings each day.
If you’re an artist, you can display your creations on social media or on your own blog. The same is true if you’re a writer like me. You can share your insights or your stories on social media or on your own blog like this one.
The internet affords us many opportunities that allow us to be connected and use our talents without having to leave our homes. Is there any work you can do from home like writing, internet marketing, internet sales, blogging, or even a regular job you can do from home. Many companies now are hiring people to work from home. Look into things that might allow you to be productive from home given your limitations.
One last thing I wanted to mention is starting a Facebook or Reddit group. I had a very successful fan page on Facebook for purple lovers. I didn’t make any money from it. I just brought some joy to other purple lovers like me. Unfortunately, I built it to over 8500 people but I didn’t have a moderator or another admin as it turns out I should have.
Facebook started a new procedure where they demand you prove you’re you or they take away your admin status. There is some kind of glitch in their system that didn’t allow me to do that and so I am no longer admin on my For the Love of Purple page. If I did it over again, I’d have a few moderators who could reinstate me.
I now spend my time running Life Beyond Surviving Facebook group and am content to leave For the Love of Purple fan page behind me. It continues to grow without me and is now almost at 10,000 fans.
Whatever it is that brings you joy, purpose, or inspiration, challenge yourself to do it daily. The internet is a wonderous place to display your talents, serve others, or display your passion. What can you use the internet to bring you joy and fulfill your purpose? Think about it.
Next week, is my last article in this series so stay tuned!
November is the time we celebrate Thanksgiving and no blog would be complete without a post or two on giving thanks. But for the chronically ill, being thankful can be difficult. It’s so hard to see the joy in your life when you are dealing with so much, especially when those around you are giving thanks for health, wealth, and close relationships at a big party where they are able to enjoy themselves free from the distractions and frustrations that is the life of the chronically ill.
It’s so hard to think positive when you’re struggling, but it is essential to try to do so or eventually lose all hope. Joy is found in thanksgiving but the trick is to cultivate a spirit that can give thanks. It isn’t easy, but it is possible and it may take some time. My first suggestion for you is: Start small.
The only way to start anything is to start small. Can you find just one thing in your life to be thankful for today? Just one thing. It doesn’t even have to be a big thing. Just SOMEthing. Look outside your window. What is the first thing you see that shows God’s beauty? What’s one thing you see that gives you peace?
Outside my home are beautiful purple flowers. Purple always makes me feel better. I’ve loved purple since practically before I was born. ANYthing purple reminds me of beauty and gives me peace. What is that for you? Is it a color? Flowers? A beautiful sky? Green grass?
Look around at your home? Are their reminders there that give you comfort? After going through tremendous financial issues, I can now look at my house and see security. Not that I own it or because it’s so well built or gorgeous, but simply because I’m not out on the street where I could have been at one time in my life.
If neither of those strikes you with joy or blessing, look at yourself. What could have been worse, but for the grace of God? No matter how much pain or fatigue I feel, just knowing that God could have let me die of a rare and aggressive cancer fills me with thankfulness.
Looking deeper, what issue do others with one of your diagnoses have that maybe you don’t have to deal with? For me, even though my fatigue prevents me from working a job or going out much, I count myself blessed that my pain level is so much less than what others experience with Fibro. What is that for you? Can you feel thankful for that?
Another place to find something to be thankful for is to look at your family. Do you have a spouse that tries to understand and help you? Do you have children who are precious blessings from the Lord? Is there an extended family member, neighbor, friend, online friend, who has been a blessing to you that you can count as a blessing that day?
I’m not saying this is easy because as you look at your life, Satan will redirect you to all the things that are hard in your life or even about that very thing or person you could view and something to be thankful for. But if you look for that one thing each day to be thankful for, you will find them. When you do, you can then challenge yourself to do so each and every day. Find something new or find a new reason to view that one thing as a blessing and joy in your life.
For me, this finding something new in one thing over and over again is a TV show that always makes me laugh. I love the old 50s sitcom I Love Lucy. It always makes me smile. Watching the very same episode can be a blessing over and over again.
Having chronic illness or other chronic issues isn’t fun. Almost nothing about them are even remotely fun, but even so, you can find joy, humor, beauty in the other things around you that, given time to look daily, can help you see the joy. I believe that God puts these things in our lives to help us get through the difficulties we have in this fallen world. So, look for your joys daily and build your thankfulness habit. See if that doesn’t help you find your joy.
Next week I’ll share another step to getting the Thankfulness Habit.