There’s Excitement In the Air!

I am writing a book!  Well, to be honest, the actual “writing” is done.  Now we are doing the final edit.  That sounds pretty easy, right?  It is.  BUT, as I’ve learned, there’s more to self-publishing a book that writing it.

Yes, I thought that writing a book was the hard part.  I’d toyed with first chapters of several books in the past, but they never got off the ground.  The Sick Mom’s Guide® to Having Fun Again: If I can do it, you can too! Was almost totally completed in eight days.  Yes, 8! That was a book that just came onto the keyboard like ants to a picnic.  It took a month to make it pretty, then off it went to be edited.

After the writing, though, is when the hard work starts for a self-publishing author.  Book images, back cover, pre-orders (read about what it’s like to prepare for that here: http://www.thesickmomsguide.com/today-i-learned), then off to another website to upload and prepare for the paperback.  Audio for the audiobook will be done in June (can you say pushing the limits of time?)

Then the promotion!  A book is no good to anyone unless they know about it and read it.  I have an AMAZING launch team that is about to start reading and reviewing the book.  They’ll share what they love about it to their friends and followers.  I have the privilege of being featured on some amazing podcasts starting in May, and I’ll give you the links to all of them as they are available. Thunderclap is an amazing promotion tool that I will utilize when the cover is ready, and then there is

 

YOU, MY AMAZING SUPPORTER!

 

Over at www.thesickmomsguide.com you can sign up to get a coupon code for the first week the book is out in paperback.  You can tell your friends about it, buy the book it, or share it.  Any and all would be appreciated.  There’s definitely something in it for you!

 

With all of that, and my inability to breathe last week, it’s been quite a whirlwind.  I apologize for being MIA, and appreciate your understanding.  You are the reason I’m here, and I think about you every day as I prepare the book that will rekindle your joy and give you some fun!

 

Next week the FUNFEST begins!

 

Six weeks of articles about having fun & enjoying yourself, even on your worst days.  I’m excited about it & can’t wait to hear how your life is changing for the better,

Jen

 

THE SKELETONS IN MY CLOSET

 

One day, about a decade ago, I was talking to a neighbor who was going through a hard time she said “I can’t talk to you about what’s going on–your life is so perfect, you’d never understand.”

 

I was floored! My life was NOT perfect. But I was really good at hiding my reality. I didn’t do it on purpose mind you. I grew up in a home of abuse and alcoholism, where keeping the reality of our lives under wraps was the unspoken rule.

 

On the outside, my childhood seemed idyllic. Our extended family would come across the country to stay with us and bask in our sunny California home. We had horses and chickens and a pool with a pool house. My home was actually a field trip destination for my school! People used to wish they could be me, but no one had any idea of what ‘being me’ was like when the company was gone.

My young adult years were spent doing nothing I want to share here, but suffice it to say that poor choices were made. Then a poor marriage choice was made. We tried to make it work for eighteen years, but some things just aren’t right. That conversation with my neighbor came just before the divorce.

 

When you grow up in abuse and addiction, you learn certain behaviors, and expect them in others. I thought that love was screaming at me until 2am and then lovingly coming in a few hours later to offer me pancakes before school.  I was an isolated, only child (until I was 12) and didn’t spend enough time with “normal” families to know that it was all wrong.

My adult life started with the same patterns. I thought I was better. I thought I’d broken the cycle. I thought my kids had things so great. And they did, to a degree. But I still didn’t understand that I deserved to be treated right and fairly, and loved unconditionally. I did those things for my kids, but they saw things happening that were not ok.

 

I’m telling you this for a reason.

 

I have a blog about being a mom. I’m writing a book about being a mom. But I, just like everyone else, am NOT a perfect mom. My self-righteous old me used to think so, but she was wrong.

 

Because of the things that happened years ago, I don’t have a relationship with my oldest daughter. It is the most heart-wrenching part of my life. I’m not sharing details, because I respect her and her privacy. Please do the same thing, as I’m sure you would want for your own child.

I also don’t have a relationship with my own mother. Sometimes we have to let toxic things go, even when missing them tears us apart.

 

I am the most fortunate woman though! I have met someone who lives life with the viewpoint of a happy, untainted child, while still being strong and able to take care of our family. He has shown me what a normal, healthy relationship and family look like.  He has been willing to teach me, a slow and painful process, how to have healthy relationships.  And he loves me unconditionally, through my illness and through my pain.

