Friday, July 31, 2009

We're up and running!

We should be good to go on the website checkout. Let me know if you experience difficulty - I'm always here to help!

sara@despitelupus.com

Thanks!
Now that we're well into swimsuit season, I realize that I'm not quite ready for swimsuit season. But are we ever?

My suit fits fine, I won't complain about that. I'm just thrilled not to be in my maternity bathing suit like last summer! But I'm still sporting those unsightly bruises from the Lovenox shots I had to take during pregnancy. (Yes - they're over a year old!!!). But that's not all. While I won't go into specific details - you know me - I hate visual aids -suffice it to say that I have quite a few other bruises as well. Yes, I'm a bit clumsy, yes, I have lupus blood, and yes, I'm on prednisone...but come on!

The worst part is that I forget about them. Some would say that's a good thing - that the fact that I no longer notice them (until I notice someone else noticing them) means that I'm not unnecessarily self-conscience about my lupus-ridden body. And yes, by anyone's estimation, that is a VERY good thing. But because I don't worry about it, I forget to warn people before I unveil my black and blue beauties.

I found myself thinking the same thing when I was getting my hair cut recently. I was talking away, waving my hands in the air to make my point about goodness-knows-what...and I caught a glimpse of my skinny, bony, arthritic hands in the mirror. Boy, were they old looking! I know I've mentioned my hands before, and I really am over it - but it's just crazy how you can lose sight of your "lupusness", until, of course, you're outside of your normal routine and something jumps out as a bit out of the ordinary.

I noticed my latest lupusesque habit this morning, when I pulled open my bedside table drawer to take my morning meds, and realized that I actually take a handful of pills each morning and night, and have for quite some time. Again, I take 90% fewer pills than I used to - and for that, I'm thankful - but I still manage to choke down at least three or four in the morning and four at night. Not bad for a lupite, but if you stop and think about it - not everyone does that!

So here's to those of us who have learned to live with the needs of our disease...as long as we're not overlooking something that needs attention (like just dealing with fatigue rather than finding a way to get more sleep in the course of a day), I say congrats!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Website checkout difficulty!

There currently seems to be a problem checking out on my website - sorry for those of you who have tried to place an order! My web designer is working to remedy the problem - I'll be sure to let you know when the problem is fixed - it should be today or tomorrow!

Thanks for hanging in there and please email me at sara@despitelupus.com if you experience difficulty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is only a test...

Cue the color bars...I think this is a test.

I've decided that I may have encountered the greatest challenge of my lupus career yet...writing and promoting a book while suffering from what's been called the "euphoria of accomplishment" and being a "highly action-prone individual" who fancies herself as an overachiever, all while sporting a chronic illness. You think that I might be struggling a bit with my high expectations, desire to accomplish, and my eagerness to check off items on my to-do list? You bet I am!

So I've had to go back and re-read chapter 3 of my book. Really - I did. I find that, under a bit of stress and in the face of a laundry list of things to accomplish, I revert back to my old standbys of determination, productivity, and a desire for perfection. So where does my daily nap fit in with all that? Exactly. That's a good question.

Truth is, I've been able to take my nap - because a month or two ago, I was skimping on my rest and it was beginning to take its toll. Now that I have that under control, I realize that I still have to fight the need to succeed. It's understandable that I want to take every opportunity to get the word out about living well with lupus - but you know what? I just can't do it. Running myself ragged, trying to make sure that all of my signings are properly promoted, my website is up to date, and that word spreads about my book is, well...it's work. And didn't I retire a few years ago? Yup, I did. And for good reason. Since I've stopped working, my health has never been so good, and I've never felt so great. Enough said.

While speaking about my book to promote the idea of living well isn't "work", I need to make sure that the effort that goes into it doesn't resemble "work" either. So it's back to boundary-making and stress-eliminating I go. I can still let people know my book is out there. I can still be a success in my own eyes - I just have to make sure, first and foremost - that the balance that I've worked so hard to establish doesn't get thrown off by my new endeavor.

And that's why my book ends the way it does. Don't know what I'm talking about? Grab a copy and find out!

Quotes above courtesy of Fred Friedberg's "Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Seven Proven Steps to Less Pain and More Energy."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My John Hancock

Just a quick reminder that if you'd like a personalized, autographed copy of the book, Despite Lupus, don't forget to order off of my website as opposed to Amazon.com. I've had a couple of request from Amazon customers, and while I wish I could have obliged, those orders are filled directly by the folks at Amazon.com. I don't even know that you've purchased a copy!

