Targeting success in 2016

Target success 2016

I’ve felt stumped about what to say for my 2016 goals. I felt like I failed at all my goals in 2015 because I had to focus so much on my health crisis. I can’t fault myself for that because, you know, figuring out why I was experiencing debilitating pain and weakness was important and it was equally important for me to focus on treatment once we started getting answers.

But that also meant my focus was taken from what I had hoped to accomplish. In some ways, that’s worked out well because I’m realizing my original goals need to be altered a bit. In some ways, I actually met or exceeded the goals. That still means I missed some marks and I just have to be OK with that.

So, let’s review. Many of these were never spelled out publicly but I figure there’s no harm in talking about them now. My 2015 goals (and results) were:  Continue Reading →

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Chicken fried rice recipe

Chicken Fried Rice

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I did the sponsored post that included a moo shu pork recipe? We realized we were on a bit of a Chinese food cooking kick and I thought I’d share this recipe just in time for Chinese New Year.

We initially set out to make House Fried Rice, which usually has what we thought was pork or beef, chicken and shrimp. Most recipes we found had something called Chinese sausage in it and we had no idea what that was. Besides being befuddled with that ingredient, we also realized our first fried rice adventure should probably be a bit tame.

What we came up with was tamer, but still incredibly delicious. Just like my moo shu chicken, this chicken fried rice recipe was heavy on the protein compared to what we usually get in restaurants. We loved it!  Continue Reading →

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Guest post: Living with Fibromyalgia, a Back Injury, Diabetes and CHF – A Caregiver’s Story (Chronic illness series)

A note from Jamie: This blog is another guest post in the chronic illness series. AJ shares her story of being a caregiver to someone with a multitude of illnesses. Please read and share her story!

 

Living with Fibromyalgia, a Back Injury, Diabetes and CHF – A Caregiver’s Story

By AJ Demers, blogger at CelticAnglican’s Ramblings

AJ Demers is a freelance writer and online retailer based in the Odessa, TX area. She is the author of several blogs, including CelticAnglican's Ramblings (http://www.celticanglican.wordpress.com) and the store blog for CelticAnglicanShop.com

AJ Demers is a freelance writer and online retailer based in the Odessa, TX area. She is the author of several blogs, including CelticAnglican’s Ramblings (http://www.celticanglican.wordpress.com) and the store blog for CelticAnglicanShop.com

My mom’s spouse Jon, with whom I have a close daughter-like bond, lives with a set of physical complaints that would drive me crazy if I had to cope with them. Helping my mom act as caregiver to him has helped me fully appreciate what people have to go through when they’re forced into retirement for medical reasons.

Until 2003, Jon had a good job, although one that was frequently stressful. When he suffered a workplace injury that aggravated an existing back injury and was diagnosed with diabetes, life changed in a very complex way for all of us.

Jon being fired after his health conditions becoming known lead to a move from Houston back to Odessa, TX, a frustrating workers’ comp case, and being forced to go on Social Security several years ahead of when he’d intended to retire. In the years since his job loss, Jon has also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and congestive heart failure (CHF).

Having to adjust to life after forced medical retirement, versus planned retirement, continues to be a real struggle for him to this day. He has a gift for making jewelry and other items, but is frequently frustrated by how often his chronic pain even interferes with that.

Getting yard work done is a frequent frustration, as well. Being restricted from doing too much heavy lifting or getting into tight spaces makes it hard for him to do many tasks like mowing, trimming trees, or even starting up a chainsaw.

One thing that people often don’t understand with someone with Jon’s set of health issues is his need to pace himself when pain, blood sugar highs and lows, and fatigue become an issue. His days of camping or fishing aren’t over, but adjustments are needed, such as not sleeping on the ground, picking spots where he’s less likely to fall, and having to make allowance for medication schedules and insulin.

Living withChronic IllnessHis diabetes is under better control, as well as his CHF. However, the chronic pain continues to be one of his biggest roadblocks because it interferes with his day-to-day life, from rescheduling doctors’ appointments due to having had a bad night to having to only sit through part of a church service.

I think that, with some of his other health issues having improved, he will have the motivation to fit ways to stay fit and mobile. Maybe it’s not a question of having had his retirement permanently ruined, so much as enjoying it as he intended after a few hurdles.

That’s my hope, anyway.

 

 

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Guest post: My Personal Experiences as a Cancer Survivor and Widow (chronic illness series)

 Note from Jamie: Welcome my friend Leslie, who is joining the chronic illness series to talk about being both a cancer survivor and a widow. Her husband died at age 52. 

 

My Personal Experiences as a Cancer Survivor and Widow

Leslie IA picMy name is Leslie.  May 10, 2016 marks the fourth anniversary of my husband’s sudden death at age 52 from an undiagnosed Pulmonary Embolism. Seven days later I celebrate 15 years of being cancer free.

I was diagnosed at age 39 with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November 2000 after suffering symptoms for more than 11 months. At the time, I was the married mother of two young daughters, ages 7 and 3, working full time as a Technical Writer and my husband, Stewart, traveled frequently in his job as an Agriculture Journalist.

