Overwhelmed

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  The last couple of months have been crazy.  I went into sales in June and I’ve been concentrating on building my book of business and have been running on all cylinders.  I’ve spent quite a few days out of town as well.  Things are going well but it’s a crazy, crazy time.

I also moved to 2nd Vice President in Lions last month which means new responsibilities and learning more there.

It’s a lot of change at one time and while I embrace change, this week things have caught up to me.

You see, there have been a lot of changes in my personal life and my friend’s lives.  I have done a little “housekeeping” when it came to friends and have decided to weed out those that have wronged me or that use me.  It’s felt good to surround myself with positive people.

While I’ve been overwhelmed with what’s going on in my life, the worst thing is when I can’t help my friends.  I know that when things are crazy in my life I have a good cry and the weight is lifted.  But when I see my friends hurting, it overwhelms me in a different way.  There aren’t enough words or hugs or cards that can make things better.  Only time.  But all I want to do is fix things, make them right again and make sure everyone is happy.

The reality is that not all times are happy.  In fact, Ecclesiastes 3 says:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

We take the good with the bad, we laugh and cry…and in these times of being overwhelmed I pray.

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2015: Year in Review

Last  year was a wild and crazy ride.   What a year! I started a new job with a new company…kind of.  As my office was absorbed by another company, I learned a new role with my promotion.  This meant that … Continue reading

Staying on the Positive Side

Let’s be honest, sometimes life gets us down.  This is a story of getting down and then getting over it.

I have a pretty positive outlook on having Celiac Disease, having to eat gluten free and not getting to eat things like egg rolls and Chinese food in Chinese restaurants.  About once a year I get PF Chang’s and satisfy my Chinese craving for a bit.  It’s not as much as I used to eat it but it helps.  Eating gluten free isn’t really that bad either.  It could be worse, I could be allergic to dairy, avocados, and almonds.  Things that I eat EVERY day.  But it’s just gluten, right?

Well, last Monday was my “feeling sorry for myself” day.  I had been at JUCO (the Junior College World Series) which happens every May in Grand Junction.  It’s basically a week of sunshine, baseball and more sunshine.  I spend as much time attending games and chillin’.  Memorial Day I got to the stadium at 11 and stayed there all day.  I had brought my usual snacks to tide me over and had plans to jet at 6 to grab a bite to eat before the 7:30pm game.  Plans changed and I ended up taking photos of the team the Grand Junction Lions Club hosted (every year we host one of the teams) and not going to eat.

Mind you, this was my fault…I will admit that.

I had, earlier in the day, started wishing that I could go to the concession stand, pick whatever I wanted and just EAT.  Not have play 20 questions with the gal behind the counter and then hope that she was right.  It’s like playing Russian Roulette, really.  I was tired of being different, of not being able to grab food and go, to have to leave the stadium to get something to eat and then come back, try to find a parking spot and…it was too much.  I’m guessing the sun and heat had something to do with this breakdown as well.

But I had a pity party.  I almost started crying and had to compose myself several times.  Sometimes being gluten free really sucks.  In fact, I found this and posted it to Facebook:

Don't you ever just want to be normal?

Don’t you ever just want to be normal?

I had friends comment on the picture from “Be strong!” to “I have those days” to “I wouldn’t eat normal for the world, I know how it hurts me”.  The support was so good.

I ended up getting fries.  They told me that they were gluten free.  I hope they were right…

So, I had my moment, ate my fries, watched the game, went home, went to bed and the next day I was fine.  My outlook was better.  Sometimes you just have to have a moment and move on.  The sun always comes up tomorrow, I’ve been told…and that is a true statement.

The moral of the story is twofold:

1.  Have a pity party, get mad or sad or whatever and then MOVE ON.  It’s life and the way it is whether it’s Celiac or a dairy allergy or something else.  It could always be worse.

2.  Stay positive.  Negative energy only brings you and everyone else around you down.  The more negativity, the less people will want to be around you and, when you really need support, it won’t be there.

Gluten free isn’t always the most glamorous or the most fun but it’s the most healthy for me.  It could be gluten free or death and I choose gluten free.

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No Apologies

I find myself apologizing a lot, mostly because I’m gluten free. I hear myself saying “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or “I’m sorry but I’m gluten free” or “I’m sorry I’m a pain” and I’m sure there are many more.

A couple weeks we were in Minneapolis for a business trip and I apologized for not being about to eat somewhere and my boss (who is also a good friend of mine) said “Don’t apologize, you have no reason to apologize”. This got me thinking: Why do I think I need to apologize?

I think because I’m so far from normal (what is normal anyway, but I digress) and because I have a disease that makes me stick out like a sore thumb, it makes me apologize for special treatment. Now, I’m not one to have attention drawn to myself on purpose for something like this. Yes, I like the spotlight but find it in other ways. Having to always draw attention to yourself, especially in a social setting, can be very disconcerting.

