Monday, March 31, 2014

It's A Family Thing!

Type 1 diabetes, any lifelong disease that affects a member of the family, affects the entire family!

When our third child, Skye, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 11, our family was forever changed. Her diagnosis would be the beginning of many. What we did not know is that even though the days seemed long and the nights shorter we would eventually find ourselves into a routine known to us as normal.

Now at the age of 17 our daughter is preparing to graduate from high school and start a new level of adulthood and independence. April 25, 2014 will mark 6 years since the diagnosis day. What I have found myself reflecting on is how very different it has affect all 6 members of our family.

Me (Mom)- The Caregiver. Although we share the responsibility of Skye's health, I tend to put the entire responsibility on myself. This includes being present at ALL doctor's appointments, managing pump settings, setting the alarm and getting up in the middle of the night. In addition when Skye's health is not the best or she is sick, I take it personally. I often feel that I have failed in my responsibility as her mom to ensure she eats properly, checks always and is changing her pump site on a regular basis. What I have learned over the last couple of years is that it is okay to let go. My husband has taken Skye to several appointments without me and guess what? Everything turned out okay! I know amazing right. I can actually share this responsibility. Skye has also stepped up to take responsibility of her site changes and ensuring that she always has supplies on hand. Her increased responsibility is still in a work in progress, but we are getting their.

Dad- Mr. Realistic. The person in the family who thinks things through before reacting. The one who says lets figure this out on our own and then talk with the doctors. The one who pushes Skye to be independent and believes she can do it. The one who never allows her condition to be an excuse for behavior (yes I am guilty by always asking first "have you checked?"). Dad is the one who brings the balance to emotions and gets everything turned back around when it seems to be spiraling out of control. He makes Doctors appointments interesting and hospital stays unforgettable.

Older Sister Bryanna- Ms Emotional. Her heart is so big! She may not be able to administer shots or stand watching a site change, but she WILL make sure to an alarm to wake her sister up to check multiple times during the night when she stays at her house. When she hears she is sick, she is concerned. When she hears of complications with others, she is concerned. I do believe if she were able to be granted one wish in life it would be that to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Older Brother Chris- The Drill Sergeant. Christopher is constantly on top of Skye about taking care of herself and that her long term care starts with her first. Christopher lets Skye know that if she wants change, she has to make it because this is her life. If she wants to live a long healthy life she must start now. Chris will spend his time researching foods, drinks and activities that are important to Skye's overall health.

Younger Brother Matt- Happy Go Lucky. Matthew's attitude is what disability. He treats Skye no different and moves through life as if everyday is the same. He expects Skye to meet every responsibility and tasks just as he does and rarely brings up the fact that she even has type 1 diabetes. If he is asked he will relay a message or remind her to grab her supplies. Other than that he just lives life everyday with his sister, whose not so normal in his eye but it has nothing to do with the fact that she has type 1 diabetes.

Each of our roles form a support group and help our family function together as a complete unit. I provide the slack when Skye feels overwhelmed with the tasks of responsibility, her dad is able to balance out the emotional roller coaster that this life will often find us on, Bryanna reminds us that though we live life everyday as normal as any other family we can never forget the risk that is ever present in Skye's life. Christopher pushes Skye to take control of her life so that she will be with us for a very long time living a healthy life. And Matthew allows Skye to just be a normal teenage girl by providing moments when her condition is not even an issue or a factor.

While we each deal with unexpected situations in our family in various ways, we together keep the family strong. It's a family thing! Has your family faced unexpected changes through loss of a loved one or an unexpected diagnosis? These situations can rock our world, knock us off our feet and challenge who we are as an individual and as a family unit. The first year of Skye's diagnoses went so fast I barely remember it.

We have each made adjustments and each found the role in which we fit. There are still bad days in which Skye's diagnosis causes frustration and life is crazy. But despite the bad days, despite the times of frustration and conflict, good days always return!  Maybe our roles will once again change in the future, but for now we have found our place and together our family is strong! Together we hold on to hope for cure, hope for a long and healthy future for Skye and all those living with type 1 diabetes.

Follow Skye and Bentley's Journey to a Cure to learn more about life with Type 1 diabetes and what we are doing to stay strong and be supportive as a family!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Traveling Book Club

In the spirit of trying trying new things, I signed up to take part in a summer traveling book club. The book titled "Three Years Later" by Casey McMillin was sent out on its first journey to Malaysia in June 2013. Along the route the book would travel to Australia before return to the USA. Along the path the book was lost for a bit of time. I was so disappointed as summer was ending and I would be faced with the heavy load of school and work responsibilities. My hopes continued that it would arrive after the fall semester, however, when it i did not I had actually forgotten about it. 

