Monday, October 19, 2020

You're Invited to Join My Book Launch Team!

 It's finally happening! It's been almost exactly two years since I wrote my book during NaNoWriMo 2018 (an annual writing challenge with participation from writers around the world) and a year since I announced that I signed a publishing contract with Ambassador International


Yet Will I Praise Him: Living and Parenting with a Chronic Illness will be released November 17, 2020 and I'm so excited to share it with you all! 


Book description:
Motherhood can often feel overwhelming and isolating, but for moms with a chronic illness, those feelings are often intensified. When your life is a constant battle with pain, fatigue, and isolation, it’s easy to lose sight of any joy in your life. 

Wife and mother Hannah Wingert knows this all too well. After finally being diagnosed with a chronic illness following the birth of her fourth child, Hannah has had to come to terms with her diagnosis and learn to be a wife and mother in the midst of her invisible illness. 

In her inspirational book, Yet Will I Praise Him, Hannah opens up candidly about her own struggles of living and parenting with a chronic illness. She will help you understand how to use your chronic illness to grow in your faith, balance your marriage and parenting, and live each day with hope so you can not only survive the challenges you face, but also thrive

Hannah covers everything from the tough questions such as “Why doesn’t God heal me?” to “Why doesn’t my husband ‘get it?’” She also provides savvy advice and practical tips she’s learned along her journey. 

Though Yet Will I Praise Him is written by a mom for moms, it also covers information such as how the five stages of grief work when you have a chronic illness and what not to say to a parent with a chronic illness, making it beneficial for anyone who has a loved one who lives with a chronic illness. 


So here's where you come into all of this...you're invited to join my book launch team! Here's what it entails:

+ Launch team members will help spread the word about Yet Will I Praise Him on social media and other places online. Specific tasks will be shared in the Facebook launch group to make it easy for you to do so.

Here's what you will receive:

+ You will receive free sneak peeks and chapter samples of the book.
+ Your name will be entered into a drawing (prizes will include canvas tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, autographed copies of the book, etc.) each time you complete a task.

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Join the book launch team for Yet Will I Praise Him: Living and Parenting with a Chronic Illness! Apply here: https://bit.ly/3k7wfeE


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Other details:

+ The launch will run from November 5-December 1.

Click on the button below and apply to join the team! We're going to have so much fun and I can't wait to see you there!







Monday, October 12, 2020

How to Get Rid of Lice Fast and Naturally

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Lice.

Just seeing that word makes your head itch, doesn't it?

How to get rid of lice fast and naturally

It's been eight months and I think I'm ready to talk about what happened last February. The month started out okay, but then I got the flu. After spending a week in bed, I was finally starting to feel well enough to rejoin the family when Anna announced that her head was really itchy. I keep a lice comb on hand to check the kids periodically so I pulled it out of the medicine cabinet and ran it through her hair. 

Lice. Live crawling lice of varying sizes.

*shudder*

Anna was beyond horrified to realize that there were bugs in her beautiful, blonde, nearly waist-length hair. I knew there were hours of intensive hair combing in our immediate future so I brought up the possibility of a haircut. Up until then, every time I had suggested cutting her hair, I was met with firm rejection, but this time, she was so eager to chop it off that she practically grabbed the scissors from me to do it herself. She probably would have agreed to shaving her head at that point.

BTW, she looked absolutely adorable in her bob haircut and loved it so much that she still keeps it that short.


I emailed Anna's teacher to let her know about the lice and ask if anyone else in the classroom had them. Anna was the only one and no one else ever got them so we think she probably picked them up at the clinic because that was the only other place she had been.

I checked everyone else's heads and sure enough, Davy had them too. The next day, I also found some in Bobby's hair so I pulled the clippers out of the bathroom closet and shaved both of the boys' heads down to 1/2 inch to make it easier to treat them.

