a two-part giveaway… #29days

I just finished reading 29 Days by Cami Walker.  If you haven’t read it, please read it.  It is such an inspirational and motivational read on so many fronts.  It reminds us that in the face of adversity we can do so much and that giving is living.

That said, I want give today’s gift – it is Day 16 for me on my 29 Days journey and I feel like you and friend deserve a little something.

Recently I did a mixed media piece with quote that really speaks to my heart:

“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.” ― Thomas S. Monson

#29days 29 days by cami walker and sails quote from Thomas s Monson mixed media art piece and giveaway

This quote mixed with this book have brought new light and renewed focus into my mediation practice, my outlook on life, and my journey to be the best possible version of myself that I can be.

So, I have 2 prints of this piece to give away – one for you and one for you to give to a friend.  To enter, leave a comment here with who you want to give the piece to and why.  I will pick a winner on Thursday.  Entry closes at noon CST.

For a second chance to win, I will also post a thread on facebook – keep an eye out, comment there with the same info, tag your friend, and you will have a second chance at winning. Click here = = = >>>>> Post by Stephenie Purl Hamen.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives and for taking the time to come here, read my blog, and support my art, my life, and my creative journey.  You have no idea how much that means to me.

one day – invisible illness awareness week

Now, before you run the other way, this is my last post for Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

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I had decided that I would make some notes about what one day is like when you are dealing with something like Fibro.

To be fair, this morning I realized that this was not a typical day for me. I had already committed to doing this, however, so I saw it through.

That said, what I realized was that it was a long week with travel for work and then a video shoot for work today – but it really wasn’t as a-typical as I thought.  My job and my life are very fluid, changing everyday with new tasks, challenges, and adventures.  While some weeks are quiet, some are not.  Today was not as off the norm as I originally thought, it was just a rougher one on the old body than others have been.  I took more pain meds than normal and I hate it when I have to do that.

So, if you have a few minutes, here is a quick look at what my day, living with Fibromyalgia, is like:

  • Alarm goes off at 5:30 – plan is to get up and do quick yoga and meditation.  My body is extra achy, so I hit snooze.
  • 5:39 – Hit snooze again.
  • 5:48  – Snooze – now my shoulders are screaming in pain.
  • 5:57 – Snooze – but I start to move more and try to get up.
  • 6:06 – Turn off alarm and start to rise.  I stretch my entire body, still lying in bed.  I twist,, turn, tighten, and release from head to toe.  I take a few moments to determine my mantra for the day.  I repeat it to myself, breathe deeply, and exhale.  I sit up.  I stretch again.
  • 6:15ish – I am finally standing.  I head to get my bath.
  • 6:20 – I run a hot bath with Epsom salts and start to get ready for the day.  I soak – too long.  I hurry to finish and careful get myself out on now very weak legs.
  • 6:45 – I head to make sure the boys are moving.  My feet and ankles, along with my legs, are in pain, making walking slow and labored.  I put a smile on, kiss and hug the kids and get them moving for the day.
  • 7:00 – Owen has a melt-down and we are dealing with the stress of that before we even get breakfast going.
  • 7:20 – I go to finish getting ready – I dry my hair and brush it quickly.  I cut it short a while ago – not for fashion, but for function.  I have been having enough issues with my arms that holding a hair dryer for an extended time to dry longer hair was painful.  I look at my placid reflection and go get dressed.  I work with the boys to finish them moving while Matt showers.  Thankfully he has taken charge, yet again, this morning so that I can get ready and head out a bit earlier than normal.
  • 7:40 – I am finally leaving – about 25 minutes behind schedule for today.  I stop and get gas, along with an iced tea and donut.  I know, not the healthiest choice, but I need food in my system to take my vitamins and meds and Owen was so off that I didn’t have a chance to eat before I left the house.  I eat a couple bites, not loving it – nothing sounds good or tastes good today – then take my handful of vitamins.  Every day I take: Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin B, and a Cymbalta in the morning.
  • 7:58 – I pull into the parking lot of our production company and get to work.
  • 8:30 – I am on a conference call while we are finalizing our shoot set-up.  I take my first homeopathic pain med for the day – everything still hurts.
  • 11:00 – second round of homeopathic…  my hands have started to ache and my right ankle is throbbing.
  • 1:30 – lunch.  I eat part of my chicken sandwich because I need to.  Eh.
  • 3:00 – another dose of homeopathic.
  • 4:00 – I have now been working on a concrete surface, alternating from stand to sit, walk, set, fix, create, and do for several hours.  Head to toe I am wiped. The “fog” is setting in and I am fading fast.  I take 2 Tylenol.  I try to avoid it, but we have about 2 more hours left and I know it will not be good if I don’t.
  • 5:30 – We wrap the shoot.  We pack up and clean up and load up to leave.  I am still smiling and laughing and joking with the guys, but I have been fighting off and pushing down the pain and the tears.
  • 5:50 – I get into my car in the parking lot.  Tears stream down my face and I text Matt I am heading out.  He and the boys are at the bowling alley – the kids started their afternoon league today and I missed it.  He’s getting them something to eat and then he has to bowl.  I will head there to grab them.  I fight construction traffic and rush hour (I have a hard time calling it that in Madison, after living in Chicago, but that is what it is.) My ankles and feet are SCREAMING at me the entire drive home.
  • 6:30 – I arrive to get the kids.  They finish eating.  I sit in a chair, in so much pain now that I am nauseous and the thought and smell of food around me is making it worse.
  • 6:55 – Home with the boys.  They get ready for bed – showers, brush their teeth, etc… – and then quietly read.  I lie on the couch like a slug, barely able to move.  I lie in a huge pool of pain and guilt about not being an active and participatory parent today.  Today I have let them down.  Today they have gotten none of my time.  This is what goes through my mind.  I know it isn’t totally true – but it feels true and it hurts like it is true.
  • 7:40 – boys are in bed, tucked, kissed, hugged, loved, and snuggled a bit.
  • 7:45 – I finally feel good enough to eat a little something, though nothing sounds good, so I make a PB&J (I know you are jealous), a cup of hot tea, draw another hot bath, pour in more Epsom salts, and crawl in.  I am literally eating a sandwich in the tub.  How classy is that?  Anyway…  I had to get into the water as fast as I could before my body completely gave out on me.  I eat the sandwich, drink most of the tea, and soak for a while.  Now – when I say “soak” what I really mean is this:  Picture a 6′ tall person in one of those smaller tubs you see where you can’t really stretch your legs out without sitting up completely or if you want my shoulders in, your legs from the knees down are out.  We are not talking about a nice big, deep whirlpool tub here.  Base model for kids, with 6′ tall me in it.  ****Light bulb**** A pic of a big soaking whirlpool tub is going on my vision board…  Ok, back to the log.
  • 8:30 – Dressed and have now taken 2 Tylenol PM so that I can hopefully sleep.  I lie down and type this from my bed.
  • 8:55 – I re-read this, spell check, add a photo and press publish.
  • 9:05 – Lights out.

That is my day.  I fought pain all day.  I smiled through every moment when people were around as to not let on that I was not at my best.  That can be difficult when what you want and need is to lie down and sleep for an hour.

I still work a full time job and most of the time it is doable.  Today pushed me.  Today hurt.  I am not sure what tomorrow morning will bring.  One of two options: either I will wake up feeling about the same or a little better OR it will be one of the truly bad days because I have decided this week to do way too much.  I won’t know until that alarm goes off and I have to decided:

Snooze or yoga?

my vision board

Many people know this, but every year I reread “The Secret.”  (or at least parts of it… or watch it on Prime…)

Anyway…

vision board from the secret meditation and reiki

There is a part of that book that has always resonated with me – the vision board.

The idea is that you capture and create a board full of things that are meaningful to you that you want to bring into your life or keep moving forward with in your life.