In February I received an email that the book had been located, was back on track and soon on its way to me. I was excited yet worried. When I commit to something I like to give it my all and at this particular time I found myself right in the middle of spring semesters, exams and deadlines for papers! 

The book arrived and I committed that no matter what I would read it the coming weekend. Casey is such a great author. Inside of the package was the cutest little silk bag containing her favorite hair-ties to share with readers. 

Additional extra's that were found upon opening the package were bookmarks from the author and a notebook to write a review upon completion.  

With a heavy schedule working full time and running my own business, while also attending college full time this experience allowed for the perfect day to set it all aside, relax at the beach and read an unrealistic, cute, love story. While I can cross participate in a traveling book club off my bucket list, I can't say that I won't do it again. I absolutely loved the experience of reading what others wrote in the journal and adding to the comments and doodles throughout the book! 

The full review of my experience can be found on Goodreads

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When The Going Gets Tough!

We have heard the expression "When the going gets tough the tough get going!". No matter hard we try to maintain a good attitude and keep a smile on our face, inevitably life will hit us with unexpected circumstances that will shake our norm and challenge our desire to remain a positive and happy individual. 

So what do we do?  There's a famous quote that I have found often puts these life moments into perspective.  

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When things get tough, and often they will, putting them into perspective against who we know we are as individual is a crucial factor in determination to make it through the tough times. Recently I found myself in this situation.  Life in general you may say. Heavy school schedules, running my own business while balancing a shortage of staff, all in addition to life's everyday task and responsibilities.  To top it off my daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes became ill for an entire week only complicating matters worse.  Above all other responsibilities, she became my number one priority at his point. 

Have you found yourself in situations similar before? Do you ever feel like your days are not long enough and the weeks are dragging on before you get some down time? 
It is as this moment that we must search deep within us and remind ourselves that we are not our current situation and we are not here forever.  

I've found a few things that keep my motivation and happiness along the way.

1. Surround yourself with positive people. 

Do this through the right family, friends and co-workers. But, go beyond that. Follow positive and encouraging pages and groups through various social media outlets. Here are a few of my favorites:

2. Keep a symbol close to you that will be a constant reminder of who you are outside of your circumstances. 

For me this is a necklace that I created recently. It says it all and I wear it almost everyday!

3. No matter how  long the day is, take a few minutes to wind down, take a day off, put everything down and remember you can only do so much in one day. You can only have so much control over a situation. 

These are my 3 little power tools that keep me going. What would you add to the list? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Motivate, Advocate, & Reciprocate

Life is a gift! Every moment, everyday counts. Recently I ordered an item called a Living Locket by Origami Owl. I put a lot of thought into the items that would make up my locket that I would wear each day.

First to represent "Motivation" I choose a plate with the word Inspire inscribed on the top. I love when people are motivated by actions and words. In both my professional and personal life I hope to inspire others to live out their dreams, love their life, and leave mark in history.

Second I chose a grey ribbon and added a red drop of blood to represent Diabetes Awareness. The cause that I choose to support is in finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes and being a voice to the difference between type 1 and type 2. There are so many causes in this world! I believe we should each find one that is near to our heart and support it with our giving, time and voice. What is your cause?

The third item is the word "love". This represents many factors of my life. I found that when you have a love to give back, to do for others, and to serve the community, you truly live a live of passion which is represented by the red accent stone.

Two great quotes that some up my purpose to reciprocate:

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and do no defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. -William Penn

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.- Winston Churchill

We only have one life which is the inspiration for the final piece of my locket. A tree with the words unscripted in the back stating that "Life Is A Gift".

This represents who I am and the image that I strive to live out each day.

What is your life known for? What are your passions? For motivation on not just existing in this world but existing passionately, follow my blog post throughout the week or visit my page.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Every Little Bit of Motivation Counts!

In 2012 I made a commitment to start living a healthier life. Since then I have lost 30 lbs, changed the way I eat and my overall lifestyle. The amazing part is that I am still changing! My husband has seen this commitment and recently made life a lot more simple by surprising me with two amazing gifts. The first was our very own elliptical machine. No excuses! The second was given to me this past Monday and it was a Fitbit Flex band.

Have you seen these?

fitbit flex
I immediately began searching for reviews and information on what others thought of this product. What I discovered was that for the most part people LOVE it! Overall it seems to be the perfect "motivator" for the person like myself that is making small yet significant changes in their lifestyle. 

What I like is that it it can sync to my laptop, android phone and my Ipad. When on my phone or Ipad the screen display looks like this:

During initial setup I entered my current weight along with fitness goals and selected a plan according to the level at which I wanted to work at. The program then set up the amount of calories that I need to intake each days as well as burn. With ease I can enter my water intake throughout the day and food that is consumed. In addition to loving the application itself the device is comfortable and water resistant. 