You can read about my cancer diagnosis and treatment experience in a two-part series published on Lymphoma.net in July 2013 at Lymphoma Info. Continue Reading →

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#ad Peanut butter & jelly-inspired high protein granola

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartWithJifPowder  #CollectiveBias

Shop_JIF_PBJ_Granola_above

 

I’m a snacker. Are you a snacker? I tend to like crunchy, tasty snacks and most of the lower-sugar, higher-protein options are not in that crunchy, tasty category. Until  Jif™ Peanut Powder came along. And the peanut butter and jelly-inspired granola. Crunch. Seriously yummy taste. Continue Reading →

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Happy Marriage Spaghetti (beef, Italian sausage, fire roasted tomato and basil spaghetti)

Beef Sausage Fire Roasted Basil Spaghetti Above

Ever since the Disney classic Lady and the Tramp, spaghetti has been viewed as a romantic dish. Heck, it might have even been before that. Considering how messy spaghetti is, it’s not exactly the best dish to order on a first date. Maybe that’s what makes it romantic-the fact that you have to feel comfortable with the person to eat spaghetti in front of them!

John and I love spaghetti in various forms (although he won’t eat it at a restaurant) but we each have our favorites. I like your basic ground hamburger with fire roasted tomato sauce. He likes chopped mild Italian sausage links with traditional tomato and basil sauce.

A week or so ago, we knew we needed enough food for all weekend and decided to make two batches of spaghetti: one of his favorite and one of my favorite. When we got down to the end of each batch there was only enough sauce from each batch for half a serving each so we mixed them. It was delicious!

(For those who are from Northwest Arkansas, it reminded me a lot of Noodles Italian Kitchen’s Spaghetti Feast, which is among my favorite dishes to order at that restaurant.)

I raved about it so much (I ate the last serving) that John wanted to try it so we made a compilation recipe on purpose last weekend. It’s not fancy, but it’s a fun take on spaghetti that will feed a lot of people (or provide you with copious leftovers). Another option is to use half of the mixture to make my spaghetti pie for a later meal.

Why happy marriage spaghetti?

I love this shot of us even if the lighting is weird. This is from my cousin's wedding reception.

I love this shot of us even if the lighting is weird. This is from my cousin’s wedding reception.

One quick thought before I share the recipe. The reason I call this happy marriage spaghetti is it combines two people’s distinct wishes and preferences to find a “win-win” for both involved. Plus, it has a pleasing smooth flavor with just enough spice to keep it interesting!

Isn’t that a lot like marriage? Instead of taking turns “winning” in a compromise, it seems so much healthier to find a solution where both people can win together.

Now, for the recipe. As always, I put the words section all together in case someone wants to cut and paste into a document to print. I will show pictures below.  Continue Reading →

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Learning to BE (One Word 2016)

BE

 

It’s such a simple word, isn’t it? According to Miriam-Webster, the word “be” is usually

  • “used to indicate the identity of a person or thing

  • used to describe the qualities of a person or thing

  • used to indicate the condition of a person or thing.”

Be is also my One Word for the year. The One Word theory is that there’s a single word that defines your year’s journey. Continue Reading →

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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Moo Shu Chicken and Pagoda appetizers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FrozenFromScratch #CollectiveBias

 Shop_Pagoda_Moo_Shu_Chicken_New_Year

Let me tell you my own “Green Eggs and Ham” story. I grew up not liking Chinese food, or at least, that’s what I thought. Truthfully, I had never tried it. In college, a friend convinced me I should go and told me to try the Moo Shu Chicken. I was hooked. Over the years, I’ve branched out and tried several Asian cuisines but still love Chinese food the best. Confession: My favorite is still all the great appetizers like what you can get from the Pagoda brand at Walmart.

Shop_Pagoda_Walmart

What’s strange is, after that first experience, I never got Moo Shu Chicken again, even though I loved it. My husband and I recently rediscovered it at several local restaurants but each time would say “if we were making it, we would do this.” So, we decided to do just that. What a more perfect time to pair my favorite Chinese appetizers and learn a new Chinese recipe than the Chinese New Year? Ibotta apparently agrees because they are offering this great coupon for two Pagoda appetizer products. Continue Reading →

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Guest post: What you see is not what I get (chronic illness series)

Note from Jamie: This is another story in the chronic illness series. I was honored to room one night with Vickie at Arkansas Women Bloggers University. I love her blog and truly enjoy her company. It’s an honor to host her story here. 

What you see is not what I get (what I wish people knew about myasthenia gravis)

By Vickie Henderson

Vickie Henderson

I stared at my hands on the steering wheel but I didn’t trust them. For the last twenty years these hands steadily performed surgeries and delivered thousands of newborn babies. They also gripped the hoods of my road bicycle while I pedaled thousands of miles. Then they betrayed me.

After thoracic surgery, handfuls of pills and months of infusions of immune globulin, I was finally strong enough to steer my car. And walk. By invitation, I arrived at the State Capitol to potentially testify for a pro-life bill. My hands may not work but my brain and mouth still do, well, at least most of the time. It was my first solo outing since being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG), an auto-immune, neuromuscular disease which causes profound weakness. More specifically it causes fatigable weakness. I can do anything once, but the more I do the worse I get, quite the opposite of my life before MG. Continue Reading →

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Confessions and healing of a control freak

A dominating spirit can sometimes be more disabling than a physical disability.

A dominating spirit can sometimes be more disabling than a physical disability.

Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m a bit of a control freak. If you know me at all, you’re probably saying to yourself, “well, duh!”This is something I’ve always known but truthfully, have treated it as a joke. In the last year, I’ve come to realize just how much I’ve let this take over my life and my relationships. I’m also being forced to learn better life habits.

This is something I’ve always known but truthfully, have treated it as a joke. In the last year, I’ve come to realize just how much I’ve let this take over my life and my relationships. I’m also being forced to learn better life habits. Continue Reading →

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