So in the event that you're just dying for an inscribed copy :), click here, or on the "BUY THE BOOK" button in the top left hand corner of my website. And no matter where you purchase a copy - thanks so much! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book - your feedback is welcome!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Living well learning curve

As a first-time mom, I suppose I'm entitled to be a bit clueless when it comes to child-rearing. I'd never given much thought to the mechanics of eating and drinking, but now that Deirdre is well on her way to eating solid food and drinking from a cup, it's clear that it takes a little practice. Don't get me wrong - we are having a fabulous (read: messy) time watching Deirdre learn to open, insert, chew (or is that gum), and swallow her food, but I just hadn't realized that it would be such a learning process. Same with a sippy cup. It's been hilarious (read: wet) to watch her try and maneuver that little drinking mouthpiece in between her lips. She's definitely on the right track - although pictorially, some may argue that isn't the case. Clearly, there's still progress to be made - but we're awfully proud of our little Deirdre.

Reflecting on the notion of life's little learning curves, I realize that my venture to live well with a chronic illness is quite the learning process, too. It's certainly not a race, and it definitely can't be achieved overnight. But it is possible.
When I look back through the chapters of my book, I realize that the whole thing is one big learning process: figuring out what my limitations are, adjusting to the needs of the disease, accepting the changes that I've had to make. And acknowledging that one step toward living well builds upon another. Of course, some of those steps are easier than others. But the payoff? Oh forget about it! Living well, that is, having a normal life where I can do just about anything (included but not limited to watching my sweet baby girl figure out how best to eat a cheerio), is the greatest reward I could ever ask for.
And on the topic of learning, Johnny put together a little video of Deirdre - it debuted moments after I'd put together this post...so it just had to be added. The master filmmaker couldn't have created a masterpiece any more fitting. Enjoy - and let me know what your favorite letter is!!!


Book Signing - see you there!

Tune in to Channel 9 today at 5pm to catch the details on tonight's Despite Lupus book signing!

We're thrilled to have special guest Channel 9 anchor Anita Brikman join us for a great evening, complete with a little lupus education (thanks to Penny Fletcher, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America-Greater Washington), some goodies, and a reading from Despite Lupus. Not to mention the delicious new treat called the Avalanche now available at ACKC, the fabulous host venue for the evening. Here's the description:

Imagine a frozen vanilla landslide blended with one of the following:
Peanut Butter Cups, Brownie Bits, Mint Oreo Cookie Pieces, M&Ms, Pop Rocks, or Toffee Bits. Oh my!

Need details? Here you go!

Monday, July 27, 2009 ~ 7-8:30 p.m.
Artfully Chocolate ~ Kingsbury Confections Cocoa Bar and Gallery
1529-C 14th Street
Washington DC 20005

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's in store? Who cares!

I've never had my palm read. I've never even been to a fortune teller. And yet when I was in college, I wanted nothing more than to catch a glimpse of what life would look like for Sara (then Gretter) in the years to come. I wanted to see myself at 30 years old first, because at 18, 30 seemed SOOOO old. (Don't I know better now!) My next stop would have been 65 years old - thinking that by then, I would have retired and started my next phase of life - the live-it-up-while-winding-down phase. Of course, I've never caught a glimpse of what's in store for my future, and now, I know why.

When I was 26, I was diagnosed with lupus. At different times over the following few years, I lost all my hair, hobbled around like an old lady, and sported red, swollen, bulbous joints - all in all, not my best look. Do you think I would have understood what was going on had I seen that vision in my teens? No way! I couldn't even wrap my head around it in my 20's!

Even after I got my disease under control in my early 30's, life didn't look like what I would have expected it to - no kids, no job, just me, sleeping the day away with a pill box always at my side. Had I seen that that was the future in store for me, I would have asked for my money back. But fast-forward just a few years after that, and guess what I would have seen? That's right - a happy, healthy, vibrant 35-year-old, with a 9-month old adorable baby by my side and a book with my name on it. Who would have guessed! I realize that the old phrase "one day at a time" has never been more true - there's no need to look past today. Tomorrow will always be there - who knows what it will look like, but we'll find out when we get there.

That said, I have to admit that the "one day" phrase doesn't do much for me anymore. Maybe I've heard it too many times over the years - but the meaning is lost and I can't even really appreciate the sentiment when I hear the phrase. I think my dad feels the same way - which is why he recently shared the following with me - it was as if he knew I needed a fresh, new substitute. Here's his take on the subject - check it out:

I can do today.

