Finding the Gifts in Juvenile Arthritis

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Juvenile Arthritis is a pain in the ass joints. My son CJ was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when he was 9 years old. The diagnosis took my husband and I by surprise though it shouldn’t have…Arthritis is a prominent disease in both our families. The thing is, when we think of Arthritis we tend to think of it as exclusive to adults. People don’t talk much about Arthritis affecting our children. CJ complained a lot about pain. Mostly when he was asked to do something like take out the garbage (!!) We thought he suffered from a case of laziness. But it was natural for him  to complain only when he was asked to do something…when his joints caused him discomfort, he would sit down with his legs up and watch TV or play video games to give his legs a rest. Otherwise he was out climbing trees, riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, or getting his chores done. The Doctors believe the pain had probably been there since birth, so the pain he felt was “normal” for him.  He never questioned it. He knew that when he was sore, he was tired and it helped to rest and so that’s exactly what he did, naturally. We only ever really needed to ask him to do something when he was ‘having a lazy day’ on the couch.

CJ had been training in Taekwondo since he was 7 years old – 2 years before his diagnosis. He loved it. He was determined that one day he would earn his Black Belt. Although the Arthritis did rear it’s ugly head a few times during practices and he missed his first tournament due to a flare up, he didn’t allow it to slow him down. He learned the true meaning of perseverance, and indomitable spirit.

CJ had always been thoughtful and compassionate of people and animals. Suffering the pain of Arthritis as the flare ups worsened actually made him even more so. He was driven and moved to “help people who couldn’t move their arms or their legs”. When we came across the Walk To Fight Arthritis, he was so determined to help that he took off down the road knocking on doors trying to raise funds. He ended up doing much more than that!

As people opened their doors to him, he shared with them his story which prompted many to share theirs as well. I will never forget the excitement in his voice as he threw open the door saying “Mom! I met more people who have Arthritis! I didn’t meet anyone my age with it, but lots of old people! And I raised a lot of money! Someone even gave me $20!” He raised $1800 that year and he only had 9 days to do it. People were so generous and CJ found a sense of connection with others in sharing his story.

Every year CJ sets a goal to beat last years donations. Last year he achieved that goal. CJ also sets a goal to keep moving toward his Black Belt.

In December 2013, CJ tested for his Black Belt. Part of the testing was to write an essay of his choosing. CJ’s wrote about Taekwondo and Arthritis. He wrote about the obstacles and the challenges he faced on his journey to becoming a Black Belt. He also wrote about the gifts that he has found in Arthritis – He knows who his true friends are. He has become more compassionate and caring toward others. He feels a sense of accomplishment contributing in the community. He has learned that by being himself and sharing his story, he has achieved what many adults do not; authenticity. He has learned to live by the tenets of Taekwondo in every day life; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

On September 15th 2013, CJ was presented with The Ontario Youth Award for his efforts with The Arthritis Society. This is the first time this prestigious award has been presented to someone in the Ottawa area. On December 7th 2013, CJ earned his Black Belt and although it is considered a great honor to be tested by a Master in Taekwondo, the Master singled CJ out telling him the honor was HIS to have been a part of CJ’s journey in Taekwondo because he emanates the essence of Taekwondo in the Dojan as well as out in the community.

When life presents you with a challenge, learn from it, find the gift in it, and kick it’s  joint ass 🙂

If you are interested in helping CJ reach this years goal please visit his donation page here

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Living Your Best Life – Part 3

If you are waiting for your ideal life to materialize, it’s time that you realize your life is waiting for you!

Here’s where change happens! This week we are going to take the first step to living life on your terms.

What are you hoping to take from the “Living Your Best Life” series? My best life starts with you…I love blogging, I love putting together the videos. My passion is helping you discover yours. My reward is sharing in your journey so please keep in touch. I would love to hear from you 🙂

Embrace your awesomeness!!

Living Your Best Life – Part 2

We’ve finally fully completed and uploaded Part 2 of Living Your Best Life! I hope you are as excited about this little adventure as we are 🙂

“Living Your Best Life” doesn’t have to feel like some grand gesture or mission impossible. It’s simply about living every day on purpose – making each day significant. Sometimes even putting it that way can sound a little daunting. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be.

Through a series of videos, I would like to take this journey with you – from surviving each day to fully enjoying each day, going from content to being genuinely happy.

“Life’s Journey is surely not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting WooHoo! What a ride!”

Here’s to making every day count! Please keep in touch, if something in these videos has struck a cord with you or you notice changes in your life as you take this journey with us, we want to hear about it!

Embrace Your Awesome Self 🙂

Shedding Light Into The Darkness

FreedomI think it’s safe to say that at least most of us suffer bouts of self-doubt and levels of depression from time to time and we all have our own ways of dealing with it when it hits. Some of us become angry and take it out on the world, some of us become withdrawn and hide from everyone in our lives. No matter who you are, no matter how you handle it, the truth is it sucks for all of us.