I have had the opportunity to start again.   I am working at re-building the relationships I hadn’t realized were broken from the start, and create new, healthy ones. I have a life that I can share–with my friends and with the world–without hiding anything.  It’s been a new experience for me, and I’m still amazed at my life!  I owe most of my now-happy life to my husband, Dave, who saw through the heartache and bitterness in me, and taught me how amazing life can be when we focus on the positive.  He’s been teaching me for 9 years now, what true love looks like and that I’m OK.  He’s a husband, life-coach, and cheerleader.  Somehow all while being a strong, grounded person.

 

 

That’s why Chronically Positive Mom is working.  I’ve been there.  I know what drowning in the negativity and pain, both physical and emotional, is like.  And I have been able to break through it to create a better life–for myself, my family, and everyone I meet.

 

 

I want to be transparent with you, my reader and my friend. I want you to know me. The good and the bad. Some may choose to not come back, but the rest of you will know that I am human–fallible, and honest.  Most of my life I’ve hidden who I am.  I was guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed.  My story isn’t as bad as many, but it’s not the perfect, rosy picture I wish it was.  I’ve never told anyone about it all.  Until now.  Now I’m telling the world.  It leaves me feeling so many things, mostly vulnerable.  But I can’t go on writing about Mom-ness without complete transparency.

The chronically positive mom has come a long way, and she has much further to go. I hope you’ll join me on the path. We are going to have fun along the way, but sometimes the road of life is bumpy. I’m here for you when it gets tough, because even though I’m smiling in the pictures, I do understand.

 

 

Having a rough week?

 

Dear Chronically Positive Mom Family,

Even me, the “Chronically Positive Mom” can get stuck in my sadness sometimes.  It all started last Friday, when one of the women from our support group passed away.  I have never met her face-to-face, but she has been a ray of sunshine in our group. She has helped me feel better personally by giving me support emotionally, and by giving me advice on a physical symptom I was struggling with, as well as helping others there.

In my quest to build up, support, and empower women with chronic illnesses, I never thought about what I would/should do if something happened to one of them!  In my perfect world here in the computer, they would all miraculously be healed and go on to live brilliant lives, running and playing with their children like never before.

I am telling you, dear one, that I am beside myself today.  Both for the loss of Gina (and for her family), and for the realization that this is the reality we face.   It is in the back of our minds, and the minds of those who are close to us.  What if I go too early?

 

 

It is good and healthy to grieve,

when we are done, we need to give ourselves permission to LIVE

 

Hold your child’s hand, look deep into their eyes and tell them you love them.  Commit random acts of kindness to those around you. Take a walk in the rain.  Surround yourself with beauty.  Do what you love to do.  LOVE others.

On Friday night, Gina’s family found out how many peoples lives she had touched.  They had never known that even though she was sick, she was constantly building up others in her online communities.  She reached out and made a difference, even though her symptoms prevented her from doing the things many others take for granted.  I hope that I am like that, bringing love and hope into your life!

SMILE at everyone around you, and enjoy those precious smiles you get in return!

 

Don’t live each day as if it were your last in fear, but live that way and make purposeful choices to enjoy your life. Focus on the positive so you attract other positive people toward you.  You deserve to be happy.  Pursue that happiness.

 

Saturday, I found out our neighbor had also passed away Friday as well, leaving his precious wife & soul-mate behind.  I talked to her yesterday and she was smiling.  She is there, moving forward and loving everyone in her life. And here I am, crying for my loss. Crying because I feel so sad  Crying because I want to make a difference and make a change, but some things are out of my control.

 

This isn’t a normal positive post, but it’s a real and honest one.  

 

I  love my Chronically Positive Mom family, even though we haven’t met in person.  I love you because even though you might be across the world from me, we share a bond.  I am joyful when you are joyful, and I feel the pain of your bad days.  Live today, enjoy today, love today.  Fill your day with joy for me.  Tomorrow I’ll join you.

 

You are loved, and you are not alone,

Jen

 

 

Chronically Positive Mom, Unmasked!

 

Hello You!

I’ve been talking to you a lot lately.  Handing out advice, and asking you to join my group and follow me.  I’ve asked you to share personal things with me and answer questions.  You might be wondering who I am.  What else is there to this Jen Hardy than what’s on her about me page?  Is she really chronically ill?

It’s true, I am not well. That’s why I started this blog. Being positive has really helped my attitude and relationships, and even my pain. I needed to share my new positiveness with you, so you could feel better too.

I consider myself beyond blessed to have an amazing, supportive husband who really is the prince of my dreams.  He takes such good care of our whole family, loves me, and would do anything to make me happy.  He cooks when I don’t feel well, doesn’t make me feel guilty for spending so much time in bed (but I still feel so guilty!)