Not bad, huh? It's almost hip, you know? And my dad would be the first to admit, he's not that hip of a guy. I think it's the plaid flannel that gives him away. Even still, he came up with a good one this time. Kudos to you, Dad - and keep the good ones coming!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's back to Artfully Chocolate I go!

Don't forget to join us for Despite Lupus' next book signing at ACKC in D.C. - the fabulous Cocoa Bar and Art Gallery where Despite Lupus had its debut signing. The first one was a blast - be sure to come by for the fun (and goodies!) in store for Monday's big event!

Despite Lupus Book Signing
Monday, July 27th, 7-8:30pm
ACKC D.C.
1529C 14TH Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-387-COCO


Although plans have changed slightly for Monday's signing, things are still heating up for Despite Lupus! I'm sorry to announce that Anita Brikman, Channel 9's weeknight anchor, will no longer be able to join us for the evening's event. However, all is not lost. What could possibly be better than having Ms. Brikman join us on Monday evening? How about Despite Lupus joining Ms. Brikman on the Friday evening news to promote the big event?

That's right! Tune in this Friday evening at 7pm to catch a glimpse of an interview of yours truly with Anita Brikman on Channel 9. I'm thrilled that Ms. Brikman extended the offer to get the word out about lupus and the book signing - be sure to watch!

Thought I'd also include a bit about the spectacular venue for Monday's event. Wondering how ACKC came to be? Here's a snippet from their website...enjoy!

***
Once upon a time in a quaint confectionery shop in the bustling village of Alexandria, two men - Rob Kingsbury and Eric Nelson - stumbled upon a topic of conversation that would change their lives. Each had a passion for chocolate, a love of fine art, and an adoration of Hollywood divas. While discussing the truly esoteric subjects of Lucille Ball's chocolate-making ineptitude and totally inspired hair color, it hit them.


They would combine their passions - Rob's passion as a chocolatier and Eric's passion as an artist - and open a chocolatier/cocoa bar and art gallery. And this magical place would honor Lucy with a cocoa drink named after her, a drink whose infusion of chipotle peppers and cinnamon would conjure her daring personality and fiery hair.

And so, Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections (lovingly known as ACKC) was born. It would take months to realize the dream (and to recover from their mimosa-induced hangover from that momentous day), but on December 6, 2007, ACKC opened to the delight of chocoholics far and wide.

From the beginning, ACKC has been a place filled with delicious chocolate, brilliant art, fun, fantasy, and spectacle. Rob and Eric are dedicated to bringing you a truly memorable experience. They are constantly feeling out their customers (most of the time, just figuratively) to determine what will make the experience more satisfying.
Visit us, judge for yourself, and tell them what you think...

See you there!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lupus Drug news: Benlysta looking good!

Check out these articles from the Washington Post and the New York Times - both touching on the promising outlook for Benlysta, Human Genome Sciences latest attempt at a lupus drug. Here's a snippet from the NYT article below - click on the links above to read the entire articles.

***
Trial for New Lupus Treatment Is Called Promising
by Andrew Pollack, Published: July 20, 2009
NYT

A medicine to treat lupus has proved effective in a large clinical trial, which could pave the way for approval of the first new treatment for the disease in more than 40 years. In recent years, many other companies have tried but failed to bring a lupus treatment to market

The success of the trial could lead to a rise in the shares of the drug’s developer, Human Genome Sciences, which will announce the results Monday morning. Almost all Wall Street analysts have been predicting the drug, known as Benlysta, would fail in the trial.

“For the one million people with lupus in the United States, this is nothing short of revolutionary,” said Dr. Daniel J. Wallace, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was a consultant to Human Genome Sciences on the structure of the trial.

Say "No" to the beach bunny? No way!

Check out these pictures of Deirdre at the shore over the 4th of July - there's no doubt about it, I have myself a little beach bunny! Unlike her mother, who prefers to remain dry, cool, and sand-free under a sheltering umbrella, Deerdeepants likes to experience the beach to the fullest. The sandier she is and the bigger the wave, the better.