When on my laptop, the Fitbit Dashboard is a little more detailed. It offers the ability to view graphs and average results in various categories. Additional resources include the ability to keep a daily journal and log heart rate, blood pressure and glucose readings. It all depends on how specific and detailed you choose to be. The battery life from what I researched is around 5 days. I am currently on day 4 and my battery life is just at the halfway mark. 

I personally have not found a downside but could see the potential for someone much more active or who is an athlete.  They may find this device to be more work and less motivating. This product could give false readings by misunderstanding your high activity for actually steps you are taking. You can override that by logging into your app and adjusting your current activity, but you would need to realize this takes away from the simplicity and easiness of the product. If you don't mind this task then it would not be an issue. 

I will leave you with this tip. Whenever I use a new product or start a new endeavor I find that motivation comes from seeking out others of like mind. So to achieve that goal with my fitbit flex, I made my way over to the official Fitbit blog site and subscribed to their feed. They have a ton of interesting tips, motivating challenges and statistics to keep you and your fitbit working together. 

My overall opinion thus far of the product is that it lives by it's product name in that every little bit does motivate and make a difference in living a fit lifestyle! What are you doing to keep yourself motivated? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making Memories With No Regrets

Have you ever found yourself investing time to plan a vacation and once you getaway nothing seems to be going according to this master plan? You find yourself more frustrated than you do relaxed and full of joy?

I've found a few ways to ensure that any vacation whether small or short will help relieve the stress and leave you with nothing but amazing memories!

First, DON'T WAIT! Life is constantly going and moving forward. If we wait until everything is calm and in order we will never find ourselves getting away. Sure, there is probably a better time of the year than others to plan special trips, but don't underestimate and overlook the power of a quick getaway. It is refreshing and renewing to your soul and will help you live a life of passion!

Second, TRY NEW THINGS! Visit a new location, try the food that you can't pronounce, go para-sailing, just say yes to that experience that you have always been curious about. Ask questions and be inquisitive. You never know what you will discover about yourself.

Third, NO REGRETS! The worst thing you can do is come off of a vacation or mini-getaway and focus on how much you spent financially verses the memories you made. If this is something that tends to always become an issue following an experience, next time plan ahead to only use cash or the amount of money placed on a prepaid travel credit card. Research activities of interest in advance and financially plan according into your budget. This will ensure that your focus remains on more memories and less regrets!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

6 Ways To Live Your Life With Passion

Life is a journey. Often, we can find ourselves in a boring routine along the way where we wake up, get ready for work, breakfast in the car, same work routine everyday, go home, dinner, bed and do it all again. It happens to most of us at one point or another. Life gets busy. But that does not mean it should be any less meaningful and passionate.

Six ways guaranteed to change your ordinary life into one that exist with passion!

1. Love your career!
If you don't then your the only one who can fix that. Start now with a plan. If that means going back to school so you can achieve your dreams then do it! The only person stopping you is yourself. Stop telling yourself it's too late to change careers or that your children need you at home. There are solutions to all your road blocks if you seek them out and are determined to make it happen. Yes, it's harder if you already have a family but trust me, my personal experience, you can do it and it is so rewarding.

2. Love yourself first!
Love yourself enough to take care of you mind, body and soul. Bring balance to these areas of your life so that every morning you wake up with confidence and every night you go to bed feeling accomplished.

3. Try new things!                 
Go ahead and eat the sushi, attend a painting class, try out a new recipe, join a spin class and step out of the box. Start pinning fun new things to do and try, like new hair! We live in a great big world, don't be afraid to discover all it has to offer.

4. Be a voice!
What is close to your heart? Is it breast cancer, autism, diabetes, heart disease, abuse, homeless, kids or the elderly? The list is endless and most of us are affected in someway or another with a cause that we can be a part of through raising awareness, finding a cure or solution to the problem, and financially contributing to a mission. Find yours and be a part, volunteer! Organizations need you! Together we can make a difference in this world.

5. Surround yourself with success
Be a part of social media groups that are positive and challenging. Go to that networking lunch, join the study group, attend the Gala. Subscribe to successful people and motivational blogs, newsletters, twitter feeds and Instagram accounts. Keep feeding yourself the good stuff! Follow and participate in groups that promote success like Success Networking via LinkedIn

6. Be a PASSIONATE person
Don't be satisfied with just being "okay". In whatever you do, wherever you go and whoever your with, be happy, enthusiastic and fascinated enough that you continue to discover new things.
There is an old saying that says you get out of life what you put in. If your not happy, if your life lacks energy and meaning then ask yourself what are you going to do to change that?