Until now, I have not really done one.  Oh, I have a Pinterest board full of meaningful and wonderful sayings, but I never look at it and it is not in front of me every day.

The point of this is to keep it out, visible, viewable everyday in a spot that you see it, read it, look at it, and feel the images and words working in your heart and in your soul.

This week I decided it was about time I tried it.

My absolutely amazing Reiki practitioner - Rene – recommended that I start meditating on and visualizing open windows as a sign of opportunity and growth.  With that in mind, I started searching for images online over the weekend.  Images to help me realize and materialize the image for my meditation.  Then I realized I should print them out.  The next logical step was to hang them up and before I knew it, my vision board was being created.

I grabbed a beat up old pin board, some pins, my print outs and my magazine stash and got to work…

vision board 1 vision board 2

It was fun, therapeutic, and it now greets me to remind me of what I am striving for.

Right now it is only half full, leaving lots of room for additional items to go on there.

Primarily it is about eating healthy, remembering we are rich in what we already have – love, family, and a home – getting stronger, focusing on giving, and open windows and doors.  There might be a sandcastle referencing a relaxing beach vacation, but otherwise it is really about personal growth and development.  It is not to say, however, that a nice pair of shoes or my dream kitchen images won’t land there too, but for now, I am focusing on health and mental well-being, all with the hope of keeping me calm and flare-up free.

vision board from the secret meditation and reiki

the spoon theory – invisible illness awareness week

spoon theroy  invisibile illness week fibromyalgia fibro

I often find it hard to explain to people what it is like living with Fibro.  I can talk about the pain and the fatigue, but in the end I just sound like a complaining wuss.  Primarily because on the outside I look fine.

Maybe that is a bit strong, but still.

The other day, however, I read this blog post – The Spoon Theory – by Christine Miserandino.  Christine has Lupus, but a lot of the things she discusses apply.  Some days are better than others, with more spoons, or at least bigger spoons, and the issues might be different than her’s, but hopefully it will help explain better than I have been able to.

It is an accurate and compassionate way to explain what it is like to deal with something that people can’t see, but affects every aspect of your life.

I have linked to the blog post above.  If you have a couple minutes, please read it as it is an awesome and eye opening explanation.

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Thanks for stopping by!

30 things – invisible illness awareness week

Stephenie Hameninvisible

This week is Invisible Illness Awareness WeekNow that I am living with and dealing with Fibromyalgia, I want to help support others that are fighting similar and even more difficult battles than I am.

Part of doing that is sharing my story:

30 Things About My Invisible Illness That You Might Not Know:

1. The illness I live with is:  Fibromyalgia

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2014

3. But I had symptoms since: before 1999

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Slowing down and saying no

5. Most people assume: That there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.  I must be faking it or making it up at convenient times.  It is all in my head.  I need to get over it and move on.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: getting up when the alarm goes off.  Most days I need at least 2 more hours of sleep, no matter what time I go to bed.  Just getting up and getting going within a set scheduled time is often hard.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My iPhone

9. The hardest part about nights are:  wanting to get more accomplished around the house after work than my body will allow.  I want the dishes all done, the house picked up, and the bathroom clean.  Most nights, however, I am so wrecked by the time I get home from work that those things don’t happen or fall onto my family.  I want to do things that I just cannot do.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 8-12 depending on the day and my symptoms.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: meditate multiple times a day and I have started to see a Reiki practitioner as well.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:  something visible.  I wouldn’t feel the constant pressure to justify my situation.

13. Regarding working and career:  I still work a full time job and I work part time as an artist.  Some days are fine.  Other days, between the physical part of just going and being there, the mental strain that occurs, and stress, well… needless to say it is not a pretty picture.  The hardest part is the fogginess that I get, making concentration and attention difficult some days.

14. People would be surprised to know:  what it takes to make it through some days and what is happening on the inside during the most mundane moments in my day.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: the limitations it has put on me and my body.  I am a go-go-go kind of person.  Stopping early in the evening or taking a nap on the weekend feels like failure.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: climb the stairs back up the stairs at Starved Rock one weekend.