While I haven't found myself frolicking in the ocean for quite some time (although I write about my first time "back to the beach" in my book...), being down at the beach with Deirdre was the best. I found myself feeling oh-so-proud that I'd worked so hard to get well enough that I could share some beach time with my little lady. Years ago, I would have worried about sitting in the surf, under the scorching sun, for an hour or so. In fact, years ago, I couldn't have done it. When lupus was flaring - after even a short period of time in the sun - my joints would have ached, I would have run a fever, and I would have felt pretty crummy for hours (if not a day or two) afterward. In fact, I probably would have asked her Dad to take her to the beach alone, but not now!
I was eager to sit in that squishy, wet sand with little Miss Deirdre - loving every minute of my time in the sun. Of course, I took precautions - wearing my cover up for a good part of the time, making sure my heavy duty sunscreen was replenished often, keeping my hat and sunglasses on, and getting plenty of rest before and after our romps at the beach - but I can't tell you how good it felt to be able to live a little, without consequence!




Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A tender moment...to learn from

As if the first year of motherhood doesn't have enough precious moments to go around, I recently experienced one of the sweetest mother-daughter moments to date. And the best part? I wasn't expecting it!

Deirdre, as I've said before, is a fabulous sleeper. She's just over 9 months, and knock on very hard, solid wood, very rarely wakes up in the middle of the night. I think it's been at least 3 months since she's even made a peep, and probably another 3 months before that when I can remember any sort of middle-of-the-night rousing. Apparently, she's her mother's daughter - and seems to need almost 12 hours of sleep each night - and we love her for it.

But just recently, she had a fitful night of sleep. She woke up at 1:30am and again an hour later. I then heard her around 4am. She wasn't crying hard each time, just fussing - and wasn't awake more than 5-10 minutes before she went back to sleep. I didn't even have a chance to go into her room. However, when she woke up again at 5am crying harder this time...I decided to go in. I figured she was teething, and perhaps could use a little tender loving care (aka Tylenol) to help ease her pain. I went in, scooped her up in my arms, and held her close. I realized that she was significantly younger the last time I'd done that in the middle of the night...almost too young to understand the concept of consolation. Sure, in the past, she's appreciated her mommy's loving touch or a big hug from daddy - but bottom line, she had basic needs (hungry, poopy diaper, etc.) that needed to be fulfilled, and it was only after meeting those needs that she was consoled.

However...she's older and wiser now...and when I went in the other morning, and hugged her tight, she hugged me right back. I almost melted. She just kept hugging and hugging, and every 30 seconds or so, she'd release her grip, check to make sure it was really me, and then go back to hugging. She was comforted enough to return to bed within just a few minutes, and while I wanted those moments to last a lifetime, I'll never forget the feeling I had as we held each other tight. It was that poignant embrace that made me realize that I, too, have come to understand the value of accepting the consolation (and assistance) that others have to offer.

For years, I thought I was supposed to fight my disease alone - that being independent and self-sufficient made me a stronger, more resilient warrior. But come to find out, that's not the case. I devote several chapters in my book to this subject - even naming one of the chapters "Asking for and Accepting Help." I realized that asking for help was only 1/2 the battle. You have to willingly accept that loving embrace, that helping hand, or that shoulder to cry on. It took me far too long to involve others in my quest for wellness...just another reason why I wrote the book. So you wouldn't make the same mistake I did!

Here's an excerpt from the book on the subject. Enjoy!

***
It’s difficult for me to imagine my struggle with lupus without the supportive, encouraging, caring people I had around me. I was completely enveloped by friends and family willing to do anything in their power to make me well. Their compassion and attentiveness played a major role in my recovery. I know my healing process wouldn’t have come as easily or as quickly without that outpouring.

The support I received was truly amazing. My husband and sister physically and mentally helped me get through each and every day. My parents and in-laws stayed in constant contact, assuring me that Johnny and I could count on them for anything. My co-workers were accommodating and understanding, making it easy for me to float in and out of work as needed. Friends cleaned my house, cooked us meals, and ran errands. They sent cards, care packages, and inspirational books. My priest sent vials of holy water from around the world, as did a perfect stranger who had heard from my Dad that I was in need of extra prayers. Family, friends and more strangers collectively donated over $24,000 to the Arthritis Foundation in honor of a marathon my family and I walked in Dublin, Ireland. Included in almost every donation was a letter filled with hope and encouragement. I am blessed to have received such kindness and know it helped restore me to the healthful life I have today.

Perhaps you’re just as lucky to have a supportive network around you, or maybe those close to you are willing to give, but you’re finding it difficult to receive. I sheepishly admit that, from time to time, the attention I received was overwhelming, and I didn’t always know how to accept the goodwill. I wasn’t used to depending on other people, and the feeling that I was incapable of taking care of myself wasn’t a comfortable one.

