bloggingchronic illness

I Miss Writing

If you haven’t noticed, its been pretty quiet around here lately and I don’t like it. I miss writing. A lot. Between working full-time, wrangling a preschooler, attempting to have a decent conversation with my husband, and kicking butt being sick, there are not many hours left in the day. Typically I have always waited until the evening to write but it hasn’t been working for me recently. I want to put my heart and soul into my post but it seems that Temple Run: Brave is the extent of my thinking capabilities after 7pm.

I will be the first to admit that I would rather not blog at all then to throw up a half-thought out, second-rate post. I tried putting one together yesterday and as I read back over it, it went in the trash. Quality over quantity is not just a cliché. It’s a truth in my book.

To help resolve this problem, I am working on two changes.

The first is to begin packing my lunch at work and spend that hour in a quiet location on campus writing at least three days a week. My current office is next to our student center which happens to have an amazing patio area overlooking the lake and fountain which I hope will help facilitate the writing process. I am honestly not sure why I haven’t done this sooner!

Second, we are working on finally setting up an office area where I can write and keep all of my blogging information organized!

This is the area I currently refer to as The Hole:

Office and Laundry Organization Mission

The previous owners built in the car port of the house and this space was a part of the outdoor laundry room. It is my guess when they completed the addition, they were not quite sure what to do with the extra space so they decided to throw in some mismatched cabinets and call it a day.

We had to do quite a bit of work in the laundry area upon moving in (although it’s still not quite where I want it) but everything else has pretty much stayed the same and we’ve had enough. It is basically a junk-catcher.

Everything from my purse to laundry to mail get thrown on the counter and my husband and I have finally gotten to the point where we cannot deal with it anymore plus we both want a place where we can sit down to pay our bills, work on our laptops, and get organized in general.

This will be a great location for a couple of reasons. First, the cabinets and counter provide a good foundation to start with. The fact that none of the four cabinets are the same size presents a challenge but I like knowing we can have designated spaces for things such as camera accessories and art supplies. Secondly, this space is right off the dining/living area so either of us can work while keeping an eye on the wild child.

Some of the things we plan on doing in the renovation include:

  • New flooring! I cannot wait to get rid of that ugly and disgusting floor. If you look closely the linoleum in the laundry room and office space do not match. Why they chose to put down two different patterns is beyond me. We’ve tried our best to cover the floor with area rugs but it just doesn’t work. We are putting down a new tile floor and I cannot wait!
  • New paint! It is a pretty small space so I’m looking forward to adding some fun color! We used gray as a neutral throughout the house so we are thinking of using an aqua to add a pop (we’ve got in narrowed down to Sea Air or Aqua Ocean by Valspar!).
  • New paint for the cabinets! Sanding and painting the cabinets white is also on the agenda to flow with the white cabinets in the kitchen and provide some crisp, clean lines.
  • Organization, organization, organization! Hooks on the wall to hold my purse and Abby’s bag. Baskets, bins, and binders in the drawers and cabinets to organization office supplies, important files, and other items to make the space functional and easy on the eyes! Blogs like I Heart Organizing and A Bowl Full of Lemons have been bookmarked to get ideas on finding proper homes for everything that needs to be housed in this space! Pinterest is also on the list of frequent browsing naturally!

While neither of these is a “cure” for my writing challenges, I’m really hoping that they will each be a step in the right direction!

Do you have struggle with time management and/or organization? What are your favorite tips (or blogs/posts) to help you get on top of things?


chronic styleproduct review

eShakti Clothing Review

I am always looking for clothes to make me feel pretty and confident. This summer I was contacted by eShakti to do review their site and do a clothing review of their product lines and after a quick scan of their website, I gladly said yes!

For a little background on the company, eShakti “is a unique women’s apparel store online that includes custom capabilities allow shoppers to easily tailor any item to their specific requirements ensuring a flattering fit and unique look. Unlike traditionally tailored clothing, eShakti’s incredibly quick turnaround time allows customers to receive their custom-made look within a week of ordering!”