At this point, I had all three of the lice-affected children sleeping and quarantined in the same room. I spent most of my time vacuuming, washing bedding and pillows, bleaching everything in the house and the van, and combing hair over and over again. I also hit up Amazon for some products to help us kick the lice to the curb aka annihilate every. single. one.

Then I noticed that my head was itchy and, with trepidation, I ran a lice comb through my hair. Yup. I had them too. That terrified me more than the kids getting them because it was going to be harder to treat and comb out my hair by myself than it was for me to do it for the kids. Thankfully, I have a friend who had recently regaled me with tales of her days as a nanny which included treating a round of lice for the kids she nannied. I called her up and asked her for the biggest favor of my life. To my shock, she agreed to come help me get rid of the lice in my hair and arrived a short time later with a bag full of tea tree oil shampoo, hydrogen peroxide, coconut oil, shower caps, and more. I still owe her big. 


Within a week, the lice were all gone and although, I continued to check everyone daily for over a month, I never saw any more. Thankfully, Katie never caught them and neither did Hubby despite sleeping next to me while I had them.

Here are the steps we took to get rid of the lice in a week...

>Combing. So much combing! I combed everybody's hair four times a day for the first few days and then went down to twice a day after that until I was sure the lice were gone for good. I tried several kinds of lice combs and found the one that comes in this kit to be the best one for combing out lice and nits. I also used the Rosemary Repel spray on our hair and continue to do so. I also liked using these combs as they have magnifying glasses built in. 

>I vacuumed every single day, usually twice a day.

>I washed ALL of the bedding every single day in hot water and dried it on high heat. 

>I sprayed this lice killing spray on our leather couch and the mattresses twice a day. I also used it in our van.

>Each of us had our hair completely coated in a coconut oil/ essential oil mixture using a recipe like this one before bed one night and then slept in shower caps. Yes, it was a little messy and kind of uncomfortable to sleep in, but not as bad as I thought it would be. The next morning, we washed it out a round of Dawn dish soap and then regular shampoo. 

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 How to get rid of lice fast and naturally: https://bit.ly/33RuIDP

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All in all, it was a lot of extra work (SO MUCH LAUNDRY), but it wasn't as hard to get rid of the lice as I thought it would be and we didn't use any heavy chemicals to do so

While I hope you never have to deal with lice, I hope the tips I've shared here help you get rid of them if you do!
 




Monday, September 28, 2020

30 Ways to Encourage Others

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

For years, when I've prayed for someone who's going through a rough time, I would ask God to encourage them. I was perfectly happy praying for people and feeling like I was helping them by putting it all in God's hands while continuing in my comfortable life.

But then one day, while I was praying for encouragement for a friend of mine who was struggling with some health problems, I heard that still, small voice.

"That's your job."

Um, what? You mean I was supposed to get up and actually do something about what I was praying for? Okaaaaay...let's see how this goes.

30 Ways to Encourage Others

I sent my friend a quick text and let her know that I was praying for her. She responded quickly with heartfelt appreciation and we ended up chatting for a while which left us both feeling more prepared to meet the day we each had in front of us.

After that, I decided to add encouragement to my daily devotion routine. Every day, I choose someone from my rotating prayer app, PrayerMate, and send them a text, call them, mail them a card, or help them out in some way such as dropping off a meal, helping with errands, watching kids, etc. Most of the time, it only takes me a few minutes from my day to show someone that I'm thinking of and praying for them. Not only does it encourage them, but it blesses me as well.

Sometimes, one of the things that stops us from getting out of our comfort zone and encouraging someone else in their walk with Christ or their daily life, is not knowing how to do so. Another thing may be the fear of being rejected after putting ourselves "out there." That was a big deal for me and it still scares me sometimes, but in over a year of being purposeful with encouragement, no one has ever not been appreciative of it.


To help you get started, here are some ideas of people in your life that you can encourage and ways to do it.

