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Blogging for Endometriosis – Week 3 Giveaways!

Endometriosis Awareness Blogging Campaign

I cannot believe Endo Awareness Month is already half over! If you are just now joining us, you can catch up by reading the Week 1 (Physical Impact), Week 2 (Mental Impact), and Week 3 (Social Impact) post link-ups! Also congrats to the winners of the Week 2 giveaways – Alison, Idome, & Charlie! You should have received emails from me!

Thanks to our AH-MAZ-ING sponsors, we have another 3 giveaways to offer this week to you awesome participants!

Jewelry for Endometriosis Awareness

First up, we have Our Silver Lining! Shop owner Gina opened her shop in 2009 to help Endometriosis research so hopefully one day girls with this disease with have a cure and a way to prevent it. A percentage of the profits of each piece sold are donated to the Endometriosis Research Center to help fund efforts to raise awareness and find a cure for endometriosis! She has gracious donated this beautiful pair of earrings for one lucky winner:

Our Silver Lining Endometriosis Awareness Jewelry

Yellow Chain Earrings

 

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Art Studio 54

 

Our next featured sponsor is Art Studio 54! This shop specializes in not only beautiful photographs and artwork but super cute iPhone cases as well! We are incredibly thankful for their generosity and their donation! One lucky winner will receive this beautiful piece of artwork:

Photography Artwork Created by Art Studio 54 The Woods in Fall

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Our last featured sponsor for the week is 38 Grace Street! Owner and designer, Jennifer, describes the mission of her shop is all about creativity, fun, and beauty! Her shop is filled with some of the cutest headbands I have ever seen! Abby is a headband nut and its hard not to pick up one of each! She has donated an adorable gray and yellow headband to giveaway to one lucky reader:

38 Grace Street Chevron Bow Headband

Grey Shabby Flowers with Yellow Chevron Bow Headband

I may want to keep this headband for myself since it matches my blog colors so well 🙂

To enter this weeks’ giveaway, simply leave a comment sharing one positive thing that has come out of being diagnosed with endometriosis (or another chronic illness) or if you have not been diagnosed yourself, one positive thing you have learned about those living with endometriosis through this awareness campaign!

That’s it! 3 winners will be drawn next Monday! Be sure to stop by all of the sponsors’ shops and give them a big thank you! I continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support for this awareness campaign!

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Blogging for Endometriosis: Social Impact (Week 3 Link-Up)

It is no secret that I am an introvert. As I read the post Nine Signs That You Might Be An Introvert, I found myself nodding along with every one. I even wrote An Introvert’s Guide To Blog Conferences after pushing myself out of my comfort zone to attend Bloggy Bootcamp (my plans to attend Type A Conference this fall are really exciting but a little scary too).

So despite the fact that I’m not a social butterfly by nature, it does not mean that endometriosis and chronic illness have not had an impact on my social life. True, I love my alone time but being bedridden in pain is not the same thing as alone time and it hardly counts as relaxing.

I am not sure if being an introvert and being Type A are related but being both, I like being able to plan for social engagements (you know since my calendar stays so full and all). I am very much a scheduler and list keeper but since my diagnosis and as my illness has progressed I have had to learn to let go of some of these tendencies. I have had to learn to say no and that sometimes I will have to cancel a night out because of a flare and that it is okay to do so.

The problem I am having as a result, however, is two-fold. First, I have the tendency to beat myself up and feel guilty that I may be letting someone down. Second, I have the fear of trying to plan anything because I don’t know how I will feel a week or even a few days from now and the guilt from canceling hits me in advance so I am scared to even commit in the first place.

This has been equally frustrating on my husband’s part.  He wants to be sweet and romantic and plan date nights out for the two of us but doesn’t want to put added pressure on me if I’m not feeling well and can’t go out. He feels guilty for not being romantic enough and I feel guilty for him feeling guilty when I know he has no reason to feel guilty in the first place. My husband is the sweetest, caring, and compassionate person I know and does such an amazing job being a husband, father, and caregiver (although I doubt he thought he would have to take on that role so young).

There are some major life changes are on the horizon but in the meantime, I am trying to learn how to balance. While I am very much the textbook introvert, my husband is a classic extrovert and it is important that we find ways to meet in the middle and enjoy a social life together as a family and especially as a couple. Date nights may not be as exciting as they once were (as in late nights out on the town) but may involve a simple dinner out or a trip to the local coffee shop where we can talk and laugh.