Depression, self-consciousness, whatever name you choose to give it, is the result of indecisiveness and lack of commitment caused by poor self-judgement. Think about it…every time you’ve found yourself in this downward spiral, you’ve doubted yourself. You’ve cut yourself short and beat yourself up in one way or another. Truth feels right, you feel bad because you are lying to yourself. And when you ‘speak’ to yourself this way, it becomes very hard to make decisions and / or commit to anything. Pay attention to this next time that dark cloud starts to hover. What is it you are telling yourself in your time of need?

It’s not your job to judge yourself. You were created with exact divine precision. You are impeccable, exquisite, and unique. You were created exactly as you are for good reason. You and you alone have the ability to carry out your Divine Plan. What you may perceive as your greatest fault, may in fact be your greatest gift. Consider this; It is those we called “bossy” in grade school who became the greatest managers and “the nicest girl in town” would probably make a mighty lousy choice for a lawyer. Every so-called flaw is a gift when you take the time to look at it in the right light. You truly are Divine. A perfect creation.

Life has a way of throwing some pretty nasty blows our way and even then, what we may perceive as a disaster may in fact be a gift. How many times have you had your heart broken and thought you would never be able to go on? When you look back years, or even months later, you find yourself thanking your lucky stars that relationship didn’t work out!

Whatever your purpose, whatever your destiny, there is a power greater than you working for your greater good. It is only through these eyes that you will see your perfection. It is only through this plan that you will see the flawless organization of the divine chaos that we call “Life”.

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – Forgiveness

Featuring artwork by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Featuring artwork by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Dearest Love,

Forgiveness is one of life’s most difficult lessons. Unfortunately, it also happens to be a lesson you will probably continue learning throughout your entire life.

I’ve struggled with this lesson for a long time. This is what I’ve learned about forgiveness; forgiveness isn’t about forgetting. It doesn’t even have to be about reconciling. Forgiveness is simply letting go of your hurt, your anger or your resentment toward another. Forgiveness sets you free.

Holding on to bitterness and resentment may eventually result in dis-ease. You owe it to yourself and those you love to forgive. Don’t get discouraged. This lesson takes a lot of practice. Once you get the hang of it, you will feel your soul smile. You have my word.

Keep in mind that sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself.

You make my soul smile.

Love Mom xo

Tomorrow, June 26th 2013 is the official launch date for Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo, Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer. For more information and a list of gifts offered, or to place your order please visit the Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo website.

Thank you so much for sharing in this journey with me. As readers, you are the reason that I continue to write. ❤ Love, Sandy

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – Embrace Your Uniqueness

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Featuring art by The Heart Painter and Nicole Cote

Dear Love,

You were born with special qualities and traits. It’s so important to love and accept every part of yourself as a valuable contribution to what makes you so wonderfully you. No one else can be you better than you can!

You were born exactly the way you are to learn the lessons and achieve the miracles that only you can.

Embrace your uniqueness!

Loving you just as you are, forever.

Love Mom xo

On June 26th, Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo will celebrate it’s official launch. Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer.

In honor of this most exciting event, I will be sharing with you a letter from Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo every day from now until then. If what you read touches your heart, I encourage you to please share it with others ❤

Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo – The First Letter

On June 26th, Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo will celebrate it’s official launch. Anyone who orders the book that day from Amazon.com will also receive a list of downloadable gifts offered to you from transformational leaders Shawne Duperon, Teresa Degrosbois, Debra Poneman, Susan Heim, Shayla Logan, Temba Spirit, and Heather Cournoyer.

In honor of this most exciting event, I will be sharing with you a letter from Letters From Heaven Love Mom xo every day from now until then. If what you read touches your heart, I encourage you to please share it with others ❤

Heart Painter

My Dear Child,

I want you to know that your life has made a remarkable difference in mine.

You’ve touched my life in ways that I can’t explain. I’ve learned more from you than I’ve learned from anyone or anything else in this world. You are a true gift.

Make no mistake; I am not the only one who feels this way. I’m proud to say I’ve seen you touch many people’s lives in many different ways and you’ve been doing it since the day you were born.

I am honored to call you my child.

Always by your side,

Love Mom xo

Where it all began: The Making of A Book That Broke My Heart

Creating a New Normal

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We really are creatures of habit, aren’t we? Life passes so quickly and doesn’t it sometimes feel like one day runs into the next? Before you know it, a year has gone by and you’re still doing the same old dance? Before you know it you’re wondering why your life still looks the same as it did 10 years ago. What happened to your plan for change? We wake up and follow the morning routine. We follow another general routine for the day, another at night, and repeat. Even for a girl like me who has anxiety with schedules and routines, my days are basically the same.