For example, I am a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club.  Every week I call ahead for a gluten free meal.  The people at Two Rivers Convention Center have been amazing at providing for my needs but sometimes my meal looks so very different from what everyone else has and typically they are jealous.  I don’t blame them.  Like last week I had a chicken breast and salad but my dessert was a chocolate cupcake topped with a strawberry.  They had St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookies.  They wanted my cupcake and so it goes.  People ask me “why did you get that” and I tell them that I have to be gluten free and the typical response is “maybe I should be gluten free”.  That is another topic for another day.

The end of the story is that I am different.  I need to embrace it and continue using it as a way to speak out on behalf of those of us that don’t have a choice.  We need to stop apologizing…I need to stop apologizing.  I need to accept it, make the statement and just make sure that people know without it becoming my entire identity.  It’s a part of who I am, a PART, not all of me and so from now on, I won’t apologize.  Friends, if you hear me say “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or something similar, some apology for who I am, please stop me.

I saw this picture and it may be my new mantra:

No Apologies

So accept it, you are who you are.  That makes you (and I special) and we have things to offer the world!  Happy Sunday!

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

February is a fun month.  Last week was an amazing week.  I am a part of the Grand Junction Lions Club and we hold one fundraiser a year.  It is not only the biggest fundraiser among the community groups in Grand Junction, it is the biggest one time fundraiser in Lions Club International.  We are kinda a big deal.

We do a raffle (six-seven weeks of selling raffle tickets) and then do a parade and carnival to finish it off.  The carnival is old timey:  a quarter a paddle and you can win different things like soda, bacon and eggs, candy, flowers and so much more.  We have been doing this for 86 years and it’s a staple in the community and several generations of people have attended.  Each year there is a theme:  this year was Colorado Wild and we did it up right, on a boat!

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

"I'm on a boat" crew

“I’m on a boat” crew

Me as a mermaid

Me as a mermaid

 

Yup, we have a good time and do a lot to raise money for the community.  This year we have pledged to give $125,000 to 10 organizations in Grand Junction.  Not too shabby.

Not only was a carnival but it was 10 years since I arrived in Grand Junction.  I’ve never lived anywhere for 10 years so this is huge.  I felt like I was celebrating with my Lions family (although most of them had no idea, but I pretended it was all about me anyway).  It’s a huge accomplishment in my life.

And then there was the worst of times.  Sunday night my cat, Punky, was incontinent not once, but twice.  She is 18 1/2, has been a diabetic for over six years and I know that this is a red flag.  She had been incontinent about a month ago but wrote it off as sleeping really hard, not a big deal.  I should have paid more attention.  So, I took her to the vet on Monday and Dr. Aimee Johnson put her on an antibiotic immediately.  We got the test results back yesterday (bladder infection) but at her age, this is much more than just that.  The incontinence hasn’t gone away, she seems to have a feline dementia (yes, there is such a thing) and…she’s my fur baby.

I’m facing the truth that I may have to make one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make and that is putting her to sleep.  I have to start looking past my desire to have my fur baby with me and to look at what is best for her.  Whether I should let her live with not knowing who I am (I am starting to look into eyes that sometimes have no idea who I am) or letting her go before she doesn’t even know when or how to eat.  I have to look past my desire to not want to make a hard decision or make a decision that keeps her from pain and suffering.  I have to look past ME.  And this isn’t easy.  I have spent the past two nights crying, hugging her, letting her sleep on my lap and just wondering:  is it time.  I have spent the past two days at work talking to my co worker and boss (who have and are going through the same thing as me) and listening to their advice.  I am fortunate to have a boss that says “when it’s time, take a day”.

And I have a feeling that the day will come soon…and I don’t want to have to make a decision but she is a faithful animal, a kind soul and won’t go…unless I make that decision for her.  That is my gut feeling.

So I had an amazing week last week…and now face an adult decision.  I don’t want to be an adult in this decision.  I want to make a fort, hide and play dolls in it…and forget that hard decisions exist.

Just take a moment

Life has been super hectic lately.  Between working 40 hours a week, starting a part time business with Arbonne, writing for the GJ Free Press, Gluten Free Grand Valley, Lions Club and spending time with family and friends along with other activities I’m sure I’ve forgotten…life has been crazy.  That’s why, when my friend Shawna asked if I would take a day trip to Ouray with her, I said yes.

I have a tendency to, even if there is nothing to do at home, find something to do.  I’m always connected via some form of technology and do have an issue with putting the phone down because what might happen on Facebook if I don’t check it every five minutes?  So, getting out of the house, out of town, was perfect.

It’s not that we had some sort of  “National Lampoons” type of trip (ok, there were men in speedos, queso for breakfast and yaks) but it was a great, relaxing day with one of my best friends, relaxation in the hot springs and laughter.  It was just what I needed.

Today, as I sat at work, I was reminded that we need to take those moments, break away from everything that is beckoning to us, all that says “I need to be done” and just throw caution to the wind.  All that needs to be done will still be there when we return…and if we don’t, it won’t matter anyway!

And I’m back!

After a few weeks of not writing due to a hectic schedule I am back!

What have I been up to? I am a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club and we have been in full blown fundraising mode. You see, the GJ Lions have just completed their 85th annual raffle, parade and carnival. We do the biggest one day fundraiser in all of Lions international. To date we have donated nearly $5 million to this community…and we do it in fine fashion!

More on that later…but I’m back!!!