Here’s the deal–I don’t talk about him much because I know that there are so many Moms who are struggling alone.  You’re either single or you have a partner that just doesn’t get it.  I don’t want anyone to feel bad when I talk about him.  So he’s there, in the background.  My soldier for our country (retired) and for me.

But all this positive talk, well…I want you to know that I’m not setting myself up to seem like I always have it together. I’m struggling too. I worry about what if…. And I worry about what’s for dinner.

 

Today I woke up, still unshowered, from my nap at 1:00pm and looked like this:

 

It’s painful to share this part of me, but I want you to see the real me

 

 

45 minutes later, I looked like this:

My son made me laugh so hard…such a comedian!

 

I’m not saying that I look wonderful.  In fact, I could really use a makeover.  No really, any beauticians in Brentwood/Nashville up for it?  But it does show the difference between what I look like normally, and what I look like when I put myself together.

It also goes to to show what a shower and a smile can do too! One of my goals this year is to be up and bathed and dressed by 11am.  I do feel better when I look nice.  I wear my Chronically Positive Mom shirt on days when I’m feeling especially rough. It reminds me to focus on the positive, and every time I look in the mirror I remember it’s going to be OK.

Silly? Yes, but I have a lot of shirts that speak for me. I had one that I wore to my latest neurologist that said, “Help me, I’m sore.” I told the nurse it was because I wanted the Dr. to remember me. She smiled and said, “don’t worry honey, he will anyway.”   That’s what a crazy rare disease will do, I suppose.

 

 

What’s wrong with me, you ask? I don’t usually talk about it. I’m a pretty private person (no really, I was until this blog came along) Also, sometimes people with illnesses have this underlying contest game going on called: “I’m sicker than you are!”  And I don’t like to play.

But if you’re wondering what this Chronically Positive Mom has going on, here it is:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back problems; herniated discs, stenosis…
  • Belly stuff—let’s leave it at that
  • Food allergies, like casein (all dairy) and gluten
  • Neuropathy: pain & numbness,  (I can’t even use a touch screen without a stylus because it burns my finger) I also get painful sensations when nothing is touching my skin.  It covers my arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Sensory issues (my senses work overtime.  One of my superpowers is that I can smell things like a police dog)
  • Sleep apnea (anyone else out there have that fun machine? Hubby does, we sound like dueling Darth Vaders when we sleep!)
  • Last but not least (in fact, the worst awful thing) is a mystery muscle-wasting disease that none of my 10 neurologists have been able to figure out. So while they ponder, my muscles all over my body (including the ones I use to swallow) are atrophying.  I’ll share more about that one after my next appointment
  • You can top that off with a sprinkling of anxiety and depression (caused by what I’m going through and the fear of the unknown?) Those things tend to go with major diseases.

That’s the main stuff. I don’t really think about the other things.  Basically, if your body needs a part to work on a regular basis to keep you alive, my body wants to shut it down.

 

THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME A SUPERHERO — I KEEP GOING!

AND YOU DO TOO!

 

 

It’s lonely lying there in bed thinking about the pain and calamity happening inside of my body.  I can’t do it alone, but together, we can get through all of this. We can get out of bed, get cleaned up, go outside, talk to other people, and LIVE.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I NEED TO STOP SELF-FOCUSING

 

 

 

Look into my beautiful children’s eyes, and see the beauty and love there.  I  find my reason for everything.

 

I wish I could remember that every second.  The sweet innocence of my children.  The joys of childhood that are fleeing with each day that goes by.  Some days I feel so sick, I’m totally focused on me, and I’m not the Mom I want to be to them.  The Mom they deserve, and the Mom that I want them to remember.  I remember the way my older children would look at me when they were little too, like I really WAS their superhero.  Now they’re grown up with homes of their own.  I’m so thankful that I valued them when they were young.  There’s nothing like the sweet touch of small fingers in my hand…

But I digress, what I’m saying is that through it all, THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME TO FOCUS ON.  How much more beautiful is my child than my sickness?  They are a much better focus!  They help me find joy and peace.  Yes, it’s all supposed to come from within, but when within is broken, sometimes we need to find other things that keep us moving forward.

So that’s me in a nutshell

 

I hope you are feeling well today. I know I’m feeling better now that I’ve bathed and joined the human world. And I’ve talked to you. You mean a lot to me, even though we’ve never met. I know you’re out there, experiencing something similar to me. I don’t feel alone any more. My kids aren’t the only ones with a Mommy like me. Maybe you’re better, maybe you’re worse, but you’re THERE.

 

And YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

Jen