1. Give unsolicited compliments and not just on appearance.

2. Send flowers.

3. Instead of asking, "how can I help?" be specific on ways you can help. 

4. Send a note or card.

5. Ask if they would like to get coffee together.

6. Use Bible verses specific to someone's situation to encourage them.

7. Listen to a friend talk instead of just talking about yourself.

8. Write a letter of appreciation or drop off a treat like a cookie tray at police stations, hospitals, teachers, etc.

9. Write a quick note of appreciation on a napkin to your waitress/waiter and leave it with a generous tip.

10. Let people know how they've encouraged you.

11. Drop a meal off. Bonus points if you use a disposable aluminum pan that they don't have to worry about returning! I like to keep a few on hand just in case.

12. Help a young mother or elderly neighbor with some chores or yardwork.

13. When you're talking to someone who's struggling in some way, take a moment to pray with them right then and there.

14. Use post-its to leave notes for family, friends, etc.

15. Give hugs often.

16. Pick up an extra coffee for a friend.

17. Call someone just to talk.

18. Tell people when you think they're doing a good job.

19. Pay for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in the drive through and ask the employee to give them a note with a Bible verse and one or two sentences like, "I hope you have a great day!" These cards make it easy to do that. 

20. Babysit for a friend so she can go to the store alone or on a date with her husband.

21. Say thank you often and show kindness, even when the cashier is taking forever or the waitress seems grouchy.

22. Send a care package to a loved one far away.

23. Share a book you loved with a friend.

24. Visit a nursing home and ask if there's a resident you could sit with for a while.

25. Send a text message letting someone know you're thinking of them and praying for them. Ask them how you can pray for them.

26. Send a note and stickers to a child you know.

27. Bake cookies for a friend, family member, or neighbor.

28. Tell your pastor and his family how much you appreciate them.

29. Gift something handmade.

30. Buy a $5 gift card when checking out at a store and give it to the person behind you in line.

31. Tell your kids and spouse how much you appreciate them. 

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30 ways to encourage others: https://bit.ly/36bThga
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I'd love to hear who and how you're encouraging others! Please share your stories with me in the comments.








Monday, September 21, 2020

10 Things Not to Say to an Apraxia Parent

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Before Davy was even two years old, I noticed that while he babbled and made noises, he wasn't really saying understandable words which struck me as odd since my three older kids were talking up a storm by the time they were 18 months old. No worries though! With the rocky start he got on life, I figured he was too focused on other things, like living, to learn how to talk.

10 Things Not to Say to an Apraxia Parent

But, then he turned two and then three. But that time, he was talking more, but it still wasn't understandable. I had to translate what he said for other people, his siblings had to translate what he said to me, and there was a lot of stuff he said that none of us could understand. He started speech therapy and I assumed that within a few months, his speech would take off. But while we saw some progress, it wasn't the big change I was hoping for. 

Davy's geneticist suggested that he may have Apraxia and referred him to a Speech Language Pathologist or SLP for an evaluation.  When we left that appointment, he had another diagnosis to add to his list...Childhood Apraxia of Speech.    

I pored over the Apraxia Kids website and realized that this wasn't going to just resolve itself with a little speech therapy. Apraxia is a motor speech disorder where the brain and the mouth don't quite know how to communicate with each other to form sounds and words properly. While kids with Apraxia may struggle to talk, they generally understand everything that is being said to them.

Davy is now six years old and still struggles to communicate, but it's finally getting easier for people to understand him when he talks. We still get a lot of comments, questions, and stares though. And as any parent of a child with special needs will tell you, everyone from close friends and family to complete strangers, thinks they know how to fix your kid and tell you where you went wrong. I put together a list of comments that parents of children with Apraxia often receive and give some suggestions of what to say instead.       

1. Einstein didn't talk until he was four.
While I am flattered that you compared my kid to Einstein, their situations really aren't the same. My son did not just start magically talking in full understandable sentences when he turned four.  

Apraxia Warrior shirt from Sunshine and Spoons
Available at the Sunshine and Spoons Shop

2. He'll outgrow it and catch up to the other kids. 
No one "outgrows" Apraxia. It will take a LOT of work from my son and our whole family for him to ever be able to speak as well as his peers.