17. The commercials about my illness: don’t really tell you much.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: being more active and more productive.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: feeling the pressure to say yes all the time.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: more reading.  I have always loved to read, but often didn’t have time.  Now that I find myself slowing down more, I am reading more and I love that.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: go hiking, chase after a kite, swim in a lake, and just chase my kids around the park.

22. My illness has taught me: to be more patient – with myself and with others.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: You look fine.

24. But I love it when people: ask questions…  the more people know, the more that they can understand.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “You can’t move mountains by whispering at them.”  P!nk

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:  It does get better.  It never goes away, but it does get better.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: just how exhausting dealing with it can be.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: send me to bed.  My husband has been amazing and supportive.  He will often look at me and say enough – go to bed.  He will let me nap and never makes me fell guilty or bad for it.  He never ceases to amaze me.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want others to know they aren’t alone and I want those that know me to better understand what I deal with daily.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: hopeful.

 

These questions are being answered by people all over the world this week, all dealing with a variety of invisible illnesses.  Take a minute this week and send some love to the people in your life dealing with something that you might not see or understand.  Ask them how they are doing and tell them that you support them.  Show them that they are not alone.

upcoming events

I recently added an events calendar to the side of my blog, but thought that I would still share a few of the events that are coming up!

9/6/14:  10-4 Downtown Sun Prairie Art Fest in Sun Prairie, WI

I will have a booth with my art and some prints.  Feel free to swing by and just say hi!

sun prairie wi art fest cannery square art fair

9/25/14: 7:00-9:30 – Fabric Chandelier/Mobile Class at The Regal Find in Middleton, WI

Come and create a fun and decorative fabric and lace mobile.  This elegant piece can add some vintage flair to any room.  Add a drop light kit and it can even create a beautiful chandelier for your home!

$60.00

mobile

10/16/14: 7:00-9:30 Halloween Subway Art Class at The Regal Find in Middleton, WI

Looking for that extra little something to add to your decor this Halloween?  Why not create your own Chalkboard Subway Word Art Piece?  This is a fun and simple project that you can create over and over again for each holiday, or just for fun, once you learn the technique!

$48.00

halloween

 fun and decorative fabric and lace mobile.  This elegant mobile can add some vintage flair to any room.  Add a drop light kit and it can even create a beautiful pendant lamp for your home. – See more at: http://mycraftyadventures.com/event/fabric-mobile-class/#sthash.AVr8IOUK.dpuf
Come and create a fun and decorative fabric and lace mobile.  This elegant mobile can add some vintage flair to any room.  Add a drop light kit and it can even create a beautiful pendant lamp for your home. – See more at: http://mycraftyadventures.com/event/fabric-mobile-class/#sthash.AVr8IOUK.dpuf
Come and create a fun and decorative fabric and lace mobile.  This elegant mobile can add some vintage flair to any room.  Add a drop light kit and it can even create a beautiful pendant lamp for your home. – See more at: http://mycraftyadventures.com/event/fabric-mobile-class/#sthash.AVr8IOUK.dpuf
Come and create a fun and decorative fabric and lace mobile.  This elegant mobile can add some vintage flair to any room.  Add a drop light kit and it can even create a beautiful pendant lamp for your home. – See more at: http://mycraftyadventures.com/event/fabric-mobile-class/#sthash.AVr8IOUK.dpuf

new prints in the store!

Ok – several of you asked and now here you go…

Follow Your Arrow and Adjust the Sails both have prints for sale in the online store…  Click the link above!

Follow your Arrow mixed media art piece for sale

Adjust your sales mixed media art for sale

If you are local and don’t want to pay shipping, email me at stephenie003(at)frontier(dot)com and I will work out meeting you.

I am so excited to have these in the shop!

Thanks so much for all of your enthusiasm.  It means the world to me!

