So…. this year, at my company’s Christmas Party, I won an Amazon Gift Card! I was so excited! If you are anything like me, when I have no money – I can tell you 100000 things I would like. But give me a gift card, or let me have some spending money, I have a hard time making a decision.

But this time, I knew exactly what I was going to get. You got it – I got a ‘bed of nails’, or as other less dramatic people call it – an acupressure mat. Having an autoimmune disease is super tough. There are days that you feel great, and then boom – all of a sudden your body feels like that of a 90 year old woman. Stress, and by stress I mean emotional or physical, can almost cripple me. Well, guess what – everyone has stress, right? There is no way you are going to be a momma of three kids and not have stress. So, what does one do?

Well, you learn to eliminate your stress as much as possible. I meditate, I pray, I exercise, I watch what I eat like a hawk. I take my medicine. I write. I journal. And now? Yep. I lay on a bed of nails. And as crazy as it sounds, if you suffer with back pain in anyway shape or form, get this thing. And no, I am not being paid to review this at all. This is just one girl wanting others to have the same relief I have had.

My bed of nails!

So, here’s a little bit of history on it. They claim that the bed of nails has been used as a relaxation aid for 5,000 years. Thousands of sharp spikes apply pressure to skin and muscles supporting restful sleep, relaxation, mental clarity and well-being. And guess what? It really does. Now don’t get it twisted. It is one of the weirdest things I have done, that actually works.

So, you have this mat – with these hard plastic spikes all over it. You it down, strip down, and lay back. I undress from the waist up, and roll down on it. One vertebrae at a time. Now, it is gonna be uncomfortable for the first little bit. But then, you feel a warmth take over your whole back. The first time, I did it for about 10 minutes, now – it’s about 25. I listen to a guided meditation while I do it, but if that isn’t your thing, you could totally watch TV, too.

And here is what I have noticed. I feel calmer. I do sleep better. But my favorite? When I wake up – I don’t feel stiff. So, Kristie tested. Kristie Approved. Get on amazon and get ya one!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam

A few weeks back, on my personal facebook page, I posted the below :

You wanna know why that’s funny? Cause it’s true. This new year, I have been quieter. Well, this whole holiday season, (see the last blog). But I was still here, reading, and lurking… LOL! And I saw a little bit of everything from folks. From “New Year, Same me” to “Almost time for the gym to get busy” to “Make New Year’s Resolutions- but not about your body!” (I really saw that one, too!) And all of this made me think, about my own take on the new year.

I like it. Is it just another day? Sure. But is it a block of time? It is. I also like the beginning of a football game. I am a huge Baltimore Ravens fan, and there was nothing I used to like anymore, than Ray Lewis coming onto the field and doing his chicken dance. I loved it. And why? Because you knew that the game was about to start. Race on. It’s my starting line.

I am a Virgo. Competitive by nature. So it was no shock to my own self when I realized I was making baby goals in my mind. And some were big and some were small. Then I was thinking about how to achieve them, and then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

Last year was a tough year for me – mentally and physically. I realized in late September/early October, there is a difference in being a doormat and standing up for yourself. I am so lucky that I have some amazing people around me – who supported me – and talked me through this – and even encouraged me. Now, although I am not comfortable with it, I am trying to do it more often. It isn’t my nature, you understand – my nature is to be a people pleaser. So often times, I shut up and take it. Just not to make waves.

Sis, that’s just ridiculous. I have learned that you can stand up for yourself without being a raging lunatic. You can say “Stop.” You can say, “I am not going to allow you to speak/treat/talk to me that way.” You can create boundaries. And you can forgive the whole time you are doing it. I am realizing that disagreements, along with standing up for yourself, doesn’t mean the person hates you – or that you are killing a relationship. It just means, you are saying, this doesn’t work for me.

I am not a ‘wave-maker’ now, but I am heard. There’s a difference. I feel like, I have a right to be heard, as do you. And we should be able to express ourselves, exactly like that. I also believe, that if someone is doing something good, we should be supportive, right? As humans, all doing this life thing together, we should be nicer. I literally just said, we should be nicer. Why, oh why, aren’t we nicer!?!?

Well, and there was my answer. In 2020 – and from this point on – I am going to work on being more consciously grateful. Consciously Kind. And also, maintain respect for myself. And if I can do that? Well, I would dare bet – a lot can change, right? And notice, I said that I am going to “work on it.” I might not do it great, I might have days where I fail miserably. But what I do know is this – I can always do a little better than I did they day before.