3. He'd talk more if you didn't talk for him.  Stop babying him.
There's a difference between talking for my child and interpreting for him. I encourage him to talk, but know that other people may not be able to understand him so I interpret for him so that he can communicate with others.

4. He'll talk when he's ready.
He's ready right now! His brain and mouth just aren't cooperating with him.

5. Teaching him sign language will just hold him back.
Giving a child a means of communication is essential to their development and cuts down on frustration. While I do use some sign language with my son, we always make sure to say the word out loud while signing it and encourage him to do the same. 


6. He's just waiting until he has it perfect before he talks.
Ha! No, he's not. Perfection is not as important as the ability to communicate to him.

7. What's wrong with him?
Nothing. We all have struggles in life and this is one of his. He's a pretty awesome kid. Oh, and by the way, he understood what you just said so maybe don't tell him that he's broken in some way just because he can't speak well. 

8. You need to talk to, interact and work with him more.
When we're out in public, I may not push him as much as I do at home to repeat his words, work on adding more sounds to them, and add more words to his sentences because it's not always the best time or place to do so. At home, speech therapy is a constant part of our day and Davy works incredibly hard. 
Available at the Sunshine and Spoons shop

9. You're so lucky! I wish my kid didn't talk all the time!
First of all, just because he's not understandable doesn't mean that he's quiet. He talks. A LOT. And it's exhausting because every time he wants to tell me something, we have to play 20 questions and use a lot of gestures to figure out what he's saying.

10. What did you do wrong while you were pregnant?
Why does anyone think it's okay to blame the mom for the kid's medical issues? Not cool. Special needs moms deal with an immense amount of guilt on a daily basis, constantly questioning if they're doing things right, if they're doing enough, and how this could possibly be their fault. Let's not add to that, please.

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10 things not to say to an Apraxia parent: https://bit.ly/362MmWm

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What a parent of a child from Apraxia really needs to hear from you is that they're doing a good job. While you're at it, maybe spend a few minutes learning more about what Apraxia is (Apraxia Kids has some great resources for that!) and how it affects children, often their whole lives.  





Monday, August 17, 2020

10+ Books for Kids of Chronically Ill Moms

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Having a parent with a chronic illness can be tough for kids. It can make them more resilient, empathetic, and independent, but it can also make them feel guilty, frustrated, and alone. Some ways to help kids deal with these feelings is to talk with them, answer their questions, and make sure they understand as much as is developmentally appropriate. For older kids, giving them a journal to write in can help. Reading books together about what they're dealing with can help as well.    


With that in mind, I've put together a list of children's books that you can read with your child to help them better understand your chronic illness and limitations.  


by Melissa Swanson
"All the kids in class made paper dolls to show someone they love who is hurt or sick. When it's Ravyn's turn to share, she shows a paper doll of her mom — and it looks like there is nothing wrong!
Ravyn teaches the class that even though her mom looks healthy, she’s not! Ravyn’s mom suffers from fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks. Ravyn's Doll is a simple and effective way to explain fibromyalgia to your child. In a way that is understandable to children. it shows that not all illnesses are visible and explains how living with an invisible illness affects families' daily lives."

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by Ferne Sherkin-Langer
"A distressed little girl expresses her feelings when her mother goes to the hospital. Time drags and the child thinks of her constantly. Her understanding father helps her to cross off the days until she can visit and takes her to the hospital. When her mother comes home, normal life happily resumes. The nature of the woman's illness is not specified, but she is hospitalized periodically, which would make the book appropriate for children whose parents require chemotherapy, for example, as well as being generally useful for any parental hospital stay."

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by Nathalie Slosse
"This beautifully illustrated storybook describes the anger and emotion that many children encounter when a close relative or friend is diagnosed with a long-term illness, such as cancer. The story of Big Tree depicts how things are often out of your control and sets out effective strategies for dealing with these emotions."