In my mind, I can see my perfect world. I am aware of the general steps to get me where I want to go, and yet more often than not I fall short of attaining this beautiful world. I stay secure in my comfort zone, even though it’s not my hearts desire to do so. Those who are close to me laugh sometimes when they hear me speak this way. In their eyes I am regularly putting myself out there, trying and testing new things. I’m always chasing dreams; new ones, old ones, it doesn’t much matter as long as I’m chasing something. What they don’t realize is that this is my comfort zone. I don’t like routine and schedule. I find excitement and comfort in always living in a world just outside my reach. I find comfort in new ideas and new ventures. I have been working very hard the last few months to step outside of my comfort zone by sticking to my goals until they are attained. Dedication. Perseverance. ohhh butterfly Focus.

Changing our life is achieved in large part by making simple changes to the pattern of our days. That’s where it all begins – with the arduous task of changing our habits. I’m not talking 360 shifts here, often big changes are the result of small shifts. Think about it; change made in a morning routine can result in change throughout the day. If our day routine is changes, every day changes along with it. You can re-design your life by creating a new normal.

Change your habits, change your life

Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. Believe you are worthy.

Embrace your awesomeness!

Did God Overestimate Me?

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They say that God will never give you more than you can handle. I really think He gave me too much credit. I think He overestimated my strength, my tolerance, my patience, and my overall ability to cope.

He’s right, I am compassionate but I have limits. I don’t mind listening, in fact I like it. I am fascinated with the way every person’s mind works. I am amazed at how perceptions can shape any experience. I love being able to provide a new way of seeing things whenever I can. I don’t mind holding the space for people when they just need a safe place to vent to let out all of their frustrations. Usually it’s in this space where they find their own answers. If they ask for help, I will go over and above to offer it. I love to witness the change from a discouraged heart to one that is empowered. It’s incredibly fulfilling to be a part of that process.

My stubborn nature doesn’t allow me to give up easily. This is a both a gift and a curse. I refuse to give up on those I love. I have enough faith in the process of life to allow them to make and learn from their own mistakes as long as they are moving forward. But I do not possess nearly the tolerance required to watch them choose to hit rock bottom when the the door to what they want is left wide open and ignored. Nor do I possess the ability to watch those I love continue to hurt to the point of despair. I was not created with a heart that allows me to cope well with being treated as a mere convenience or being kept on a need-to-know basis when I am expected to ‘help out’.

I keep asking Him what my lessons are in all of this. Perhaps it is simply to realize that it is not my responsibility to ‘fix’ everything for everybody. People change when they are ready to take the necessary steps to ensure change. Maybe it’s my lesson to continue to trust in Him, learn to let go, and accept that I am responsible for my own peace as everyone else is for theirs.

 

 

Heartbreak and Hardships…sometimes life sucks

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Sometimes I feel like I’m forced to face the same challenge a hundred times over. Same people, similar circumstances, over and over and over again. It seems like no matter what I do, I find myself in the middle of a new act in the exact same circus. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. It takes it’s toll on my body, my mind, and my spirit. Sometimes I swear I can feel my heart cracking.

As much as each experience breaks my heart a little more than the last, I continue to be grateful for the lessons I have learned along this bumpy road;

  1. Things are rarely as they seem
  2. Everyone wants to be heard, not everyone wants to be helped
  3. Dishonesty can take many forms; half-truths, withheld information, and deliberate misleading. Sometimes it pays to dig a little deeper
  4. Every person is doing the best that they can with the knowledge that they have
  5. I can only help people that want to be helped and only to the extent that they want to be helped
  6. Everyone needs, deserves, and is entitled to compassion and encouragement
  7. Mistakes are inevitable – Apologies are necessary
  8. The more you give, the more people will take; Personal boundaries are vital to personal well-being
  9. When I do the same as I’ve done, I continue to see the same results

Number 10 …. If I continue to find myself in the middle of a destructive cycle, it’s time to ask the question; what role do I play in the cycle? Am I enabling the pattern?

I usually take on the role of peacekeeper, which sometimes also translates to ‘enabler’.  I’ve allowed myself to be played as the rope in the middle of a tug-a-war (a war that isn’t even mine to fight!). I am responsible for taking on those roles. By removing myself from the cycle, change in that cycle is inevitable.

Not so long ago, I had the opportunity to put this theory to the test. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was easily one of the most liberating as well.

We are all responsible for the choices we make in our lives. We are all responsible for the roles we play in it as well. If things aren’t working as they should, then is it not our responsibility to instill change?

Go for it!

Embrace your awesomeness!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy Friendships, Forgiveness, and Jelly Beans

As always, I love to hear your thoughts 🙂 Feel free to leave your comments here or private messages can be sent via facebook

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