I put this photo on here, because this was definitely – my favorite day this year.

So, join me on this gratitude journey. Try everyday, to think of a few things that you are thankful for. Big or Small. Then write it down. And here’s the key- don’t make it the same three or four things. Because then it becomes reciting, not feeling and thinking about it. And I am making my own rule here, My top two – will never make the list – and I say that because consider it unspoken. I am thankful for God and my faith, and for my kids.

So, I will start us off.

  • Love. I am grateful for love. Being loved. Loving others.
  • Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine. When you have some of the health issues, I have had – you learn to appreciate both.
  • Having my best friend. A tell all. Another human to do life with – that gets you without judgement.
  • Coffee. I love coffee. I love the habit of it – the way it starts my day off.

So, big things, little things, and things in between. Tell me, what are you grateful for? Maybe, I am taking something for granted, that I need to appreciate a little more!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Well. I ghosted for a few days. Figuratively and almost literally. I’m gonna share more than I normally do – just because it is something that I think needs to be addressed. Because if I am dealing with it, I know I’m not the only one.

I am the picture of health to most people. I go to the gym. I run. I do yoga. I meditate. I am proactive about my health. But it isn’t because I am health nut- it’s because I have to be. The past two years my poor body has been through the ringer. It’s been one of those things where I really say, what’s next.

Sunday. I got sick. Super sick. The type of sick where you really get scared. I was vomiting uncontrollably. It went on for about four hours. I slept in the bathroom floor for awhile. I went to bed, and woke up once to puke again. I woke up, saying “I’ll be better today!” And guess what. I wasn’t. I tried to talk myself into it. Although, I had quit puking. I felt like crap. My whole body ached. My feet hurt when I stepped on the ground. I figured after a good nights sleep, I’d feel better.

Lies.

I woke up the next day, and to be honest, I knew there was something off. I call the doctor- and I am instructed to go to the Emergency Room. So, off I go.

I was ashamed. Ashamed I was sick. Ashamed there was another problem. I was mortified that I would miss another day of work. Let me state- that in the three years I have been employed there- this is the fifth day I called out sick. So, as of last Sunday- 3 days In three years. And please know, my employers are fantastic. Two of those days- they forced me to take off. Because they knew the problems I was having. So it’s self induced- the panic and shame I feel.  It isn’t from them.  It’s from me. 

I associate, and I think a lot of people do, being sick with being weak. This association is only for myself though. Not others. I feel for others with health issues. I encourage rest, doctors, talking, time off, take care if yourself. But for my own self? Complete shame. I feel like if I was stronger. If I did something different. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick.

Well, this day- it was a ‘cardiac event’ stemmed from dehydration. To break it down- my heart was angry because I was dehydrated. I was given a million bags of iv fluids- and I am on the mend. It’s amazing how fluids can make such a difference. Who knew.

Guess who I contacted? Only the people I absolutely had to. Why? Because I don’t want people to pity me, or think – ‘now what’? Because listen. I’ve heard the tones before. When you have a weak moment and you tell a friend about what you are going through, and they seem- judge-y. It sucks. The “WOW. That seems like a lot.” Or “it seems like it something different every week. “

You are right, Karen. It does. And it doesn’t seem like something. It is something. But all the little issues all started with the big one. But please, tell me more about the person who had 14 items in the 10 item or less checkout. And keep being dismissive.

Yes. That was bitterness you detected. But this why I just keep my mouth shut. Shame. I was shamed once and became self conscience. So, I really kinda ‘suffer alone’- not even trying to sound dramatic. I could have asked a number of people to come sit at the hospital with me today- and I was scared. But I refused to ask. Why? Shame. Don’t want to bother anyone.  And I am so not kidding.  I literally have a list of people who would have came.  But because of one statement, by someone that I am not even really friends with at all, it clammed me up. 

So, if your loved one has health issues. Or you even know someone who is just struggling, health or not, and you are in a good mental place – Call.  Text them.  Reach out.  Let the speak freely.  It’s hard to be by yourself.  And just because someone is married, has kids, great parents – doesn’t mean that they don’t feel ashamed.  Autoimmunity, cancer, flu, or just a string of bad luck- let them know it’s okay to call them. It’s a lonely world when you feel shamed. This isn’t a fact that I have no one – I do. This is just me saying openly- it’s hard to let people in sometimes- especially when you feel like a broken human.57832145616__5040EA94-B9FE-440F-B011-59641F411E6F

Because some days. I do feel broken.  I understand.  It’s hard.