From time to time, you may need to remind yourself just how beneficial and empowering it can be to engage others in your struggle with lupus. Here are just two [of the three] reasons why embracing the help of others is a good idea:

1) INCREASED SUPPORT

The better you are at communicating your needs to others, the more likely you are to get the help you need. And whether it’s physical assistance or mental encouragement, which of us doesn’t benefit from a helping hand now and again? You have lupus, which tends to leave you feeling depleted, isolated and rundown. Let yourself experience the boost of energy and the restoration of hope that comes from letting someone else help you. You’ll find strength in knowing that others care and be reminded of the fact that you’re not alone in your fight with lupus. There are people knocking down your door to help you; your job is to let them in.

Physical support

Examples:
Someone opening a door, running your errands, or relieving you of a chore.

Perhaps it’s against your nature to accept help doing things, such as bagging your groceries at the supermarket. Realize that sharing your burden is not a reflection of your ability (or inability) as a human being. In fact, accepting help is a sign that you’re a mature adult capable of knowing your body’s limitations. Instead of berating yourself for “shirking” your responsibilities, rejoice in the fact that you are smart enough to prioritize and fortunate enough to be able to delegate those duties as necessary. Allowing someone to clean your home may give you the extra time (and energy) needed to share story time with your kids. Doling out tasks at work might let you contribute at the office in other ways that were never possible with your heavier workload. Lightening your physical burdens will actually give you the rest and relaxation you need in order to recoup lost moments in other parts of your life. In fact, this is such an important step along the path to living well that the next chapter is devoted entirely to asking for and accepting physical assistance.

Emotional support
Examples:
A friend sending a card, coming by to chat, or sharing an empathetic,
personal experience.

The emotional support you receive from those who call, send notes, or visit is invaluable. Reading a single email from a friend who just wanted to let you know she was thinking of you may be enough to get you through the rest of that day. Don’t think you have to face life’s most overwhelming obstacles alone. Instead, accept the comfort and consolation that others have to offer, knowing that it’s making you a stronger, more capable warrior every step of the way.

2) RECIPROCATION

Letting someone help you enables you to, in turn, help someone else. When I first started attending my lupus group meetings, I did so because I needed advice and guidance from people who knew what I was going through. Over time, their wisdom and insight enabled me to become a healthier, happier, more balanced individual. Today, I want to share that experience with others so they, too, can benefit from the assistance I received years ago. I go to my meetings today, not desperate for help, but ready to help others in their time of need. The learning process hasn’t ended; it’s just been enhanced by the ability to share and discuss my own experiences with others, in an effort to improve life with lupus.

Perhaps your self-esteem has been bankrupt and your sense of purpose lost. You may think that giving in to someone else’s help will only make you feel worse, more helpless and less dignified. Try looking at it from an entirely different angle. By allowing someone to give you the necessary boost to make it through the day, you’re equipping yourself to help someone else down the road. Good deeds are contagious. Why not let the string of goodwill begin with you? By opening yourself up to the assistance of another, you may be jumpstarting a positive chain of events that leaves you more fulfilled and rewarded than ever before.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You are what you eat (or don't eat!)

The question of whether or not an official "lupus" diet exists has been around since I was diagnosed (going on 9 years now...), and I'm sure the very first lupus patients were grappling with the same dilemma. Are there foods that can improve the disease? Are there foods that can exacerbate it? Although it seems to me that an official ruling on the subject hasn't been declared, I've been part of several conversations lately where lupus patients, doctors, and nutritionists have agreed that cutting out certain foods can improve life with lupus.

Personally, I've tried many dietary changes over the years to lessen my disease activity, many of which seemed to drastically improve my situation. I've kept up with a few of them, and I'll outline the changes I've made (both permanently or temporarily) below. Please keep in mind that items listed are based upon my own personal experience, and are not to be taken as medical advice.

1) Shopped the perimeter of the grocery store - That's right - just the fresh stuff: fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, etc. My girlfriend at work told me about this concept years ago, when her husband was found to have a heart condition and instructed to limit his diet to items in the perimeter of the store. Years later, I'm still doing it. What does this eliminate? All of the processed stuff with ingredients you can't pronounce. We're not overzealous about it (you'll still find peanut butter, teddy grahams, and chips in our house), but we actually prefer the fresh stuff. (Eeek! I never thought I'd say that. We used to be a 3-Digiorno-Pizzas-a-week family!)