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by Josie Leon
"When Mommy is having health issues, finding a way to discuss it with a young toddler can be challenging. Mommy’s Going to the Hospital offers parents a way to start a discussion using clear language and illustrations that can help you and your family make a plan for the situations and emotions that may arise as Mommy journeys from diagnosis, through the healing process, and back to full health."

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by Annette Rivlin-Gutman
"Mommy Has to Stay in Bed is for young children who are faced with the trauma of having a parent on bed rest. In this rhythmic and sensitive story, mother and daughter find ways to cope with feelings of frustration and boredom. Whether the parent is pregnant, has the flu, or is on long-term bed rest, Mommy Has to Stay in Bed brings the brighter side of spending time together in spite of a challenging situation."

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by Risa Kirschner
"Abby's mom has a boo boo, so her Nana takes her to the hospital to visit. Follow Abby's adventures as she finds a magical bed that moves, takes her teddy on a wheelchair ride, and learns that spending time with her mom can make a hospital feel like home. Based on the real experiences of the author's then two-year-old daughter, this sweet story teaches that hospitals are safe places for healing and that parents always love their children, even if they have to spend time away from home."

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by Katie Carone
"Mommy used to do a lot of fun things with me, but now she can't. Now it's my turn to help mommy! It can be sad and confusing for both kids and moms when a mother is hurt or sick and can't do all the things she used to. This simple and sweet book helps children understand limitations. It shares ideas on how kids can help, as well as activities a mom and child can can still do together. It reminds children that they are loved, and the best thing they can do is show love in return."

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by Elizabeth M. Christy
"This is a delightful story told by a young boy learning to understand and cope with his mother's illness. The story creates natural opportunities for families to talk about both the symptoms of chronic illness, and how they affect family life. Even more importantly, the story puts power into the hands of the children. It also offers a helpful "Tips and Resources" section for parents!"

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by Melinda Malott
"A mom uses a brilliant jar-and-marble analogy to teach her son about her limitations related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. The book uses marbles, a toy all children are familiar with, as a measure of the mothers limited energy. Using a jar and some marbles, the author conveys difficult concepts in terms that children can understand."

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by Simone Colwill
"How do you support a child with a sick relative? How do you empower them (and their family) to help too? You’ll find the answer to these questions and more in “What Does Super Jonny Do When Mom Gets Sick?" Jonny is a little superhero with a BIG problem! His Mom is sick. How can he help? JOIN Jonny and Bear, as they go to the hospital to investigate."
Also see the versions of this book written for Crohn's Disease and Heart Disease.

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by Angie McPherson
"Morgan's mom has multiple sclerosis or MS, for short. Sometimes she worries about her mom's illness. But she's found out over time, it might not be as scary as she thought. Join Morgan as she talks about what her family life is like living with a chronically ill parent. There is a resource guide at the back of the book if more information is needed on MS and family life."

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by Rachel Smith
"An interactive journal for kids with chronically ill moms. The spoon theory explained, coloring pages, random silly facts, pages for mom and child to do together, and more!"

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by Kathleen Long Bostrom
"A beautiful book telling the story of Pete, a boy whose dad used to run and swing him around, but now can hardly walk, much less play. Pete is hurt and angry and doesn't understand why this has happened. Pete's dad tells him that even though he can no longer run, he can still be Pete's father. The book includes two pages of suggestions for parents and others helping a child through loss of this kind."

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10+ Books for kids of Chronically Ill Moms: https://bit.ly/2Ft2qpb
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If you know of any other books, I'd love for you to share them in the comments!









Thursday, August 13, 2020

What Not to Say to a Parent with a Chronic Illness (and What to Say Instead)

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Being a parent is hard, especially in today's world where an innocent picture of your kid eating a graham cracker on Instagram can be bombarded with criticism or "helpful" suggestions. 

"Isn't your kid too young to be eating graham crackers by himself? He doesn't look any older than six."

"Why are you taking pictures instead of watching your kid so he doesn't choke to death?!? You're a horrible parent."

