The Truth Behind the Smile…

Marshmallows…it all started with marshmallows!  For those of you who know me, know marshmallows and I have tight bond.  It’s a safe food.  I don’t know how or why, but I do not have negative reactions when I eat them.  So, it is imperative we always have these little soft cloud-like gifts from heaven at all times in our home.   I had contemplated trying to drive to my grocery store and walk through without the assistance of a wheelchair for a few weeks.  I knew if I kept my list short and sweet, it could be a real possibility.  So, I braved the odds and rocked that grocery store like a boss!  Actually, I held onto the cart for dear life and carefully and methodically maneuvered my way through the store.  I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s the best option for success.

So, my daughter and I celebrated!  ALWAYS celebrate small victories!  You can either sulk about how physically taxing it is or how the cart doubled as your walker. OR, you can do a happy dance, take a picture to remember that moment, and be proud of baby steps.  I chose the latter.  But there is another side to the story.  One most people never see and many chronically ill people choose not to reveal.  I posted this picture on Facebook after we returned home.  So much love was sent my way from friends and family rejoicing with me.   It reminded me how blessed I am to have the love and support from so many amazing souls! But, it also reminded me there are many who do not have any support.  Many retreat from society because they fear the judgments of others.  They suppress their emotions and live in great pain mentally and physically.  They feel paralyzed and believe  no one understands.  I write many of these blog posts specifically for the broken-hearted. The silent sufferers who believe they have been stripped of a voice and life.  I became a part of the chronic illness community when POTS came along , but the chronic illness community became a part of me as well.  I carry them in my heart wherever I go.

So, to give the full story of this picture posted above, I did meet a goal!  I am so very proud!  It was a moment of victory!  When I returned home I began feeling the effects of the trip.  The aches, pains, fever, and migraine started sneaking up on me.  It has been three days since this picture was taken and I am still recuperating from a quick trip to the market.  But that smile…that smile is genuine.  That smile says I know I will pay for this later, but right now I am with my daughter.  That smile says though my body hurts and  I am physically spent, I still believe.  I still believe the best is yet to come.

Chronic illness forces you to find new normals, new goals, adjust expectations, and hope for the best.  I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years.  Yet, I have been stuck at home for over a year and a half.  Big difference!  Staying at home with my children was a choice my husband and I made together(and we were never home!).  Staying at home (for the majority of the time) because of sickness was not a choice but rather a necessity.  I have had this desire within me to do something from home, but I only wanted to do something I was passionate about.  I am passionate about my faith, my family, my friends, this blog, the chronic illness community and support groups, but something in me was stirring.  I knew there was more, but how in the world could there be more when I am hardly able to leave my home?  So I prayed and waited.

Then one afternoon a lightbulb went off.  I always advocate for products that I believe are beneficial.  I do not hold back when giving information that may help someone else(but always advise checking with your doctor).  It’s my desire to see each person be the best version of themselves they can be.  Chronic illness makes that goal much more difficult because your body refuses to cooperate. For example, I have struggled for years because of POTS (I call it POTS face) with my skin whether it be dryness, flaking, redness, or weird rashes.  I tried numerous products to no avail. I began using Rodan and Fields and within weeks my face started changing dramatically.  I seriously couldn’t believe it. That was the moment…the moment I realized I may need to step out again into the unknown.  Was this the opportunity I had been praying for over the last two months?  I certainly was passionate about the product.  I was already telling everyone they needed to try it.  So, I called someone for wise counsel (my mom of course) and she said, “ABSOLUTELY, what are you waiting on?”  God gave me an opportunity in the midst of this illness to help others with their skin care needs, and my family at the same time.

My point is this…people say a picture is worth 1,000 words.  I say, a picture tells only a small portion of the story.  Chronic illness and the struggles that go along with it rarely show up in a photograph.  But, actually that reasoning goes far beyond the chronic illness community.  I encourage you to dig a little deeper and take the time to see the bigger picture and that is you obviously need to purchase Rodan and Fields from me.  Just Kidding!!!!  The bigger picture is this, life happens to us all.  Plans will change.  Goals will change.  And you must be willing to change with them.  An opportunity could be right infront of you, but you must take that step.  Appearances are deceiving.  Take the time to dig a little deeper.  You may just find a beautiful life in the midst of the ashes.

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