Then I gotta remember – God’s doesn’t let us be broken.  And then, I talk to my tribe and they reassure me.  That they love me.  They just love me.  And everytime, they tell me that.  A little bit of that wall comes down.  

And I am so grateful. For my health. My home. My family. My friends. I am a lucky one. 

Huzzah!

I really just typed the word to keep with the whole “H” thing.  Fits though, right? I digress, and we are only one sentence in.  Focus Kristie!

So, I have skated around the fact in previous posts that I have had some health issues.  Quite a lot of them, if you ask me.  But, one of the ones that reaked havoc on me, was the diagnosis of Hoshimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Sounds wicked, right?  Guess what.  You are right.  It is.

Hoshimoto’s is an autoimmune disease.  If you are like me, I had heard the term before, but until I was diagnosed I had no idea what it was.  So, in case you don’t know – an autoimmune disease is a disease where your immune system attacks your own body.  So, you know, your immune system is supposed to attack foreign bodies, right?  Like bacteria, splinters, whatever.  In my case – my body says – “IMMUNE SYSTEM!  GATHER AROUND! THERE IS A FOREIGN BODY INVADING US! IT IS CALLED THE THYROID!  GO GET IT!”  This ridiculous proclamation is followed up with a strong warrior cry and steadfast speed to my thyroid.

Sis, I am gonna need you guys to relax and back up off my thyroid.  Quit being agressive.

They didn’t listen.  So now I have Hoshimoto’s.  I felt like crap.  Aching joints.  Dry skin.  Restlessness.  Depression at times.  Mood swings.  And I can’t handle cold.  Like I can’t.  We aren’t talking about the type of cold when it’s 30 outside.  Cold affects me different.  Like I can feel my bones inside my body.  It’s freaky and it hurts.

So.  Finally, They figure out what is wrong with me.  I had an awesome team of doctors who actually read my blood work and figured it out.  They put me on thyroid medicine, but also changed everything about my diet.  Yes, I said diet.  I know, not fun.  But whatever.  It is what it is.  Here is what I figured.  I have had issues and felt like crap.  The doctor is telling me that diet affects my health.  (And we aren’t talking weight watchers lose weight – like dietary eating plan).  Why would I not do it?  Because it’s hard?  Well, I can tell you dealing with depression and mood swings and ending up forever alone – that would be a lot harder.  LOL!

So here is where I stand today.  I am Gluten Free.  Dairy Free.  As organic as possible.  I also meditate.  Pray.  Breathe.  And a lot of other things.   But I am now going to share with all of you – with gluten/dairy issues – the best thing that ever happened to me.  And it’s a recipe.  An easy recipe at that.

IMG_9242

It might not look like much to you – but to me… It’s heaven.  In a jar.  So, short backstory – I can’t eat out without mega planning.  In turn, I pack my food when I go anywhere.  A few weeks ago, I forgot my lunch at home. We were slammed – and I resorted to Uber Eats.  I found a place called Purple Oceans Super Food Bar– here  in Orlando.  I got an Acai Bowl.  Never had one. But research and a phone call – I got a gluten and dairy free acai bowl ordered. And it changed my life.  I love it.  It’s like a healthy banana split sorta.  Anyway, I loved it so much, I thought can I do this at home.  Enter Pinterest.  From Pinterest, a little shuffling of the recipe – and I have now found perfection.  Here ya go:

1 packet of Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack

1/2 cup of FROZEN strawberries

1/2 cup of FROZEN blueberries

1/4 cup of Unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup of Diet Pomegranate/Cranberry juice

I make a few at a time.  And then, I pour it into mason jars.  And stuff them in the freezer.  Each day, I pull one out and throw it in my gym bag.  By the time 10 am rolls around… It’s sorta thawed, and delicious.  I use a stainless steel straw, and spoon!  You might want to add protein powder, if that’s what you do – or maybe whole milk.  Yogurt even.  Find what works for you!

It’s super healthy.  Full of anti-oxidants.  And delicious.  And I am not kidding when I say this – I always hated smoothies.  Like, Smoothie King, Planet Smoothie, Tropical Smoothie-I was never a fan.  This – yummmmmmmo.

Nutrional info –

147 Calories; 21 carbs; 6 grams of fat; 1 gram of protein; 12 g of sugar

And if you are in Orlando – GET OUT TO THE PURPLE OCEAN SUPER FOOD BAR (https://www.purpleoceansfb.com/) -For me – it doesn’t get much better.  I hope you enjoy!  Have a great and healthy day!