"Is that a toy on the ground behind him? Don't you know that a messy house stunts your child's growth?"

I may be exaggerating a little, but you get the picture. It doesn't just happen on social media either. Sometimes people mean well, but their comments can be insensitive to say the least.

Now, take all of those up-in-your-business, critical, hurtful comments and multiple them by at least 10 and you have an idea of what it's like to be a parent who lives with a chronic illness. I've encountered so many people who think they can "fix" me or tell me how I've messed up my kids and my health. From the lab technician who asked why in the world I would ever have children knowing that I could pass Ehlers Danlos Syndrome on to them, to the “friend” who informed me that I caused my whole family to have EDS by vaccinating my children (um, that’s not how a genetic disorder works…), to the other "friend" who told me that I only had my health conditions because I "wanted" them, I've heard some doozies that have ranged from mildly insensitive to downright hurtful and I can tell you...the mom guilt is real.

What Not to Say to a Parent with a Chronic Illness (and What to Say Instead)


People think they’re helping but sometimes all they’re doing is hurting. With that in mind, I put together a helpful list of things never to say to a parent with a chronic illness. Some of them are a little tongue in cheek because I think we could all use a chuckle now and then. Also, every single thing on the list has either been said to me or another chronically ill mom I know. I wish I were kidding about that, but I’m not. 

"You don’t look sick!" 
This is usually meant as a compliment, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Many of us have spent our whole lives trying to prove to our friends, families, and even doctors that we’re not just faking it and that there truly is something wrong. Telling us that we don’t look sick makes us feel like you think we’re just faking the whole thing. And believe me, we wish we were! 
Instead, try saying: ​You’re looking good today, but how are you feeling? 
"I know how you feel."
Um, no. Unless you also have a debilitating chronic illness, you really don’t. 
Instead, try saying: I don’t know how you feel, but I’d like to understand better.

"Well, I’m tired too." 
Yeah, I thought I knew what tired felt like too before my chronic fatigue increased in intensity. Believe me, nothing can compare to this level of “tired.” It’s so intense that at times, I can’t even lift my fingers to type on my computer. 
Instead, try saying: ​I can’t imagine how you feel, but help me try to understand.

I’ve found the people who ask these kinds of questions are often trying to get me to buy a product that they sell. Sometimes, they’re genuinely trying to help though, and while I appreciate the thought, it’s not helpful. I spend a lot of my time researching new treatments and possibilities as well as discussing things with my doctors. If there’s something out there that I haven’t ​tried, it’s for a reason. 
Instead, try saying: ​I can tell that you’re working hard to research the best options for your illness.

"You need to get out and do more activities with your kids."
Mom guilt on its own is bad enough (am I doing too little for my kids? Am I a good enough mom?), but when you throw in a chronic illness, it intensifies significantly. Why would you want to add to that? Do you really think that I wouldn’t ​love​ to be able to do more with my kids? Having to tell my kids no because of my chronic illness absolutely tears me up inside. 
Instead, try saying:​ You’re doing a good job as a mom. Can I take the kids with me on our next trip to the park? 

"You did it last week, why can’t you do it today?" 
Honey, I did something ​an hour ago​ that I can’t do right now. Every day with a chronic illness is different and sometimes, it narrows down to being different every hour. My body is very unpredictable, and I hate that more than anyone else. 
Instead, try saying: ​Are you up to getting coffee with me today? If not, I understand and in that case, can I bring you a coffee? 



"At least it’s not cancer!" 
Oh. my. word. Comparing illnesses doesn’t help anyone. Ever. We all have trials to work through and each one is huge to the person dealing with it. For example, when I was still relatively healthy and had one relatively healthy baby, I thought that was incredibly hard (Example: my baby has an ear infection...this is the worst thing ever!). Now I’m basically disabled and have four kids with varying special needs who will experience more pain and medical issues as they get older. ​This is hard.​ But that doesn’t negate how hard it was with just one child. Your perspective changes as your situation does. 
Instead, try saying:​ I know it’s hard right now, but I’m here for you.