I was really interested in the custom tailoring as I am sure I am not the only woman who has trouble making sure a dress fits in the bust and the waist! I also loved the retro/vintage feel of many of the product lines!After much debate, I decided to try out the Retro Poplin Shirtdress in Jade Green:

eShakti Product Review - Retro Shirtdress


I absolutely love this dress! The fit is absolutely perfect so I am very pleased with the custom tailoring! I feel beautiful and even a bit sexy! Look out! I have gotten so many compliments when I have worn this dress out which helps boost my confidence quite a bit!

I have been browsing the fall collections and would love to do some more shopping! Be sure to check out eShakti as they are currently having a 25% off sale on their fall collections! You can also find them on Facebook and Pinterest! Happy shopping!


Disclosure: I was provided this dress for the purpose of this review but all opinions are 100% my own

chronic illness

Rediscovering My Identity

Earlier today I was thinking back to life before chronic illness. How I feel now versus how I felt then. Now I’m not talking about physically. It’s easy to focus on the physical differences between now and then and the things that I could do then than I cannot do now such as running or climbing.

I’m talking about how I feel on the inside. My confidence. My sass. My spunk.

Sadly, I think a lot of that has gone. Granted, I’ve admitted I’ve always been quiet and introverted but still there was a spark. I know there was. I felt it.

It wasn’t about beauty or attractiveness on any type of physical level. It was about feeling comfortable in my skin and how I was and feeling like I could own that.

I think over the last few years the physical drain of the illness is in itself has obviously been a pretty significant part of it but I think there are so many times where I just feel so defeated and almost betrayed by my body so its hard to feel comfort in my own skin when I feel it has almost turned against me. My body itself has changed. I have struggled with my weight since coming ill and even when I feel successful in my weight loss journey, my shape has changed so I’m curvier in some places than In once was. My new scar as also been a big struggle. It’s very large and very dark (and still really, really hurts). I struggle with even my husband seeing it and it only adds to the intimacy issues related to my illness.

Above the physical things that impact my lack of confidence, I worry that somehow my worth as a person is not what it once was. Who wants to be friends with someone how spends a great deal of time bed-bound? Where is the fun in that? I constantly worry that other people do not believe that I am truly sick and its all in my head. I’m a minister’s wife and am not able to be nearly as active at church as I’d like to be so I worry what church members think when John shows up to church alone with Abby week after week.

This all of course also impacts my spiritual life. I have a stack on devotionals on my night stand that I really want to read and dig into but I cannot seem to do it. Every evening as I crawl into bed I look at them and feel a pang of emptiness inside. I miss the intimacy I once had in my walk with God. I miss the craving I used to have when I skipped reading.

All in all, I feel like a shell of who I once was. I miss feeling like me. I’ve written post after post on trying to let go of the “old me” and learn to embrace and find a way enjoy this new normal (after all it is the title of my blog) but I’m in a season of struggling. I’m in a stage of grief where I bounce between anger and depression and I hate it. I’m ready to move on.

When I wrote my senior will in high school, I remember my opening sentence was, “I, Jamee, being of strong mind and vivacious body . . .” I want to feel that way again. I want my spunk and sass. Sure, its been 13 years since I wrote those words buts it’s never too late to reclaim it, right?

The thing I love the most about Invisible Illness Week is being able to read the words of others and know that I am not alone. I know the journey I am on is familiar to others who have been diagnosed. I hate knowing that others struggle with pain and illness on a daily basis (and feel the anger and depression of losing a part of themselves) but knowing that I am not alone is such a reassuring feeling. One of the seminars I am looking forward to the most is called “Who Am I Now? After The Diagnosis” and hoping it will help get me started on regaining my footing. I am also hoping working on my Sharing Our Spoons goals will help too!

Have you struggled with your identity after your diagnosis? What have you found the most helpful?

I am writing this week for Invisible Illness Awareness Week! Don’t forget to enter a chance to win Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend by Lisa Copen!