2) Eliminated, at one time or another and in varying degrees: dairy, night-shade vegetables, soda, red meat, and artificial sweeteners. (Note that the first two items are often thought to have natural inflammatory properties. When I read that years ago, I decided not to add to my troubles - so I cut them out for a time.)

3) Replaced my morning bagel and/or toast with a big, fat fruit smoothie (sans yogurt.) All of that delicious fruit was like one big energy boost. I felt great!! (I've since switched to cereal with milk - I burned out on daily smoothies after several years of it...but I still enjoy one every once in awhile.)

4) Moved our microwave to the garage: That's right - our micro has been boxed up for almost 6 years now...and we haven't missed it for one minute. A) Food seems to taste a lot better warmed in the oven, B) we never buy packaged/boxed microwave dinners because, duh...we don't have one, and C) we actually have to think long and hard about heating up a snack, because it's going to take at least 20 minutes before it's ready. How many fatty, greasy things do you think I've passed on because it would have just taken too long in the oven? A lot! And you know what I eat instead...fruit, which needs very little preparation. Who would have guessed?

There you go - Despite Lupus' dietary history. Remember, the items above are strictly based upon my own personal experience. I suggest consulting your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. And feel free to chime in with your own dietary success stories. I look forward to hearing what works for you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Full Bloom?


There are two window boxes on the front of our house, and every year for the past four, I've struggled to grow flowers in each of them. I've never had a particularly green thumb anyway - but here's the trick with the boxes...one is in full sun, the other in full shade. I know, I know - by now, you'd think I would have figured out that I need to plant different flowers in each box, but I just can't force myself to do it. I love symmetry, and the thought of having two different types of flowers on either side of the front of our house just doesn't sit well.

I've tried impatients, I've tried vincas, I've tried petunias...nothing flourishes equally in both boxes. If the flowers in the shade are thriving, the flowers in the sun are scorched and withered. If the full sun box has blossom upon blossom, the shady box looks naked and pitiful. It doesn't matter how much water, Miracle Grow or attention I give the two boxes - one box is getting either too much or too little of the essential sunlight - and you just can't change that fact.
***
Comparing the two boxes reminds me of my transformation over the years with lupus. Today, it seems I've found a permanent spot in the window box of thriving flowers. I'm healthy, agile, and happier than ever. I'm getting all of the essentials to help me grow - plenty of rest, a healthy diet, a low level of stress, not too much sun - and I can tell when I miss a beat on any of the above. Thankfully, if I don't get in a good nap or try to fit in too many errands on any given day - I'm able to recover quickly, as long as I push the essentials for the next few days. It's just like my flowers when I, ahem, skip a day or two of watering. As long as I haven't been negligent for too many days...the flowers spring right back with a good soaking and tending to.

That's a far cry from where I used to be - wallowing miserably in the box of dying flowers. For years, I couldn't get myself healthy - constantly ignoring the essentials while telling myself that if I just pushed through the rough spots, I could make myself better. Life doesn't work that way, and nor do my window boxes. If a flower needs sun, it has to get sun, or else it won't live. If a lupus patient needs rest, but never gets it, she won't thrive.

So think long and hard about which window box you plan to be in today. I'm sure you'll choose to
be in full bloom!
(And thanks to Father de Rosa for the beautiful photo...taken from, I'm sure, a window box in Spain. Can you say "sol lleno o sombra parcial?")

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Need your sleep?

You know I'm a huge proponent of sleep - a daily, 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap every day has made me a firm believer - so when I came across a recent magazine article with tips on how to sleep better than ever, I was intrigued. While many of the tips were things I'd heard before, the article, We're Sleeping better than Ever!, explained the reasons behind the tips. See below for two of the explanations that I found interesting ...and feel free to check out the entire article from Prevention magazine here.

Did you know....

The brain misreads artificial light (such as the light given off by a television, computer, or blackberry) as daylight, so it doesn't release melatonin, a sleep-regulating chemical which is normally triggered by darkness. That's why "unplugging" an hour before bed is a good idea - shut off those gadgets early on in the evening and you'll allow your body to adjust for bedtime as it should.

Did you know...

Your body temperature goes down when you get out of a warm shower or bath, which makes you feel sleepy. Why? Because that decrease in temp mimics what occurs deep inside the body at night, when internal temperature drops to its lowest level. So decompressing in a nice warm bath should get you in the mood for a good night's sleep.