"You look and sound happy on social media so how bad can it be?" 
Just because I’m in almost constant pain doesn’t mean that I’m never happy. If I waited until I felt good before I was happy, I would be miserable all the time and that’s not a good way to deal with this. Also, I only share things that I want to share on social media which means that you’re probably just seeing my best moments. Would you really want to be friends with me if I did nothing but complain and exude negativity? 
Instead, try saying: ​I’m glad to see that you were able to enjoy your day yesterday!

"You only have your illness because you think you do." 
Are you insinuating that I’m faking it and it’s all in my head or are you telling me to be more positive so my chronic illness will just go away? Either way, ​don’t say this​. Seriously. I know people think I’m faking it. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I ​am​ faking it. However, I’m actually faking being as well as I am. I work hard and push through a lot of pain so I can lead as normal a life as possible. I’ve had so many people tell me that I’m faking it that I even doubt myself sometimes. Do you have any idea how crushing that is? Thinking positively can definitely have a good effect on mental and physical well-being, but no matter how positively I think, it won’t heal my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I will still have pain, and I will still have defective genes. 
Instead, try saying: ​I believe you. Tell me more about your chronic illness. 


"I could never do what you do." 
I didn’t think I could ever do this either. I used to read stories about people in situations similar to my current one and thank God that I didn’t have to deal with that because I ​knew ​I didn’t have it in me. However, that shows a lack of faith in God, and it turns out that you do what you have to do to survive when you literally don’t have any other choice, and you do it with God’s help. Also, please stop painting me to be this amazing brave person who can power through something that most people couldn’t. Sometimes, I’m barely hanging on and hearing something like this can make me feel like even more of a failure. If you only knew what goes on inside my head and behind the scenes, you would know that I struggle just like everyone else. 
Instead, try saying: ​How can I pray for you today?

"If you pray and believe, God will heal you." 
Please don’t turn God into a vending machine. That’s not how He works. I can pray and believe all I want, but if God says no or wait, I am not going to be able to change His answer. Instead, I need to focus on what He is trying to teach me through my chronic illness. Do you remember Paul in the Bible? Remember how he had a “thorn in the flesh” (II Corinthians 12:7) and prayed for God to remove it from him? God didn’t. Instead, He allowed Paul to continue to go through his trial, knowing that it would strengthen his relationship with Christ. 
Instead, try saying: ​How can I pray for you today? 

"I wish I could stay home with my kids and not have to work." 
When I was 17, I had to quit my first job thanks to my health. I cried for days because I was so crushed that I had to give up a job I loved and because quitting made the reality of my health hit me like a load of bricks. Right now, I’m a substitute at the local library and have to turn down a lot of hours because, after about an hour or two on a job that isn’t even that physically taxing, I’m stumbling around like I’m drunk because my legs aren’t working right anymore and practically gasping in pain. I love, love, love working at the library and had originally hoped to be able to go up to full-time when my kids get older, but now, I’m facing the realization that I will not be able to do that. Not being able to work makes me feel worthless at times. 
Instead, try saying: ​Tell me about your hobbies.

"It must be nice to be able to park in the handicapped spots." 
You can have my handicapped placard if you take my disability to go along with it. I’m actually too scared most of the time to use my placard when I need it because people can be mean, judgmental, and forget that not all disabilities are visible. 
Instead, try saying: ​Can I help you carry your bag to your car? 

"You go to the doctor too much." 
Yeah, I agree. I actually hate going to the doctor, but unfortunately, it’s necessary for my health. If I stop going, bad things will happen.
Instead, try saying:​ Would you like me to come along with you to the doctor sometime so we can have coffee afterward?

"God will never give you more than you can handle."  
You will go through more than you can handle, but God can handle it if you let Him. I can’t​ handle this, and you saying something like that to me makes me feel like I must be a terrible Christian. 
Instead, try saying:​ How can I pray for you?