And, that said, I am creating a coupon just for Labor Day Weekend.  Use the code LD2014 to save 15% in store now through Monday!

following my arrow

There is a song that I am kind of loving…  “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves.

follow your arrow mixed media

It is not super new, but it is a fun, upbeat little number about the fact that no matter what we do, we will never please other people and that we should follow our hearts, our love, our passion, and just be happy with ourselves.

I find that song stuck in my head more often than not lately – something that I have taken as a bit of a sign.

Follow your arrow is another way of saying Carpe Diem.  Another way of saying to take a leap of faith.  Follow your heart.  Be true to yourself.  Take a risk.

I am not sure why it seems to have effected me as much as it has, but I hear the refrain in my head and I know that one of two things is happening:

  • I am on the right path, content, and happy, following my heart.
  • I am far from where I should be and I need to find my arrow and follow it.

There is something to be said for figuring out who you are.  Earlier can be easier than for those of us who figure out who we are meant to be at a later age in life…  we are often already on a path.  A nice, paved, shiny path, complete with a mortgage, responsibilities, and commitments.

All this means is that it just might take a little more time, with slower shifts to get out of your current lane and onto that gravel path that leads to your destiny.

The road will be bumpy.  Dirty.  And when you fall, you might get some rocks in your knee.

It will, however, open your eyes to wonders anew and teach so much more about yourself – and your family.

So, where is your arrow pointing?

Follow it – it leads to the best adventure ever – your life.

 

been up to some fun…

That’s why I have been so quiet…

I have been working on several new art pieces – doodles, paintings, and mixed media fun that I will be displaying and selling at my first art event.  I have done the little craft shows, but that somehow feels different.

Putting my art out there, to be judged and sold and viewed seems so much more personal than the stuff I have sold at craft shows.  And I think it is…

This is so much more me – not trendy jewelry or cute wreaths that everyone wants.

This is art.  This is my heart.

Oh boy…  can’t back out now!  Space is rented, booth is coming together, and pieces are getting finished up.  Time to rip off the band aid and see how it goes.

I am putting myself out there – what’s the worst that can happen?

I spend the day surrounded by artists and local food, enjoying some people watching and chatting.  Sounds like a pretty good “worst” scenario.

So, if you are around on Sept. 6th, swing by downtown Sun Prairie, WI and say hi!

sun prairie wi art fest cannery square art fair

begin again…

Tonight I did that thing that a lot of people think is totally sad, lame, pathetic, and lonely…

I went to the movies by myself.

For me, however, this often helps me reconnect, redirect, and get inspired.

I am not sure why, but I have always enjoyed going by myself.

Maybe it is because I can see the exact movie I want.  Or, maybe because I get the whole box of Milk Duds to myself.  Maybe it is a little of all of that.  Or maybe, just maybe, it is more.

When I go, I see movies that I know I will like, or love.  Movies that speak to me – comedy, mockumentary, indie flicks, and anything literary-based.  I want to laugh.  I want to cry.  I want to hear new music.  I want a great story. I want to be moved, inspired, and to become absorbed in a moment and leave feeling, well, something.

begin again Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Keira Knightly

Tonight I saw Begin Again, which is from the writer of Once.  Now, you have to get over the fact that Once was such a big hit that this time bigger stars, rather than unknowns, were cast.  That didn’t take long, plus I adore Mark Ruffalo so it was pretty easy.  It was filled with the same great music moments, love in trouble, and a mini tour of NYC.  I know it is getting not so hot reviews from the professional critics, but I think it now has a special place in my heart.

Need a new song to listen to?  Check out Keira Knightly on the soundtrack singing “Lost Stars.”  Adam Levine does the song as well, but I feel like hers is the more honest version, true to the movie and the moments that it represented.  It is good – I promise.

Overall, it was not groundbreaking, but I left feeling inspired, wanting to listen to the music, and overall feeling like it was a night well spent.

I definitely enjoyed it, along with a little me time to get inspired.  And that really is what art is, right…

Moving others to feel?