Trying to reclaim a social life with chronic illness can be a challenge but I believe it is crucial in maintaining your total health and in helping you keep the mentality that you are so much more than your illness.

How has illness impacted your social life and what are things you have done to stay socially active despite it?

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Please link up your posts for Week 3 of Blogging for Endometriosis using the linky below! After linking up please visit at least the to links in front of you to help spread the love and support!



chronic illnessgiveaway

Blogging for Endometriosis – Week 2 Giveaways!

We are already into week 2 of Blogging for Endometriosis! A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been participating so far as I know I have gotten so much out of reading your posts and chatting with you on the event Facebook page!

The week 1 giveaway winners have been drawn! Congrats to Nikki and Cheryl! Expect an email shortly 🙂

And now it is time to another round of giveaways courtesy of our wonderful sponsors and we will have 3 winners for this group of giveaways! Our sponsors are so awesome!

 

Beautiful Awareness Jewellery

First up is a beautiful necklace and endometriosis charm from Seaview Jewellery! When I asked Zoe why she wanted she participate in Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness, she said, “I want to be involved in raising awareness for Endometriosis for my friend who has it. Also, as someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I know how important it is to raise awareness of chronic and invisible illnesses; not only so people understand what we go through, but to raise more money for research.” I wish there were more people like her out there!

These are the two beautiful pieces up for grabs:
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Endometriosis Charm / Spoonie Necklace

I personally own the Spoonie necklace and love it! I get a lot of questions about what it symbolizes (I guess “normal” people don’t walk around with spoons hanging from their necks) and I love having the opportunity to share The Spoon Theory and a little bit about invisible illness! One winner will receive these two beautiful items!

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The next giveaway is courtesy of FJJ Creations! The tagline on Jen’s About page states, “Life is more than you can obtain for yourself. It’s about how much you give back.” What a beautiful mission statement and I am incredibly thankful for her generous donation to our endometriosis awareness campaign!

Look at all of these beautiful goodies!

Custom Jewelry

Her shop is full of beautiful awareness jewelry (as well as other gorgeous items). Two winners will each receive a necklace, bracelet, and charm!

To enter this week’s giveaways, simply leave a comment sharing one way you plan on spreading endometriosis awareness this month! For additional entries, share about this giveaway on twitter and/or Facebook! You can earn one additional entry for each action! Just leave an additional comment letting me know you shared! The winners will be drawn next Monday!

**PS: If you are a dog owner, be sure to stop by my SmartBones post for a chance to win two bags of treats for your four-legged friend!**

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Blogging for Endometriosis – Mental Exhaustion (Week 2 Link-Up)

 When living with an invisible illness like endometriosis you often hear comments questioning the legitimacy of your pain. Comments like “it is all in your head,” “you just need to get out more,” or “but you don’t look sick” are enough to make you want to slap someone. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a comment like this in the last ten years, I would be living on a private island in the Caribbean and sipping fruity drinks in a hammock.

The struggle, however, is that after so many unsuccessful treatments, doctors appointments, and surgeries, you can get to a place where you begin to question yourself. I know without a doubt the level of pain I have to live with on a daily basis. I have no doubts that each of my illnesses is very real and not some type of manifestation of mental distress. I have no doubts that I know my body and know that something is not right.

The struggle comes as a result of the mental exhaustion that comes as a result of living with chronic pain such as endometriosis. There is most definitely physical exhaustion from battling illness but the mental exhaustion is hard to describe and is not as recognized by those on the outside.

I am constantly worrying about when the next surgery will come. I stress about how my illness is affecting my family. I cry knowing that my daughter now recognizes when I am in pain and that she worries that her mommy will never get better. I fear what my future holds as if my pain is this intense now, what will it be like in ten years? How will I be able to handle it?

I feel like there is a constant weight on my shoulders and it can be exhausting. Mentally exhausting.

This is where I come to a mental and spiritual crossroad.

I know in my heart of hearts that God is in control and He has plans and hope and a future for me. I know He is going to take care of me. I may not know all the answers but I can hold tight to His promise.

But at times it is so hard to turn off that part of my brain that is programmed to worry. It is such a struggle as I know the more I worry, the more exhausted I become which causes me to worry even more and thus perpetuates the cycle. I am such a type-a personality and like having a plan and like being in control even more but one thing you have to come to terms with when living with endometriosis and other chronic illnesses is that are not in control. Flares will happen and there is nothing that you can to do to prevent it. By trying to constantly maintain that control, you can really wear yourself down physically, mentally, and physically.