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What not to say to a parent with a chronic illness (and what to say instead) : https://bit.ly/2PPor3x
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The absolute best thing you can say to someone with a chronic illness is “I believe you.” Seriously. What do ​you ​do when someone just isn’t getting the hint about their insensitive words? Well, you actually have several options to choose from and you can use one or all of them, sometimes on the same person. Oftentimes, I go with a combination of the following.

Ignore them. 
When someone says something hurtful to me about my chronic illness, sometimes, I will just smile and then change the subject. Unfortunately, some people just don’t get the hint so you may have to move on to another strategy if this one doesn’t work.

Realize when it’s not worth your energy to argue. 
We all know a few people like this. They just won’t let it go and there’s pretty much no chance of them ever changing their mind on anything. When you run across someone like that, acknowledge to yourself that arguing with them is not going to help and it will more than likely end up using some of your precious energy. Answer their comment or question with something along the lines of, “I know that we don’t agree on this, so I think it would be best if we talked about something else.” Then change the subject and if they bring it up again, use one of the other strategies to deal with them.

Set clear boundaries. 
It’s okay to tell someone that you do not want to talk about your chronic illness with them and that it’s off-limits. Once you’ve let them know that, stick to it because just like a toddler, if you give in once, they’ll think it’s okay to do it forever. Alternatively, you could also send them a link to a website that you know had reputable information about your specific chronic illness and tell them that you would love to discuss their suggestions and thoughts about your condition after ​ they’ve read about it. 

Know when it’s time to cut ties.
If someone is intentionally hurtful or just won’t let up with the insensitive comments and questions, it may be time to cut ties or at least limit interactions. You can unfollow them on social media (sometimes you can do this without deleting them from your friends list/followers so they won’t even know), cut down on social interactions, “miss” their phone calls (caller ID really does come in handy sometimes!), etc.

Look for the intention behind the words. 
This one is hard, but sometimes it’s the best way to avoid hard feelings on either side. Maybe your friend makes insensitive comments about your chronic illness but does it with good intentions. Maybe they truly care and want to help. If that’s the case, gently explain to them that while you appreciate the sentiment, saying and asking things like that is actually hurtful and doesn’t help. Be open and honest with them about ways that they can help encourage you. 

What tips do you have for dealing with insensitive or rude comments?









Thursday, August 6, 2020

Look What I Found on Etsy!

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

I was browsing Etsy the other day, looking for a mask for Hubby to wear to church now that it's a statewide mandate for us when I ran across a mask that looked familiar. It took me a second before I realized that it was made with one of the fabrics I designed for my Spoonflower shop. How cool is that?!? 
That led me to search Etsy for other masks made with my fabric designs and I came up with quite a few. Here are some of my favorites.
This reversible mask actually features TWO of my designs, this one and this one. You can find it at Sew Crazy Vermont.


This mask features my Aqua I Love You ASL fabric and has a pocket for a filter. You can find it at Masks by Momma Ounn.


This mask has a pocket for a filter and a flexible nose piece and is made from my Tossed I Love You's fabric. You can find it at KraftieAF.


This kids' mask is made in a pleated style and uses my Tossed I Love You's fabric. It's also available in a women's size. You can find it at Mlholm2009


This fitted mask has super soft elastic earloops and is made with my I Love You Sign Language fabric. You can find it at BrightlyK.


This pleated mask comes in kids' or adult sizes and is made with my Autism Awareness fabric. You can find it at Little Dutch Acres


This mask comes with filters, a nose wire, adjustable head tie and more and is made with my Jesus Loves Me fabric. You can find it at Premium Cotton Masks.


These pleated masks have a filter and a nose wire and are made with my Jesus Loves Me fabric. You can find them at Mask Me Over


This mask has a unique 3D pattern to give you more breathing room and is made with my Psalm 23 fabric. You can find it at It's So Easy Inc

Which mask is your favorite? If you stop by my fabric shop, I'd love to hear what you think of my designs!