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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.



We're All a Little Mad Here

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So, my neck is stiff and my left arm makes everything hurt when I move it. Fibromyalgia is SO not fun. I’ve touched on the subject of living with chronic illness before, but, since it is an ongoing battle, there is ongoing stuff to post about. The stuff of life is sometimes, just, tough.

I’ve resolved to be tough in return, although I certainly don’t necessarily feel like it most of the time. Believe me, when my eyes opened this morning and I discovered that my neck wasn’t in working order, I really did not want to get out of bed. It’s Saturday, after all; I could be considered justified in my actions by staying in bed, right? The thing about that, of course, is that parenting doesn’t stop on Saturdays. So... up I got.

The middle child, also living with a chronic illness, was already up and had, bless her heart, made the coffee. We tend to mirror each other with symptoms sometimes. We also mirror a coffee habit.

“Bad night?” I asked.

“Meh.”

“Yeah, me too.”

We drink in silence. I am loving that my teenager is a lot like me, and I apologize for it at the same time. Often you can hear me saying, “sorry, you got that from me.” However, we are blessed to appreciate each other in ways that our other family members don’t quite get. Plus, love looks like being quiet with a bowl of coffee in the morning, sometimes.

 

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One thing that has been very much on my mind and in my heart during this season is staying healthy. Health is paramount to survival, I think, and claiming a willpower (think Dave Goggins) to stick to that intention is important, too. It isn’t easy: it’s hard. It isn’t always fun, sometimes, frankly, it stinks and it is painful. Keeping moving and keeping active, though, are so, so helpful to the intention of health. Not once have I pushed myself to just go on a walk when I’m hurting and then felt worse afterwards. I always feel better, even if I hurt before I set out.

Not only is health important for me, it’s important for my family. My kids need to see that I value pursuing a healthy lifestyle. They need to learn that being healthy and staying active is part of life, and not a huge obstacle to overcome everyday. I know so many people that have just seemed to give up on eating healthy and being active. The excuses for avoiding exercise and choosing potato chips over fresh vegetables are endless. I know when I’m eating well and moving my body I feel better. I’m a better wife, and a better mother when I’m living in a healthy way. I want to encourage everyone to consider health over hurt... even when it does hurt. Keep at it! I’ll be your cheerleader! I can even actually say I understand that it seems impossible to overcome pain, but I struggle with that same issue. Some days, we need to rest, but most days, we need to move. It’s worth it!

 

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Living with chronic pain, chronic illness, or any health challenge is, well, challenging. I’m constantly reading and learning how to manage not only my symptoms, but my daughter’s as well. On top of that, the other special needs in our family need to be managed, too. Almost every special need and health issue that our population needs to address, though, can be helped (if not resolved) by nutrition and activity. I really believe that. Current, popular media captivates us, and our kids, to crave the most unhealthy snacks and cereals on the planet. Add video games, binge watching TV, and constant electronic usage, and we are being set up for a very unhealthy future. From what I have gleaned over several years of parenting, red dye #40 and sugary snacks do not help the health of the family. While we do indulge in treats, and vacations are pretty much sugary snacks, and red dye #40, we detox immediately upon return to the real word. Whining and gnashing of teeth... but that is just the way it goes sometimes. That’s Life. It’s a song from the eighties, I think.

Life is certainly a bumpy road at times, isn’t it? I often wonder “why me,” and then I quickly think, “why not me,” and move on. Prayer and Faith are awesome and what I lean on, lean into, and live for on a daily, hourly, minutely basis. Love and patience come from above; I couldn’t do it on my own, for sure.

 

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I guess we never stop learning, do we? As parents, and as adults, I mean. I may have graduated from school, but I am constantly learning. Information about diets and nutrition and health studies is a very fluid subject, these days. My advice? Balance. Move. Faith. Health. It looks different on everyone. Find what works, and what makes your body feel healthy, and stick with it! You can do it!

 

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Keep calm, claim health, and parent on!

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