I know all of these things but it is still so hard. Every day is a battle and every day I pray that I can turn over the worry and the stress and allow myself to rest in His promise which is more than enough to get me through.

 

Do not worry about tomorrow

What is the hardest thing for you mentally or physically when living with chronic illness?

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Please link up your posts for Week 2 of Blogging for Endometriosis using the linky below! After linking up please visit at least the to links in front of you to help spread the love and support!


giveawayproduct review

SmartBones Review & Giveaway! **CLOSED**

I am a proud pet parent. My dogs are very much a part of our family. Charlie is most definitely one of my best friends even though she has four paws and a tail. Chloe annoys the snot out of me is Abby’s partner-in-crime and I love watching Abby love on her and how patient and protective Chloe is of her. I cannot imagine life without them (although I do sometimes dream of not having to vacuum the floors 18326230 times a week to manage the dog hair).

While food allergies are a regular part of my life and diet, they are also play a role in their diet and my shopping choices as well. Chloe has a very sensitive system and as much as she would love to chew on a big ol’ rawhide bone, I can promise you that you will not want to be in the same house with her if she does. She will literally run you out of a room. As a result, I am picky when it comes to picking out dog treats.

Enter SmartBones.

SmartBones is a line of rawhide-free dog treats created by PetMatrix. Chew treats do not only provide a special snack for your dog but are also an important part of dental health. Unlike traditional raw-hide treats, SmartBones products contain a special vegetable layer that is fortified with vitamins and minerals to help supplement daily nutritional requirements.”

SmartBones have recently expanded their product line to include SmartChips and SmartSticks snacks! My two girls were very eager to give them a try:

SmartSticks SmartChips SmartBones Dog Treats

They were very happy taste-testers and I love knowing that while I can spoil them with treats they enjoy, I also know that they are helping keep them healthy!

Now it is your turn to spoil your pups! PetMatrix is generously giving one lucky reader 1 bag each of their new SmartChips and SmartSticks! To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about being a pet owner! Easy-peasy! 

Giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be drawn next Friday March 15th! Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was provided one bag of SmartChips and one bag of SmartSticks from PetMatrix in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

blogging

2013 Blogging Goals – Check-in #2

Blogging Goals for 2013

I cannot believe that another month is over and it is time to check in with my blogging goals for the year again! I welcome March with open arms because it means Spring and warm weather is around the corner!

Here are the check-in details:

  1. Post at least 3 times a week. I’ve done pretty well with this! There was one week where I only posted twice but I’m very pleased with what I have done so far this year and really feel like I am moving in the right direction! The Blogging for Endometriosis campaign is keeping me pretty active and next month is the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challange with WeGo Health is coming up in April so I’ve got plenty on my plate in the near future!
  2. Read & COMMENT on at least 3 blogs a day. I love getting back into the community! I feel more connected when I not only read but be intentional in leaving comments! I have loved reading and commenting on all of the Blogging for Endo posts this week that have been linked up! I feel so much encouragement knowing that so many of the things I’m feeling recently in battling my illnesses is not completely crazy and that I have women who truly understand.
  3. Guest blog at least 3 times throughout the year. Keeping my eyes open for opportunities!
  4. Feature at least 3 new guest bloggers here at A New Kind of Normal this year. I’ve got two lined up in the next month! If you are interested at all in being a guest here at ANKON, please let me know!
  5. Organize & complete the 2nd annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign. In progress!!!! You have to check out the amazing posts that have been linked up for Week 1 of Blogging for Endometriosis as well as join in the Week 1 Giveaway!
  6. Grow blog stats by 20%. Growth is happening! I feel so incredibly blessed and humbled by your support! 
  7. Attend Type A Conference in Atlanta in September! Anyone want to be my roomie? I’m promise I’m not a psycho! With the possibility of the big D (disability) I need to cut costs where possible!
  8. Follow through the book Mom Blog SEO by the awesome Kelby Carr! I’m finishing up Simple Blogging by Rachel Meeks (amazing, refreshing, and inspiring) and Mom Blog SEO is next on my list! Anyone want to walk through it with me and have group support?
  9. Have head shots taken! My lovely photographer BFF is currently recovering from surgery but we hope do to some family shots in April so I’m hoping to sneak in a couple shots! My pictures need to be updated to show off my pixie!

How are you doing with your 2013 goals so far?

 

(disclosure: goal #8 contains an affiliate link. completely love the book! just want to be completely honest!)